Professor Alan Werritty

Emeritus Professor

Energy Environment and Society, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

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+44 (0)1382 385084


Academic Background

Year Degree/University
1964-67 BA Geography, Cambridge University
1967-69 MS Geography, Pennsylvania State University - Fulbright Scholar
1969-75 MA, PhD, Cambridge University


Year Title/University
1969-86 Lecturer in Geography, University of St Andrews
1986-94 Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of St Andrews
1994-date Professor of Physical Geography, University of Dundee
2002 Visiting Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin, Madison
and 2005
Head of Geography, University of Dundee
2004-date Director of the Centre for Research on Water, University of Dundee

Professional Memberships

  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1997
  • Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
  • British Geomorphological Research Group
  • Royal Scottish Geographical Society
  • British Hydrological Society
  • Scottish Hydrological Group

Professional Roles

  • British Geomorphological Research Group: Hon Secretary 1983-86, Chair 1998-99
  • Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers): Vice-President and Chair of Conference 2003, Member of Council 1998-2004
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh: Member of Fellowships Committee (Section E) 2001-3
  • Member of Editorial Board Transactions Royal Society of Edinburgh 2001-3
  • Planning Committee for 30th International Geographical Congress, Glasgow 2004
  • UK National Delegate to the International Geographical Union 2004-6
  • Member of Scientific Unions' Committee of the Royal Society 2004-6
  • Chair of the Council of British Geography 2004-6
  • Scottish Executive: Member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Flooding 2003-4, Member of the Flooding Issues Advisory Committee 2005 -


Much of my current research is focused on climate change and flooding and societal responses to increased flood risk. Given the short length of many instrumental records, I am developing (with PhD students and colleagues in Dundee and the USA) a variety of proxy methods which can extend flood series back several hundred years. This involves the use of reliable historical records (from contemporary accounts in archives and libraries), flood marks on bridges and buildings and sediment archives from abandoned channels in flood plains. Since one of the key drivers for changes in flooding patterns in NW Europe is the behaviour of the North Atlantic Oscillation, I am also exploring (with Andrew Black) potential links between changes in flood risk and values for the NAOI in the 19th and 20th centuries.

My interest in the societal response to changing flood risk arises from my recent work for the Foresight Flood and Coastal Defence project funded by the OST and work for the Scottish Executive on Sustainable Flood Management. This area of work is also supported by an UKRC-funded Academic Fellow working on "Sustainable Flood Management".

Other areas of research which I continue to undertake include projects within the NERC-funded CHASM project (Catchment Hydrology and Sustainable Management) focused on the River Feshie in the Western Cairngorms (joint with Aberdeen University), river basin management (with colleagues in Dundee) and the stability of gravel-bed rivers (joint with Glasgow University).

I am currently the Director of Dundee's Centre for Research on Water - a University Interdisciplinary Research Centre which seeks to integrate water-based research across physical geography, law and civil engineering.