Professor Simon Dadson

Professor of Hydrology

Academic Profile

Simon Dadson is Professor in Physical Geography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Christ Church. Simon has published widely in the fields of climate change, hydrology and Earth surface processes, in leading scientific journals such as Nature, Science, Geophysical Research Letters, Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Water Resources Research. He has also recently authored the book Statistical Analysis of Geographical Data, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2017, as part of an initiative to improve the teaching of statistics to undergraduate geographers. Simon's research has been featured in the print and broadcast media, including in The Times and on BBC Radio 4.

Simon holds an MA from the University of Oxford, an MSc from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is an Honorary Fellow of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology where he leads the Hydro-JULES project which combines a three-dimensional model of the surface and subsurface water cycle with weather and climate models to predict future floods, droughts and water scarcity.

Between 2012 and 2020, Simon served as Academic Director of Oxford's MSc in Water Science Policy and Management, which is the UK's leading graduate programme in its field. To date, this MSc programme has trained over 300 graduate students, from 55 countries worldwide, 57% of whom are women. Four out of five alumni have gone on to work in the water sector, with destinations including public bodies such as the World Bank, the European Commission, OECD, United Nations, DfID, Defra, USAID; private practice including McKinsey, Arup, AECOM, Halcrow, and Mott MacDonald; and academia, at Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, ETH Zürich, and Oxford.

Simon is regularly called upon to give advice to governments and national and international institutions around the world. In past projects, he has quantified the effects of climate change on river flows and water resources availability for the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs. In work funded by the Department for International Development, Simon has integrated a river flow model into the Met Office's regional climate model to enable developing countries to predict the effects of climate change on flood and drought risk. He is lead author of the Oxford Martin School Floods Restatement, which evaluated the scientific evidence base for natural flood management in the UK. Simon serves as a member of the OECD Global Water Partnership Task Force on Water Security, Risk and Growth. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading and a Trustee of Christ Church, Oxford.

Current Research

Selected Research Projects

  • Sajag-Nepal: Preparedness and planning for the mountain hazard and risk chain in Nepal (2020-2023; Financial support from Global Challenges Research Fund; Co-I)
  • Hydro-JULES: Next-generation Land-surface and Hydrological Predictions (2018-2023; Financial support from NERC to UKCEH; PI)
  • CAMELLIA: Community Water Management for a Liveable London (2018-2023; Financial support from NERC; co-I)
  • EO-enabled Decision Support for Flood and Drought Resilience in Ethiopia and Kenya. Financial support from UK Space Agency (2017-2020; Co-I).
  • REACH: Improving water security for the poor
    Financial support from DFID (2015-2022; Co-I).
  • Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands (FRACTAL)
    Financial support from Natural Environment Research Council (2015-2019).
  • Influence of lake and wetland climate feedbacks on African hydroclimate
    Financial support from The Leverhulme Trust (2015-2018).
  • MaRIUS: Managing the Risks, Impacts and Uncertainties of droughts and water Scarcity
    Financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (2014-2017; Co-I).
  • Changes in urbanisation and its effects on water quantity and quality from local to regional scale.
    Financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (2013-2016)
  • Attributing impacts of external climate drivers on extreme weather in Africa.
    Financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (2013-2018).
  • Piloting innovative computational technologies for multi-scale water resources assessment, management and engineering.
    Financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2012-2013).
  • Changing Land-Atmosphere Feedbacks in Tropical African Wetlands
    Financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (2011-2014).
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Soil Erosion, Sediment Transport and Carbon in the UK and Europe.
    In collaboration with University of Leeds and University of Exeter; Financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (2007-2010).
  • Effects of Climate Change on Snow Hydrology in the Alps.
    In collaboration with Technische Universität, Wien; Financial support from the British Council (2007-2008).
  • Wetland Inundation Dynamics in the JULES land-surface Model.
    Financial support from European Commission, WATCH (2007-2009)
  • Grid-based River Flow Modelling for Application in a Regional Climate Model.
    Financial support from Met Office (2005-2010)
  • Erosion of an Active Mountain Belt: Erosion, Runoff variability, and Seismicity in Taiwan.
    Financial support from NERC; Royal Society; Geological Society of America; NASA (2000-2004)

Teaching and Supervision

Simon teaches physical geography at Christ Church.

Current Graduate Research Students

Bailey Anderson

The effects of land cover changes on streamflow in the United States; a large sample statistical attribution approach.

Marcus Buechel

Comprehending changing climate and landscape influence on hydrological systems

David Crowhurst

Dynamics Controlling the Seasonal Cycle of Congo Basin Evaporation

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Ranu Sinha
Completed DPhil in 2021

Pathways to Water Security: Evaluating the impacts of irrigation investments in Madhya Pradesh, India

Homero Paltan Lopez
Completed DPhil in 2019

Surface water sensitivity to climate variability

Franziska Gaupp
Completed DPhil in 2017

The global impact of droughts on agricultural production

Selected Publications

Water Science, Policy, and Management: A Global Challenge
Dadson, S.J., Garrick, D.E., Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Hall, J.W., Hope, R. and Hughes, J. (eds.) (2019)
John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
Water Science, Policy, and Management: A Global Challenge
Statistical Analysis of Geographical Data: An Introduction
Dadson, S.J. (2017)
Statistical Analysis of Geographical Data: An Introduction
Buechel, M., Berthou, S., Slater, L., Keat, W., Lewis, H. and Dadson, S. (2024) Environmental Research Letters, 19(6).
1998010 - Hydrometeorological response to afforestation in t...
Anderson, B., Brunner, M., Slater, L. and Dadson, S. (2024) Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 28(7), pp. 1567–1583.
1615086 - Elasticity curves describe streamflow sensitivity ...
Van Wyk de Vries, M., Arrell, K., Basyal, G., Densmore, A., Dunant, A., Harvey, E., Jimee, G., Kincey, M., Li, S., Singh Pujara, D., Shrestha, R., Rosser, N. and Dadson, S. (2024) Earth Surface Processes and Landforms [Preprint].
1656799 - Detection of slow?moving landslides through automa...
Gebrechorkos, S., Peng, J., Dyer, E., Miralles, D., Vicente-Serrano, S., Funk, C., Beck, H., Asfaw, D., Singer, M. and Dadson, S. (2023) Earth System Science Data, 15(12), pp. 5449–5466.
1588672 - Global high-resolution drought indices for 1981-20...
Gebrechorkos, S., Leyland, J., Dadson, S., Cohen, S., Slater, L., Wortmann, M., Ashworth, P., Bennett, G., Boothroyd, R., Cloke, H., Delorme, P., Griffith, H., Hardy, R., Hawker, L., McLelland, S., Neal, J., Nicholas, A., Tatem, A., Vahidi, E., Liu, Y., Sheffield, J., Parsons, D. and Darby, S. (2023) EGUsphere.
1602382 - Global scale evaluation of precipitation datasets ...
Leenman, A., Slater, L., Dadson, S., Wortmann, M. and Boothroyd, R. (2023) Geophysical Research Letters, 50(16).
1506247 - Quantifying the geomorphic effect of floods using ...
Davies, H., Rameshwaran, P., Bell, V. and Dadson, S. (2023) Geoscience Data Journal [Preprint].
1496309 - Spatially consistent physical characteristics of U...
Buechel, M., Slater, L. and Dadson, S. (2023) EGUsphere.
1456878 - Afforestation impacts on terrestrial hydrology ins...
Leenman, A., Slater, L., Dadson, S., Wortmann, M. and Boothroyd, R. (2023) Authorea.
1339330 - Quantifying geomorphically effective floods using ...
Anderson, B., Brunner, M., Slater, L. and Dadson, S. (2023) EGUsphere.
1333511 - Elasticity curves describe streamflow sensitivity ...