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Dr Tom Ball is Reader in Geography and head of the Department of Social Sciences. He is a geographer with research interests in climate change, flood risk, functional ecosystem restoration and catchment management. Although he is primarily a physical geographer, much of his work on flood risk is on the interface between human and physical geography and he has published and taught in both.
His current projects include work funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) on the restoration of eroded high-altitude blanket bog in the Cairngorm National Park, and hydrological modelling of a catchment in the Scottish Borders undergoing restoration for ecosystem health and flood risk reduction (The Eddleston Water Project, see below).

The Cairngorms blanket bog restoration work is focussing on the effect of managing deer numbers and monitoring of aquatic carbon export from the Moine Mhor (Glenfeshie). The goal of the project is to try and quantify the extent to which carbon sequestration by the bog can be optimised through reduction of grazing pressures, in conjunction with reforestation work conducted by the Glenfeshie Estate. The project is collaborating with the Estate, University of Dundee, SNH (PhD studentship to Emma Bryder), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and with University of Southampton on a related project.

The Eddleston Water project is investigating the benefits of river catchment restoration for flood risk reduction and the health of the water environment. High-quality and extensive hydrological monitoring (both surface and groundwater) is feeding into the development by Tom and collaborators of a comprehensive nested catchment hydrological model. The goal is to understand the scaling effects of flow attenuation (channel, floodplain and hillslope measures) and river restoration in a medium-scale ca 70 km2 catchment. Collaboration is with The Tweed Forum, Scottish Government and SEPA (project funders), University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University and the British Geological Survey.

Teaching responsibilities

Tom teaches on the new Geography BSc programme at Winchester and is module leader for Global Risks and for Local Environmental Change. He also contributes to Global Environmental Change, Introduction to Geographical Research and Fieldwork and Exploring Geographical Data.

Areas of expertise

  • Flood risk management scientific and social aspects
  • Hydrological monitoring and modelling
  • Forests and wetlands carbon and greenhouse gas fluxes
  • Environmental and planning law in England and Wales and Scotland
  • GIS applications


Journal articles

  • Yawson, D.O., Mohan,S., Armah, F.A., Ball,T.,Mulholland, B., Adu, M.O., White, P.J. (2020) Virtual water flows under projected climate, land use and population change: the case of UK feed barley and meat. Heliyon, Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2020, Article number e0312
  • Dittrich, R,  Butler, A, Ball, Y, Wreford, A and  Moran D (2019). Making real options analysis more accessible for climate change adaptation. An application to afforestation as a flood management measure in the Scottish Borders, Journal of Environmental Management 245, 338-347.
  • Dittrich, R, Ball, T, Wreford, A, Moran, D, Spray, CJ (2019). A cost-benefit analysis of afforestation as a climate change adaptation measure to reduce flood risk. Journal of Flood Risk Management 12 (4) e12482
  • Yawson, D, Adu, MO, Mulholland, B, Ball, T, Frimpong, KA, Mohan, S, White, PJ  (2019) Regional variations in potential groundwater recharge from spring barley crop fields in the UK under projected climate change. Groundwater for Sustainable Development 8: 332-345.
  • Yawson, D, Mulholland, B, Ball, T Adu, MO, Mohan, S, White, PJ. (2017) Effect of climate and agricultural land use changes on UK feed barley production and food security to the 2050s. Land (open access) 6(4) Article 74.
  • Yawson, D, Ball, T Adu, MO, Mulholland, B, White, PJ. (2016) Simulated regional yields of spring barley in the United Kingdom under projected climate change. Climate (open access) 4(4),54
  • Rouillard, JJ, Reeves AD, Heal KV, Ball T (2015). Policy implementation of catchment-scale flood risk management: learning from Scotland and England. Environmental Science and Policy 50: 155-165
  • Rouillard, JJ, Reeves, AD, Heal, KV, Ball T (2014). The role of public participation in encouraging changes in rural land use to reduce flood risk. Land Use Policy 38: 637-645.
  • Ball T, Edwards A, Werritty A (2014). Coastal Flooding in Scotland: Toward National-level Hazard Assessment. Natural Hazards 70: 1133-1152.
  • Rouillard, JJ, Heal, KV, Ball, T, Reeves, AD (2013). Policy integration for adaptive water governance: Learning from Scotland's experience. Environmental Science and Policy 33: 378-387.
  • Ball T, Werritty A, Geddes A  (2013). Flood insurance provision and affordability beyond the Statement of Principles: The UK in a Transitional State. Area 45: 266-272.
  • Ball T, Black A, Ellis R, Hemsley L, Hollebrandse F, Lardet P & Wicks J (2012). A new methodology to assess the benefits of flood warning. Journal of Flood Risk Management 5: 188-202. N.B. this paper was one of four ranked as ‘highly commended’; in the outstanding paper competition for this journal in 2012.
  • Rouillard, JJ, Heal, KV, Reeves, AD & Ball, T (2012). Impact of institutions on flood policy learning. Water Policy (Official journal of the World Water Council) 14: 232-249.
  • Dawson RJ, Ball T, Werritty J, Werritty A, Hall JW & Roche N (2011). Assessing the effectiveness of non-structural flood management measures under conditions of socio-economic and environmental change. Global Environmental Change 21: 628-646.
  • Ball T, Smith KA, Garnett MH, Moncrieff JB, Zerva, A (2011). An assessment of the effect of Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis Bong. Carr) plantation forest cover on carbon turnover and storage in a peaty gley soil. European Journal of Soil Science 62: 560-571.
  • Ball T, Werritty A, Hickey K, Duck, RW, Edwards A, Booth L (2010). Coastal Flooding In Scotland: Past, Present and Future. In: Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters: Adapting to Change. Institute of Civil Engineers (W. Allsop, ed.), pp 614-625. ICE, London.
  • Spray, CS, Ball T, Rouillard J (2010). Bridging the Water Law, Policy, Science Interface: Flood Risk Management in Scotland. Journal of Water Law 20: 165-174.
  • Ball T (2008). Management approaches to floodplain restoration and stakeholder engagement in the UK: A survey. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology 8: 273-280.
  • Ball T (2007). After Barker: Environmental Impact Assessment and the UK planning regime. Environmental Law Review 9: 46-49.
  • Zerva A, Ball T, Smith KA, Mencuccini M (2005). Soil carbon dynamics in a Sitka spruce (Piceasitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) chronosequence on a peaty gley. Forest Ecology and Management 205: 227-240.
  • Smith KA, Ball T, Conen F, Dobbie KE, Massheder J & Rey, A (2003). Exchange of greenhouse gases between soil and atmosphere: Interactions of soil physical factors and biological processes. European Journal of Soil Science 54: 779-791.
  • Frolking, SE, Bubier JL, Moore TR, Ball T, Bellisario LM, Bhardwaj A et al. (1998). Relationship between ecosystem productivity and photosynthetically active radiation for northern peatlands. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 12: 115-126.

Reports and book chapters

  • Ball T, Hendry S, Werritty A and Spray C (2009). Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 Annotations. Sweet and Maxwell Statutes Annotated.
  • Ball T (2012). Wetlands and the water environment in Europe in the first decade of the Water Framework Directive: are expectations being matched by delivery?, Chapter in Tropical Wetland Management: The South-American Pantanal and the International Experience, Ashgate, 2012.
  • Ball T, Werritty A, Duck R W, Edwards A, Booth L, Black A (2008). Coastal Flooding in Scotland: A Scoping Study, Final Report to Scotland and N. Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Edinburgh (code FRM10)
  • Ball, T, Hemsley, L, Lardet P, Hollebrandse F, Wicks J, Ellis R, Black A (2007). Assessing the Benefits of Flood Warning: a Scoping Study. Final Report to Scotland and N. Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Edinburgh (code UKCC10A/B).
  • Werritty A, Houston D, Ball T, Tavendale A, and Black A  (2007). Exploring the Social Impacts of Flooding and Flood Risk in Scotland, Scottish Executive, Edinburgh.
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