UCL Earth Sciences


Dr Brian Thomas

Watershed Hydrology, Baseflow, Recession Analysis, Groundwater Hydrology; Groundwater Sustainability

Lecturer in Hydrogeology

Brian Thomas




Lecturer in HydrogeologyKathleen Lonsdale, Room 107

Courses Taught:

GEOL0027 Groundwater Science
GEOL0058 Matlab

Research Group(s):


Email Address:

Telephone Number:


Research Summary

The key question that guides my research is, in plain speech, how have we humans muddled the hydrologic cycle and how will we continue to muddle the cycle in the future? By understanding how humans influence the storage, transmission and discharge of water budget components, we can further our understanding of water availability to achieve sustainability goals. My work has ranged from local- to global-scale by integrating disciplines of remote sensing, subsurface geology and hydrogeological characterization, watershed geomorphology, and streamflow generation. Each conceptual discipline can be impacted by a combination of anthropogenic and climatic changes, ranging from point disturbances (e.g. reservoirs, groundwater abstractions) to regional disturbances (e.g. changes in land use/land cover, changes in precipitation and temperature) that impact our ability to identify, quantify and predict cascading changes in water availability. 

I was the first in my family to attend university, completing my BSc (1997, Environmental Geology) at my home-state university, the University of North Dakota.  Like most rural kids who lack strong academic mentorship, I took up several consulting jobs before returning to complete my MSc (2002, Hydrology) from the University of New Hampshire.  After my MSc, I worked as a Senior Hydrogeologist at Weston & Sampson Engineers in Massachusetts before becoming an Environmental Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Unanswered questions drove me to pursue my PhD in Civil Engineering (2012) at Tufts University, where my research focused on groundwater-surface water interactions.  My postdoctoral experience expanded my interest in subsurface storage, focusing on how we may apply remotely sensed gravity to interpret large-scale, global groundwater challenges.