James Thornton joined the MRI coordination office in May 2020 as Scientific Project Officer to the GEO-GNOME project, which seeks to improve the availability and accessibility of environmental data in mountainous regions to the benefit of human societies globally. 

He has a broad background across the environmental sciences, and recently submitted his PhD thesis for examination to the Centre of Hydrogeology and Geothermics, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. With the aim of improving the reliability of hydrological climate change impact assessments in complex Alpine headwater catchments, his doctoral research focussed upon the integrated, physically-based, and spatially distributed simulation of hydrological processes – including those pertaining to snow, surface water flow, groundwater flow, and evapotranspiration, under both present and plausible future climate, land cover, and permafrost conditions. To this end, he employed advanced inverse approaches to combine sophisticated numerical models with both in situ and remotely sensed observations.

In 2016 he completed an MSc (by Research) degree at the University of Durham, UK, on the subject of fluvial flood hazard quantification, and holds a BSc (with First Class Honours) in Physical Geography from the University of Bristol (2012). In James’ previous role at JBA Risk Management Limited, he led the development of several natural catastrophe models – tools which are used extensively in the (re)insurance industry, and increasingly elsewhere, to quantify the risks associated with extreme natural events such as floods and tropical cyclones.

Read his first blog post here, a sneak peak into his current research on fully-integrated hydrological modelling in the Alps. 



Newsletter subscription