Geography and Environment


Dr Louise J. Slater

Photo of Dr Louise J. Slater

Academic career:

2017-: Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University

2015-2016: Postdoctoral Scholar, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa

2014-2015: Lecturer in Physical Geography, Queen Mary University of London

Professional responsibilities:

2017-20: Editor, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

2017-20: Outreach Secretary, British Society for Geomorphology (Executive Committee)

2014-16: Appointed member of the Environment Agency’s Data Advisory Group (EADAG), UK


2017: NERC/ESRC/DFID Grant (CI). ‘Financial planning for natural disasters: flood risk in Central Java’

2017: SSPGS Seedcorn, Loughborough University, ‘On the predictability of hydrological extremes using satellite data’

2017: Institute for Advanced Studies, Loughborough University, Open Programme

2017: British Hydrological Society  Small Grant

2015: Early Career Researcher Grant, British Society for Geomorphology, ‘To what extent have changes in river channel capacity contributed to flood hazard trends in England and Wales?’

2015: The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) Small Grant

2011: National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), National Science Foundation, USA, ’Where do floodplains begin in fluvial networks?’

Key Interests: river science, floods, hydro-climatology, climate, data science, big data, fluvial geomorphology, statistics.

My research focuses on understanding and predicting changes in floods and fluvial systems in the context of contemporary shifts in climate, agricultural practices and urbanisation. My approach is statistical and computational; I use a combination of climatic and land cover information to disentangle the different drivers of flooding and fluvial change across a variety of climates and land use types. Using Earth Observation and ensemble Global Climate Model outputs I also develop probabilistic streamflow forecasts over a range of timescales to assess how floods and fluvial systems may change over time. I have a keen interest in data science and in developing new, interdisciplinary methods for understanding and projecting fluvial and hydro-climatic change.

Prior to working at Loughborough University, I specialised in fluvial geomorphology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in France and received my PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of St Andrews in 2014. I lectured in Physical Geography at Queen Mary University of London for one year before conducting an 18-month postdoctoral scholarship in the field of hydro-climatology and data science at the IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, University of Iowa.

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G. (2017) Evaluating the drivers of seasonal streamflow rates in the U.S. MidwestWater (MDPI). 9, 695; doi:10.3390/w9090695

Slater, L.J., Wilby, R.L. (2017) Measuring the changing pulse of rivers (Perspective article), Science, 357(6351), pp. 552, doi:10.1126/science.aao2441

Zhang, W., Villarini, G., Slater, L.J., Vecchi, G., Bradley, A.A. (2017) Improved ENSO Forecasting using Bayesian Updating and the North American Multi Model Ensemble (NMME)Journal of Climate, ISSN: 1520-0442. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0073.1

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G., Bradley, A.A. (2017) Weighting of NMME temperature and precipitation forecasts across EuropeJournal of Hydrologydoi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.07.029

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G., Bradley, A., Vecchi G. (2017) A dynamical statistical framework for seasonal streamflow forecasting in an agricultural watershedClimate Dynamicsdoi:10.1007/s00382-017-3794-7

Clubb, F.J., Mudd, S.M., Milodowski, D.T, Valters, D.A, Slater, L.J., Hurst, M.D., and Limaye, A.B.S. (2017) Geomorphic delineation of floodplains and terraces from slope and channel relief thresholdsEarth Surface Dynamics, 5(3), pp.369-385doi:10.5194/esurf-2017-21.

Villarini, G., Slater, L.J. (2017) Climatology of flooding in the United StatesOxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.123 

Wilby, R.L., Clifford, N.J., De Luca, P., Harrigan, S., Hillier, J.K., Hodgkins, R., Johnson, M.F., Matthews, T.K.R., Murphy, C., Noone, S.J., Parry, S., Prudhomme, C., Rice, S.P., Slater, L.J., Smith, K.A., Wood, P.J. (2017) The “dirty dozen” of freshwater science: Detecting then reconciling hydrological data biases and errorsWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Water. doi:10.1002/wat2.1209

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G. (2016) On the impact of gaps on trend detection in extreme streamflow time seriesInternational Journal of Climatology. doi:10.1002/joc.4954.

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G. (2016) Recent trends in U.S. flood riskGeophysical Research Letters, 2016. 43(24), pp.12,428-12,436, doi:10.1002/2016GL071199. Featured Research Spotlight in Eos.

Slater, L.J., Villarini, G., Bradley, A. (2016) Evaluation of the skill of North-American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) Global Climate Models in predicting average and extreme precipitation and temperature over the continental USAClimate Dynamics, special collection on the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) seasonal prediction experiment. doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3286-1

Slater L.J. (2016) To what extent have changes in channel capacity contributed to flood hazard trends in England and WalesEarth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41(8), pp.1115-1128, Special Issue Stormy Geomorphology, doi:10.1002/esp.3927

Slater, L.J. (2015) Changing Channels (Outreach article)Planet EarthHtml version. pp.22-23, ISSN:1479-2605.

Slater, L.J., Singer, M.B., Kirchner J.W. (2015) Hydrologic versus geomorphic drivers of trends in flood hazard, Geophysical Research Letters42(2), pp.370-376, doi:10.1002/2014GL062482. 

Clubb, F.J., Mudd S.M., Milodowski D.T., Hurst M.D., Slater L.J. (2014) Objective extraction of channel heads from high resolution topographic dataWater Resources Research. 50(5), pp.4283-4304.  doi:10.1002/2013WR015167.

Slater, L. J. and Singer, M.B. (2013) Imprint of climate and climate change in alluvial riverbeds: Continental United States, 1950-2011, Geology, 41(5), pp.595-598, doi:10.1130/G34070.1  University of St Andrews Press Release