Dr Anne F. Van Loon

Dr Anne F. Van Loon

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

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Water Crisis - Birmingham HeroesDr Anne Van Loon is a hydrologist interested in the relationship between water, people and the environment. Her research focuses on hydrological extremes (droughts and floods) and uses interdisciplinary methods to understand hydrological processes and their interaction with human activities. She currently works on groundwater, snow and ice, urban hydrology, and mangroves


  • 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 is a Senior Lecturer in Water Science at the University of Birmingham and leads the Hydrological Extremes research group since October 2014. Anne is leading the IAHS Panta Rhei group on “Drought in the Anthroprocene“, is convening the EGU Hydrological Sciences Division session “Hydrological extremes: from droughts to floods“, and is Associate Editor of Hydrological Sciences Journal. In 2017 she was awarded the EGU Hydrological Sciences Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award.

Anne did her PhD and postdoc at Wageningen University (the Netherlands), supervised by Henny Van Lanen, on understanding the propagation from meteorological to hydrological drought in different climates and catchments. The PhD project was rewarded with a Storm-van der Chijs Stipendium for most talented female PhD researcher of Wageningen University and the 2013 Water Resources Research annual Editors’ Choice Award, indicating extremely high quality and significance, for the paper: Making the distinction between water scarcity and drought using an observation-modeling framework.

Before her PhD Anne worked for the consultancy company FutureWater on projects about water management in Kenya and Turkey, for the NGO PROFAFOR investigating the effect of forest plantations on soil and water in Ecuador, and on an MSc project on mangrove restoration in Vietnam.


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:

  • Lucinda Capewell (2017 - present): Flood Risk Management in the UK and Netherlands (co-supervisor: Chris Bradley)
  • Marit Van Tiel (2017 – present; Freiburg University, Germany): Drought resilience in glacierized catchments (main supervisor: Kerstin Stahl, Freiburg University)
  • Doris Wendt (2016 – present): The influence of water management on groundwater drought (co-supervisors: David Hannah, John Bloomfield (BGS))
  • 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 (main supervisor: Martin Widmann) 

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. 

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. Also have a look at Anne’s recent paper in Nature Geoscience on ‘Drought in the Anthropocene’, which argued for an update to the concept of drought to include the human role in mitigating and enhancing drought.

For more information on the University of Birmingham research group on Hydrological Extremes, please visit https://hydrologicalextremes.org/

Researcher indentifier number/s

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


For recent publications see: Google Scholar

Selection of publications in peer-reviewed journals:

Van Loon, A. F., Kumar, R., and Mishra, V. (2017) Testing the use of standardised indices and GRACE satellite data to estimate the European 2015 groundwater drought in near-real time, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1947-1971, doi:10.5194/hess-21-1947-2017.

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

Van Loon, A. F., Gleeson, T., Clark, J., Van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Stahl, K., Hannaford, J., Di Baldassarre, G., Teuling, A. J., 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 a human-modified world: reframing drought definitions, understanding and analysis approaches, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-251.

Van Loon, A.F., Te Brake, B., Van Huijgevoort, M.H. and Dijksma, R. (2016) Hydrological Classification, a Practical Tool for Mangrove Restoration. PloS one, 11(3), p.e0150302.

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)

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)

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)

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.