Professor Jim Hall
Visiting Professor

General Profile

Professor Jim Hall is Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks in the School of Geography and the Environment, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science and fellow of Linacre College. His research focuses upon management of climate-related risks in infrastructure systems, in particular relating to flooding, coastal erosion and water scarcity. He moved to the University of Oxford in 2011 having previously held academic positions in Newcastle University and the University of Bristol.

Jim worked in the UK and internationally as a coastal engineer before embarking on an academic career pioneering new uncertainty handling and decision-support methods for flood and coastal risk analysis. He developed the theoretical basis for the flood risk assessment methods that are now widely used in the UK and internationally. Jim was a coordinating lead author in the OST’s Foresight project on Flood and Coastal Defence, which analysed risks and responses to flooding and coastal erosion in the UK over the period 2030-2100. He also developed the framework for uncertainty analysis in appraisal of options for protecting London from flooding over the 21st Century, as part of the Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary 2100 project. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Flood Risk Management, member of the ESRA Technical Committee on Safety from Natural Hazards and was until 2009 chairman of the International Association of Hydraulic Research committee on Probabilistic Methods. In 2010 Jim Hall was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering "for his contribution to the development of methods for flood risk analysis, which underpin approaches for flood risk management in the UK and internationally."

Jim has worked extensively on application of generalized theories of probability to civil engineering and environmental systems, including random set theory, the theory of imprecise probabilities and info-gap theory. The work has been particularly fruitful in the analysis of uncertainties relating to global climate modelling, yielding the only paper on imprecise probability theory cited in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and leading to two recent publications in PNAS.

In recent years Jim has played an increasingly high profile role in relation to engineering and climate change, with a particular emphasis on adaptation to climate change in urban areas and infrastructure systems. Jim was a Contributing Author to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Amongst other projects, he has managed the UK programme Sustaining Knowledge for a Changing Climate and was until 2010 Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, coordinating the Tyndall Centre’s research programme on climate change and cities, which yielded a highly innovative integrated assessment of climate change adaptation and mitigation in London. Jim Hall is the engineer on the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK independent Committee on Climate Change which was brought into being by the 2008 Climate Change Act. He now leads the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium, which is funded by a £4.7million Programme Grant for EPSRC and is developing and demonstrating a new generation of system simulation models and tools to inform analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure.

Current research interests

  1. Climate adaptation decisions. Engineering adaptation to global change. Decision analysis. Robust decision making under uncertainty. Info-gap theory. Decision support for futures and scenarios analysis.
  2. Integrated assessment of coupled human and natural systems. National assessment of infrastructure systems. Infrastructure systems reliability and interdependence. Integrated assessment of long term change in cities. Methodologies for uncertainty analysis in integrated assessments.
  3. Uncertainty representation in modelling and risk analysis of engineering and environmental systems. Random set and imprecise probability theories. Sensitivity analysis and model calibration.
  4. Flood risk analysis and management. Broad scale flood risk analysis. Reliability analysis of flood defence systems. Advanced sampling based methods. Impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on flood risk. Robust flood risk management decisions under uncertainty.
  5. Coastal erosion prediction and appraisal. Simplified process-based modelling of coastal system evolution over extended time and space scales. Stochastic simulation of coastal cliff recession. Use of probabilistic information in coastal management. Impacts of sea level rise.
 
Current research interests

  1. Climate adaptation decisions. Engineering adaptation to global change. Decision analysis. Robust decision making under uncertainty. Info-gap theory. Decision support for futures and scenarios analysis.
  2. Integrated assessment of coupled human and natural systems. National assessment of infrastructure systems. Infrastructure systems reliability and interdependence. Integrated assessment of long term change in cities. Methodologies for uncertainty analysis in integrated assessments.
  3. Uncertainty representation in modelling and risk analysis of engineering and environmental systems. Random set and imprecise probability theories. Sensitivity analysis and model calibration.
  4. Flood risk analysis and management. Broad scale flood risk analysis. Reliability analysis of flood defence systems. Advanced sampling based methods. Impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on flood risk. Robust flood risk management decisions under uncertainty.
  5. Coastal erosion prediction and appraisal. Simplified process-based modelling of coastal system evolution over extended time and space scales. Stochastic simulation of coastal cliff recession. Use of probabilistic information in coastal management. Impacts of sea level rise.
Current research projects

Undergraduate Teaching

River and Coastal Engineering

Postgraduate Teaching

Introduction to flood risk management
Flood Management: Governance, Planning and Project Appraisal
Options for Flood Risk Management
Asset management of flood defences and dams
Coastal flood risk management