• United Kingdom

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David Hannah’s research is interdisciplinary, focusing on three complementary themes within hydroclimatology (the interface between hydrology-climatology):

Hydroclimatological processes within alpine, Arctic, mountain and glacierised river basins
Climate and river flow regimes
River energy budget and thermal dynamics

Professor Hannah has a cross-cutting interest in hydroecology, specifically ecological response to hydroclimatological and physico-chemical habitat variability/change. He also develops new methods for monitoring, analysing and modelling environmental dynamics at range of space-time scales. He has successfully supervised numerous doctoral researchers and welcomes enquiries from prospective researchers in his areas of interest.

1996 …2024

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Personal profile

Biography

  • UNESCO Chair in Water Sciences (2016-)
  • Director of Birmingham Institute for Sustainability & Climate Action (2022-)
  • Director of Research, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2016-22) 
  • Head of School, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2014-16)
  • Chair of Hydrology, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2012-)
  • Reader in Hydrology, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2009-12)
  • Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (2005-2009)
  • Lecturer in Physical Geography, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (1998-2005)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (1997-1998)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2007); Member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching and Register Practitioner of The Higher Education Academy (2005)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Birmingham (2002)
  • PhD, Meltwater generation and drainage within a small glacierized basin in the French Pyrénées, University of Birmingham (1997)
  • BSc (Hons) in Physical Geography, University of Aberdeen (1994)

Research interests

David M. Hannah is Professor of Hydrology, UNESCO Chair in Water Sciences, and inaugural Director of the Birmingham Institute for Sustainability & Climate Action (BISCA) at the University of Birmingham. He was included in Reuters list of the world’s top climate scientists. He was honoured with the prestigious Tison Award (2014) from the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS); in 2019, he became a Royal Society Wolfson Fellow; and he was awarded the Murchison Award from the Royal Geographical Society in 2022.

His long-term vision is to understand water cycle processes, hydrological events (flood, drought) and water-related impacts under climate and other drivers of change. He uses interdisciplinary approaches to address three internationally important themes: (1) to develop new knowledge of the climate drivers, hydrological response and habitat conditions that control water availability and river biodiversity in ARCTIC AND ALPINE GLACIER-FED RIVER BASINS; (2) to LINK VARIATIONS IN RIVER FLOW TO CLIMATE AND LAND CHANGES (using observations and model projections) and so improve understanding of the interconnected-ness of the water cycle at basin to regional to global scales; and (3) to unravel multiple controls on RIVER TEMPERATURE to understand the potential of different adaptations to climate change for reducing high temperature extremes that may damage aquatic ecosystems. In addition, he has made TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS in environmental sensing and helped shape the emerging citizen science agenda around water resources.

David is very active in UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrology Programme, formerly UK Representative for the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, and current President of the IAHS-International Commission for Surface Water.

He promotes knowledge exchange to communicate the importance of water and climate science for society – often facilitated by his UNESCO Chair’s ‘network of networks’ at the science-policy interface. He has authored reports underpinning the UK RIDE/ LWEC Climate Change Impacts Report Card for Water for decision-makers; his work has been included in three IPCC reports; and he gives policy advice to UK water industry, NGOs, Scottish Government, overseas government agencies, and water sector regulators on climate change adaptation. He fronted the Birmingham Heroes media campaign on “The Water Crisis”. These activities demonstrate his strong commitment to research that matters in the real-world.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

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