International award for hydrology researcher

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International award for hydrology researcher

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Published on 28 October 2014

A Professor of Geography who has specialised in landslides during a 40-year career as a hydrologist, academic and researcher around the world has won an international award within weeks of joining USC.

Professor Roy Sidle, an American who moved to the Sunshine Coast to work with USC’s Sustainability Research Centre, recently returned from Japan where he was awarded the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources’ International Award.

The award, from the leading interdisciplinary professional society dealing with water-related issues in Asia, was presented for his significant contribution to progress in the field and for his valuable collaborations with Japanese and Asian researchers.

“I’ve collaborated with hydrologists and geoscientists since 1991 in the areas of catchment hydrology, hazards and sustainability science,” Professor Sidle said.

The former Professor at Kyoto University’s Disaster Prevention Research Institute (2002-2008) said he had worked for the past decade on the effects of mountain roads on sediment, such as landslides and surface erosion.

His most recent role was Director of the Ecosystems Research Division at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Georgia and he has previously collaborated with Australian scientists at CSIRO.

“I wanted to return to hands-on research,” Professor Sidle said. “The Sustainability Research Centre at USC looked like an interesting place where I could bring my expertise in geophysical science.

“There is good potential for research work on natural hazards and catchment management in Queensland coastal environments.”

Professor Sidle said he had a strong interest in examining phenomena such as floods, cyclones, tsunamis and landslides in the context of long-term and short-term impacts of land management decisions on water and sediment.

His career highlights to date have included co-authoring the 2006 book ‘Landslides: Processes, Prediction and Land Use’ and developing a hydrogeomorphic conceptual model for storm flow generation in steep catchments.

“This conceptual model can better predict flooding because it articulates the importance of landform types in the production of storm flow, for example linear hill slopes versus swales and flat riparian zones,” he said.

Professor Sidle in 2010 was elected a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union.

— Julie Schomberg

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