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Contact

Email

a.z.black@dundee.ac.uk

Phone

+44 (0)1382 384433

Locations

Tower Building

Biography

Biography

I'm a hydrologist with 30 years experience, mostly in Scotland's rivers.  Having started my career looking at statistical methods for estimating flood risks, I have branched out to interests in water resources and environmental change.  I've also had the opportunities to work in other environments relevant to my interests:

  • 2003: Visiting scientist, NIWA (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research) Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 2007-8: ESRC/Scottish Government Placement Fellow, Flooding Policy Team
  • 2009-11: Principal Consultant, Wallingford HydroSolutions Ltd

Research

Over the past 10 years, I have developed expertise and strong interests in applying field measurement techniques to address important questions in hydrology.  These complement a longer-standing interest in hydrological archives.  Key projects:

  • Eddleston Water Project: Scotland's foremost natural flood management (NFM) trial.  Pond storage, flow restrictors, re-meandering and riparian planting: how will these measures collectively impact the generation of runoff and the timing and magnitude of flood risks downstream?  Watch this space, or see the 2016 report.
  • Rewilding and the hydrology of Glen Feshie (Cairngorms): over the past decade, Wildland Limited, owners of Glenfeshie several other highland estates, have been working towards restoring ecosystems - rejuvenating woodlands and restoring peatlands in particular.  I've been rejuvenating and extending a hydro-meteorlogical monitoring network to characterise the precipitation and energy inputs and outputs of this remote catchment, often dominated by snow over the winter months.  How will catchment response and annual evapotranspiration loss change in response to the rewilding?  The monitoring is also providing the foundation for other projects, focusing on sediment dynamics, meteorology, seismicity and more.
  • Hydrology of one of Europe's fastest-retreating glacier systems: working with British Geological Survey, I have led the monitoring of river levels and flows in the Virkisá River, SE Iceland 2011-18. The work has integrated with meteorological, ice surface, chemical, isotopic and groundwater level monitoring to provide an integrated approach to understanding this very dynamic physical environment.  Modelling allows us to link our findings to processes found in mountain ranges where water supply is threatened by climate change.
  • Historical observations in hydrology - I led the initial coding and subsequent redesign of the Chronology of British Hydrological Events, and have also established collections of systematic observations of hydrological interest from the Edinburgh Water Supply District and the Great Glen area of Highland Scotland.

I am always open to approaches for new projects, and would particularly welcome new opportunities involving:

  • natural flood management (nature-based solutions)
  • snow melt estimation/runoff forecasting
  • hydrometric methods
  • use of historical records in hydrology
View full research profile and publications

Teaching

Current teaching roles:

Programme leader:

  • BSc Environmental Science

Module leader:

  • EV41006 Environmental Sustainability in Practice
  • GE31004/41007 Hydrology & Water Resources
  • GE32024 Water Resource Assessment & Development (MEng Programme)

Course contributor:

  • EV11001 The Physical Environment
  • GE12002 Environment, The City & Society (air quality)
  • GE22002 Dynamic Physical Worlds (hydrology)
  • GE41006 Dissertation
  • RE52003 Environmental Modelling (hydro power - MSc Renewable Energy & Environmental Modelling)