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Research Fellows Directory

Justin Sheffield

Professor Justin Sheffield

Research Fellow


University of Southampton

Research summary

My research area is in terrestrial hydro-climatology, which is the study of how climate and water on the Earth’s surface interact at time scales from hourly to climate change time scales. This has important implications for understanding the impacts of climate change on water resources and natural hazards, such as floods and droughts, and the multiple sectors that are water dependent or water constrained, such as agriculture, energy, and public health. I am particularly interested in how drought develops and propagates through the hydrological cycle, and how this might change in the future under climate change. The scientific questions that drive this research are: 1) What are the variations in drought and floods from seasonal to centennial time scales, and from local to global spatial scales? 2) What are the drivers of these extreme events from a meteorological and hydrological perspective? 3) What is the role of humans in managing and exacerbating extreme hydrological events? 4) How can we use our understanding of the physical and human drivers to make better forecasts of drought and floods in the short-term, and also on the long-term, under climate change?

I am furthermore interested in how we use this understanding to better predict hydrological extremes, and translate this information into better decision making for water resources management and mitigation of the impact of floods and droughts. This is very important in developing regions, such as many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, which are susceptible to these hazards in part because of the lack of capacity to monitor and forecast such hazards.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Improving understanding and prediction of hydrology in a changing world

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Aug 2016 - Jul 2021

Value: £50,000