Dr Anne F. Van Loon

Dr Anne F. Van Loon

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer Physical Geography (Water sciences)

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Anne Van Loon is a catchment hydrologist and hydrogeologist working on drought. She studies the relationship between climate, landscape/ geology, and hydrological extremes and its variation around the world. She is especially interested in the influence of storage in groundwater, human activities, and cold conditions (snow and glaciers) on the development of drought.


  • 2013 - PhD On the propagation of drought, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • 2006 - MSc Hydrology and Water Quality, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • 2003 - International Study Programme From Mountain to Fjord, HSF Høgskulen i Sogn og Fjordane, Sogndal, Norway
  • 2002 - BSc Soil, Water and Atmosphere, specialisation Hydrology, Water Quality and Water Management, Wageningen University, the Netherlands


Anne Van Loon studied Hydrology at Wageningen University. She has gained international experience by working for PROFAFOR (Ecuador) after her BSc degree and for FutureWater (the Netherlands) after her Msc degree.

She returned to Wageningen University in 2007 as PhD candidate and teaching assistant. Her graduate work was done under the supervision of Henny Van Lanen within the EU WATCH project. In 2013 she was awarded a Storm-van der Chijs Stipendium for most talented female PhD researcher of Wageningen University. Between 2013 and 2014 Anne worked as a postdoc within the EU DROUGHT-R&SPI project.

In 2014 Anne was awarded the Water Resources Research annual Editors’ Choice Award, indicating extremely high quality and significance, for the paper: Van Loon, A. F., and H. A. J. Van Lanen (2013), Making the distinction between water scarcity and drought using an observation-modeling framework, Water Resour. Res., 49, 1483–1502, doi:10.1002/wrcr.20147. In the same year she obtained the prestigious Rubicon grant from the Dutch Science Foundation NWO for a project entitled “Adding the human dimension to drought”. In October 2014 Anne joined the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Birmingham as Lecturer Physical Geography (Water science).

Currently Anne is working on a project that aims to include human influences on drought by quantifying feedbacks between drought and society around the world.


BSc Geography:

  • Hydroclimatology (Year 2; module GGM 207)
  • Research Methods for Dissertations (Year 2; module GGM 201)
  • Field course (Year 2; module GGM 204)

MSc River Environments and their Management:

  • Advances in Water Science (seminar-based module)

Anne Van Loon is the programme director for the MSc River Environments and their Management

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:

  • Danny Croghan (2015 - present): Hydrological Extremes in Urban Environments: impacts on River Water Quality (co-supervisors: Jon Sadler, Chris Bradley, David Hannah)
  • Colin Manning (2015 - present): Meteorological generating mechanisms of composite extreme hydrological events floods and droughts (supervisor: Martin Widmann) 

Current MSc students:

  • Wouter Coomans (Wageningen University): A comparative analysis of the human impact on drought in Australia and in the United Kingdom
  • Marit Van Tiel (Wageningen University): Climate change effects on drought in cold climates: a case study 

Anne is interested to hear from potential PhD candidates in the fields of drought, catchment hydrology or groundwater hydrology. Especially students with an interest in drought in cold climates and human influences on drought and students with skills in data-analysis and hydrological modelling are encouraged to monitor the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences web pages for project opportunities in the Water Sciences group.


Trained as a catchment hydrologist and hydrogeologist, Anne’s research interests are hydrological processes and their relation with geology, climate, ecology, and society. She especially focuses on the processes related to hydrological drought (drought in groundwater and surface water). These include physical processes, like the propagation of a precipitation deficit or below-normal temperature in the hydrological cycle, but also anthropogenic processes such as groundwater abstraction or water transfer. Ultimately, she wants to make knowledge about these processes available to society and students.

See her recent review paper 'Hydrological drought explained' published by WIREs Water and aiming at researchers, students and lecturers interested in drought. This paper was in the WIREs Water Top Ten accessed in 2015

Researcher indentifier number/s

  • ORCID: 0000-0003-2308-0392
  • Scopus: 37029164400
  • Google Scholar: Anne Van Loon
  • ResearchGate: Anne Van Loon
  • LinkedIn: Anne Van Loon

Other activities


Publications in peer-reviewed journals 

Van Loon, A.F., Gleeson, T., Clark, J., Van Dijk, A., Stahl, K., Hannaford, J., Di Baldassarre, G., Teuling, A., Tallaksen, L.M., Uijlenhoet, R., Hannah, D.M., Sheffield, J., Svoboda, M., Verbeiren, B., Wagener, T., Rangecroft, S., Wanders, N. and Van Lanen, H.A.J. (2016). Drought in the Anthropocene. Nature Geoscience, 9(2), pp.89-91. http://rdcu.be/gemf

Garner, G., Van Loon, A.F., Prudhomme, C. and Hannah, D.M., 2015. Hydroclimatology of extreme river flows. Freshwater Biology, 60(12), pp.2461-2476. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fwb.12667/full

Van Loon, A. F. (2015), Hydrological drought explained. WIREs Water. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1085. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wat2.1085/abstract)

Van Loon, A. F., Ploum, S. W., Parajka, J., Fleig, A. K., Garnier, E., Laaha, G., and Van Lanen, H. A. J. (2015), Hydrological drought types in cold climates: quantitative analysis of causing factors and qualitative survey of impacts, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1993-2016, doi:10.5194/hess-19-1993-2015. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/19/1993/2015/hess-19-1993-2015.html)

Stagge, J. H., Tallaksen, L. M., Gudmundsson, L., Van Loon, A. F.and Stahl, K. (2015), Candidate Distributions for Climatological Drought Indices (SPI and SPEI). Int. J. Climatol.. doi: 10.1002/joc.4267 (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.4267/abstract)

Van Loon, A. F., & Laaha, G. (2014). Hydrological drought severity explained by climate and catchment characteristics. Journal of Hydrology, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.10.059. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169414008543)

Beyene, B. S., Van Loon, A. F., Van Lanen, H. A. J., and Torfs, P. J. J. F. (2014), Investigation of variable threshold level approaches for hydrological drought identification, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 11, 12765-12797, doi:10.5194/hessd-11-12765-2014. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/11/12765/2014/hessd-11-12765-2014.html)

Van Loon, A.F., Tijdeman, E., Wanders, N., Van Lanen, H.A.J., Teuling, A.J., and Uijlenhoet, R. (2014), How Climate Seasonality Modifies Drought Duration and Deficit, Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres, doi: 10.1002/2013JD020383. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JD020383/abstract)

Teuling, A. J., Van Loon, A. F., Seneviratne, S. I., Lehner, I., Aubinet, M., Heinesch, B., Bernhofer, C., Grünwald, T., Prasse, H., and Spank, U. (2013), Evapotranspiration amplifies European summer droughts, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, 10, p.2071–2075, doi: 10.1002/grl.50495. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50495/abstract)

Van Loon, A.F., and Van Lanen, H.A.J.: Making the distinction between water scarcity and drought using an observation-modelling framework, Water Resources Research, 49, p. 1–20, doi: 10.1002/wrcr.20147, 2013. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wrcr.20147/abstract)

Van Lanen, H. A. J., Wanders, N., Tallaksen, L. M., and Van Loon, A. F.: Hydrological drought across the world: impact of climate and physical catchment structure, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17, 1715-1732, doi: 10.5194/hess-17-1715-2013, 2013. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/17/1715/2013/hess-17-1715-2013.html)

Van Loon, A.F., Van Huijgevoort, M.H.J., and Van Lanen, H.A.J.: Evaluation of drought propagation in an ensemble mean of large-scale hydrological models, Hydrology and Earth System Science, 16, p. 4057–4078, doi: 10.5194/hess-16-4057-2012, 2012. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4057/2012/hess-16-4057-2012.html)

Van Loon, A.F., and Van Lanen, H.A.J.: A process-based typology of hydrological drought, Hydrology and Earth System Science, 16, p. 1915–1946, doi: 10.5194/hess-16-1915-2012, 2012. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/1915/2012/hess-16-1915-2012.html)

Machlica, A., O. Horvát, S. Horácek, J. Oosterwijk, A.F. Van Loon, M. Fendeková, H.A. J. Van Lanen, Influence of model structure on base flow estimation using BILAN, FRIER and HBV-light models, Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics; 60(4):242–251, 2012.

Droogers, P., A. Van Loon, W. Immerzeel (2008). Quantifying the impact of model inaccuracy in climate change impact assessment studies using an agro-hydrological model. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 12, 669-678. (http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/12/669/2008/hess-12-669-2008.html)

Van Loon, A.F., R. Dijksma and M.E.F. van Mensvoort (2007). Hydrological classification in mangrove areas: A case study in Can Gio, Vietnam. Aquatic Botany 87: 80-82. DOI: 10.1016/ j.aquabot.2007.02.001. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304377007000319)


PhD thesis:

Van Loon, A.F.: On the propagation of drought. How climate and catchment characteristics influence hydrological drought development and recovery, PhD thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, NL, ISBN 978–94–6173–501–0, available at: edepot.wur.nl/249786, 2013.



Tallaksen, L. M., Stagge, J. H., Stahl, K., Gudmundsson, L., Orth, R., Seneviratne, S. I., Van Loon, A.F.& Van Lanen, H. A. (2014). Characteristics and drivers of drought in Europe—a summary of the DROUGHT-R&SPI project. Drought: Research and Science-Policy Interfacing, 15.

Lenferink, K. O., Van Loon, A. F., Van Huijgevoort, M. H. J., & Van Lanen, H. A. J. (2014). Comparing low moisture availability and relative crop yields on the pan-European scale using the FAO water production function. Drought: Research and Science-Policy Interfacing, 105.

Laaha, G., Van Loon, A.F., Lang Delus, C., and Koffler, D.: Regional assessment of low flow processes and prediction methods across European regimes. In: Hydrology in a Changing World: Environmental and Human Dimensions, Proceedings of FRIEND-Water 2014 (IAHS Publ. 363, 2014). 

Van Loon, A.F., and Van Lanen, H.A.J.: How to distinguish between drought and water scarcity? Use an observation-modelling framework!, proceedings CEST conference, Athens, 2013. 

Van Loon, A.F., Van Lanen, H.A.J., Hisdal, H., Tallaksen, L.M., Fendeková, M., Oosterwijk, J., Horvát, O., and Machlica, A.: Understanding hydrological winter drought in Europe, In: Global Change: Facing Risks and Threats to Water Resources, Proceedings of FRIEND-Water 2010 (IAHS Publ. 340, 2010). 

Van Huijgevoort, M.H.J., A.F. Van Loon, O. Rakovec, I. Haddeland, S. Horácek, H.A.J. van Lanen. Drought assessment using local and large-scale forcing data in small catchments. In: Global Change: Facing Risks and Threats to Water Resources, Proceedings of FRIEND-Water 2010 (IAHS Publ. 340, 2010). 

Dijksma, R., A.F. Van Loon, M.E.F. Van Mensvoort, M.H.J. Van Huijgevoort and B. Te Brake. An Extended Hydrological Classification for Mangrove Rehabilitation Projects: a Case Study in Vietnam. Ch. 28 in: Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food Production, Communities and Environment at the Land–Water Interface, CAB International, 2010. 


Solicited presentations:

2013: DROUGHT IN THE ANTHROPOCENE: what/who causes abnormally dry conditions?, AGU, San Francisco, USA. 

2013: Why meteorological drought indices should not be used in water resources management, Water & Environmental Dynamics, Koblenz, Germany. 

2012: A new perspective on hydrological drought: a process-based classification into different drought types, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria. 


Other presentations at international meetings of EGU, UNESCO-FRIEND, PUB (IAHS), WCRP, etc. 

Reports for the EU-projects DROUGHT-R&SPI and WATCH (available at www.eu-drought.org and www.eu-watch.org), FutureWater (available at www.futurewater.nl), and MSc-reports for KNMI, WL|Delft Hydraulics and Wageningen University.