Rob Wilby

Professor Rob Wilby

B.Sc., Ph.D. (Loughborough)

  • Professor of Hydroclimatic Modelling

Academic career:

  • 2011 – 2013: Associate Dean for Research, School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences
  • 2010 –: Honorary Professor, Federation University, Australia
  • 2008 –: Professor of Hydroclimatic Modelling, Loughborough University
  • 2004 – 2008: Honorary Professor in Physical Geography, Lancaster University
  • 2001 – 2002: Lecturer and Reader in Physical Geography, King’s College London
  • 1997 – 1999: Seconded to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, US
  • 1996: Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, US
  • 1993 – 2001: Senior Lecturer, then Reader in Physical Geography, University of Derby
  • 1992: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the National Rivers Authority, Loughborough University

Professional responsibilities:

  • 2010 – 2014: External Examiner MSc, University of Oxford
  • 2009 – 2014: External Examiner MSc, University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland
  • 2008 – : Chair of EDF/British Energy Climate Change Working Group
  • 2007 – 2010: External Examiner MSc, Newcastle
  • 2007: Independent Climate Change Science Advisor, Nottingham
  • 2007 – : Editorial Board International Journal of Climatology
  • 2005 – 2010: Associate Editor Hydrological Sciences Journal
  • 2003 – 2007: Climate Change Science Manager, Environment Agency of England and Wales
  • 1997 – : Review Editor Climate Research
  • 1990: Assistant Water Quality Information Officer, Severn Trent Water, Derby

This research is about the management of freshwater environments under climate variability and change.

This includes reconstruction of drought and flood indices to assess the severity of recent extreme events or detailed monitoring of river temperatures for ecological purposes. Time spent in the water industry, government, and consultancy has given Rob a very practical and pragmatic approach to this work.

Following secondments to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado he co-developed the Statistical DownScaling Model (SDSM). This freely available climate scenario tool has underpinned many climate change impact assessments including for water supplies, flood risk (fluvial and tidal surge), air quality and urban heat island intensity in countries as varied as Canada, China, Morocco, Tajikistan and Yemen.

His latest research is exploring smarter approaches to climate risk assessment and decision making under deep uncertainty about the future climate. This shifts the focus onto better understanding then managing the climate vulnerability of human and natural systems. Ongoing projects include seasonal river flow forecasting for hydropower plants in Central Asia, modelling urban water and sanitation hazards in East Africa, and strategies for keeping rivers cool in the UK.

His teaching examines the relationship between the climate system and society.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Simon Parry: Drought termination in the UK: Mechanisms and modelling for improved management.
  • Jenny Armstrong: Evaluating the meaning of successful climate adaptation in the neighbourhood of new nuclear build.
  • Chanita Duangyiwa: Combined impacts of climate change and land subsidence on flood risks in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region.
  • Sam Dixon: Seasonal forecasting of reservoir inflows using remotely sensed precipitation estimates in data sparse regions.
  • Naomi Kelly: The water-energy nexus: challenges and opportunities for England and Wales.

Recent postgraduate research students

  • Tom Matthews (2013): Glacier - Climate Interactions a Synoptic approach.
  • Joanne Parker (2014): Assessing the sensitivity of UK water demand to climate changes .

Selected publications