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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Tim Burt

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Emeritus Professor, Catchments and Rivers
Emeritus Professor, Hazards and Surface Change

Contact Professor Tim Burt (email at


I retired in 2017 after twenty-one years as Master of Hatfield College and Professor of Geography. My research career has been largely in process hydrology and fluvial geomorphology. I continue to collaborate with Professor Fred Worrall in Earth Sciences and Dr Nicholas Howden (University of Bristol). Our research is focused on nutrient pollution, dissolved organic carbon and sediment transport with the analysis of long time series a particular interest. I also have an interest in climatic history, having worked extensively on records from the Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford (records from 1767), and from the Durham Observatory (records from 1850). I continue to be responsible for the weather records at Durham: having previous been responsible for the Radcliffe (1986-96), this means I have run the two university weather stations with the longest records in the country. In 2019 I co-authored with Stephen Burt (no relation!) Oxford weather and climate since 1767 (Oxford University Press) and we are now beginning to turn our attention to the Durham weather records. I have another book currently in press (October 2019) entitled Curious about nature: a passion for fieldwork; this has been edited with Professor Des Thompson (Scottish Natural Heritage); a good number of Durham academics are amongst the fifty authors, writing about their experiences of fieldwork across a wide range from Cambrian geology (Professor David Harper, Van Mildert College and Earth Sciences) to urban graffiti in India (Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor). I am currently President of the Field Studies Council, having been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1982. I am an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the British Society for Geomorphology.

Research Interests

  • Climate change
  • Environmental monitoring and diagnostics including water quality, hillslope and fluvial processes
  • Geomorphology
  • Hillslope
  • Integrated catchment management
  • Soil erosion
  • Water quality, in particular nutrient pollution

Selected Publications

Edited book

  • Warburton, J. & Lane, S.N. (2006). Land Management and the Protection of the Water Environment: Understanding the Impact of New Legislation. Proceedings of the Ninth National Symposium. British Hydrological Society.

Chapter in book

  • Pinay, G., Burt, T.P. & Gimiera, B. (2006). Floodplains in river ecosystems. In Biological Monitoring of Rivers. Ziglio, G., Siligardi, M. & Falim, G. Wiley.
  • Anderson, M.G. & Burt, T.P. (2006). The role of topography in controlling throughflow generation. In Streamflow Generation Processes. Beven, K.J. Wallingford.: IHAS Press. 291-304.
  • Burt, T.P. (2005). General/Particular. In Questioning Geography. Castree, N., Rogers, A.P. & Sherman, D. Blackwell. 117-130.
  • Burt, T.P. & Slattery, M.C. (2005). Land use and land cover effects on runoff processes: agricultural effects. In Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. John Wiley. Part 10..
  • Burt, T.P. (2003). Realms of gold, wild surmise and wondering about physical geography. In Contemporary Meanings in Physical Geography. Trudgill, S.T. & Roy, A. London.: Arnold. 49-61.
  • Burt, T.P. (2003). Scale: upscaling and downscaling in physical geography. In Key Concepts in Geography. Holloway, S.L., Rice, S.P. & Valentine, G. London.: Sage. 209-227.
  • Burt, T.P., Warburton, J. & Allison, R.J. (2002). Eroding upland landscapes? Past, present and future perspectives. In The British Uplands: Dynamics of change. Burt, T.P., Thompson, D.B.A. & Warburton, J. Peterborough.: JNCC. 319: 60-66.
  • Higgitt, D.L. & Warburton, J. (2002). GPS: A tool for mapping the uplands. In The British Uplands: Dynamics of Change. Burt, T.P., Thompson, D.B.A. & Warburton, J. JNCC. 134-135.
  • Danks, M. & Warburton, J. (2002). Historical river channel change - Swinhope Burn, Upper Weardale. In The British Uplands: Dynamics of Change. Burt, T.P., Thompson, D.B.A. & Warburton, J. JNCC. 125-126.
  • Burt, T.P. (2002). Hydrological processes in riparian buffer zones. In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Efficiency of Purification Processes in Riparian Buffer Zones. Hatano, R., Mander, U., Hayakawa, Y., Kuusemets, V., Watanabe, Y. & Kanazawa, K. National Agricultural Research Centre for Hokkaido. 1-11.
  • A. Mills, J. Warburton & D.L. Higgitt (2002). Peat mass movements: a World and regional database. In The British Uplands: Dynamics of Change. T.P. Burt, D.B.A. Thompson & J. Warburton JNCC. 166-167.
  • Johnson, R.M., Warburton, J. & Burt, T.P. (2002). Torrent erosion in Lake District mountain cathments. In The British Uplands: Dynamics of Change. Burt, T.P., Thompson, D.B.A. & Warburton, J. Peterborough.: JNCC. 319: 139-140.

Journal Article

Conference Paper

Conference Proceeding

  • Widdison, P.E., Burt, T.P., Donoghuem D.N.M. & Hudson, R. (2006). Responses to water quality problems in the Leet catchment. SAC and SEPA Biennial Conference, Edinburgh..
  • Widdison, P.E., Hudson, R. & Burt, T.P. (2004). Water Framework Directive: Implications for Farmers in the Leet Water Catchment. SAC and SEPA Biennial Conference, Edinburgh..


Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Admissions & college affairs: college admissions
  • General issues: general environmental issues
  • Landscape & buildings: geomorphology
  • Seas & rivers: river hydrology and geomorphology
  • Weather & climate: weather observation
  • Weather & climate: recent climate history
  • Pollution: pollution transport in agricultural catchments
  • Pollution: nitrate
  • Pollution: phosphate
  • Engineering: Other contexts: soil conservation and buffer zone management

Selected Grants

  • 2009: CATCHMENT CHANGE NETWORK (CCN) (£6726.16 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2009: Sustainable uplands: communicating and learning to live with change (£2716.44 from ESRC)
  • 2000: NICHE/CHASM (£1.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 1997: NICHOLAS FPIV ENV + CLIMATE (£186199.00 from )