Alan’s early research focused on water quality modelling. He developed process-based models describing the dynamics of faecal indicator bacteria and for assessing the impacts of air pollution on soils and surface waters. He has been involved in large-scale ecosystem manipulation experiments around the world and initiated and coordinated the CLIMEX project which enclosed a whole forested catchment within a greenhouse to increase the temperature and CO2 and assess the biogeochemical impacts.
Since 2000, he has focused on hydrology and water resources research and in particular the application of models, methods and data to address hydro-meteorological problems and underpin hydroclimate services. He drove the development of the UK Hydrological Outlook – now providing water resource assessments three months into the future: alerting the public, responders and resource managers to likely changes in river flows and groundwater resources. He conceived and initiated the COSMOS- UK soil moisture monitoring system – providing unique and essential information across the country in near-real time for research and for flood forecasters and water resource managers.
He has extended several hydroclimate services concepts into the Indian continent including the COSMOS-India soil moisture monitoring system and the development of modelling approaches to environmental flow assessment, flood estimation and water resources assessment.
Most recently he conceived and initiated the WMO Global Hydrological Summary and Outlook System (HydroSOS): taking advantage of available hydrological data and hydrological and meteorological models to provide essential information around the globe to support sustainable development of water resources and increase resilience to hydro-meteorological hazards.
Alan is the Deputy Executive Director at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology with over 35 years’ experience in water research. He is the Hydrological Adviser to the UK Permanent Representative with WMO and the Head of Delegation for the UK with the UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrology Programme. He is an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University and a Visiting Professor at University College London.