Jonathan Mackay

Dr Jonathan Mackay

BGS Keyworth


Jon is a hydrologist with expertise in modelling land surface and subsurface hydrological processes, particularly in cold regions where strong climate-crysophere-hydrosphere coupling influences catchment water cycling (e.g. Mackay et al 2020). His research is improving understanding of (and facilitating adaptation to) water resource change due to environmental pressures through the development and application of predictive hydrological models with a stakeholder focus. His research spans a range of geographical settings in countries including the UK, Philippines, India, Africa, Iceland and Peru. He is particularly interested in the world’s so called ‘water towers’ (mountains) where water cycling and resource availability are influenced by interactions between surface hydrology, groundwater and melt from snow and glaciers. Jon has a track record of using the models he develops to produce state-of-the-art hydrological projections over seasonal (Mackay et al., 2015) to decadal timescales (Mackay et al., 2019). Underpinning his science is an expertise in quantifying model uncertainty (e.g. Mackay et al., 2018) so that more robust and informative model projections can be delivered to end users. His research spans a broad range of collaborators and stakeholders including universities, water companies, water regulators, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Jonathan Mackay’s Biography

  • 2021 – ongoing: Honorary Research Associate, University of Birmingham
  • 2011 – ongoing : Hydrologist, BGS Keyworth.
  •  2015 –2019 : PhD. Twenty-first century glacial and hydrological change in the Virkisjökull Glacier Observatory, Iceland. University of Birmingham.
  •  2009 –2010 : MSc with Distinction, Hydrology and Water Resource Management, Imperial College London.
  •  2006 –2009 : BSc (Hons) 1st Class, Environmental Science, Lancaster University.

Research focus

  • Climate change and water resource vulnerability
  • Water cycling in mountain catchments
  • Glacier energy balance and hydrology modelling
  • Characterisation and forecasting of hydrological extremes (floods and droughts)
  • Better quantification of model projection uncertainty

Current projects and collaborations

  • RAHU: Water security and climate change adaptation in Peruvian glacier-fed river basins (University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, SENAMHI, CONDESAN)
  • eFLaG: Enhanced Future Flows and Groundwater (UKCEH, HRWallingford, Thames Water, Dwr Cymru)
  • Hydro-JULES: Global glacier dynamics model development (UKCEH, NCAS)
  • PhiGO: Philippines Groundwater Outlook (AdMU. NWRB)
  • Groundwater Flood Forecasting Service: Daily forecasting service provided for the Flood Forecasting Service (FFC)
  • Hydrological Outlook: Monthly seasonal groundwater level forecasting service for the UK (UKCEH, EA)

PhD supervision:

  • Water cycling in high-altitude wetlands – implications for water security in the Peruvian Andes, lead supervisor (University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, CONDESAN)

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