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Oxford Professor to Talk Water Impacts

Just how much have climate and land use changes impacted London’s primary water supplier?

A University of Oxford faculty member will answer that question during a geology talk at SUNY Cortland on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“The Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology of the River Thames,” takes place at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 204. Sponsored by the College’s Geology Department, Geology Club and Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public.

Paul Whitehead, a professor of water science at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, will discuss the River Thames, southern England’s principal river system and the provider of roughly two-thirds of the city’s water supply.

Recent climate change studies tied to the Thames suggest threats to water supply along with damage to river quality ecology. Land use change also is predicted to have an impact as agriculture becomes more intensive and farmers react to higher grain and food prices.

During his talk, Whitehead will discuss the important issues at hand as well as the setup of the Integrated Catchment Model, an assessment tool applied to measure many European ecosystems. Model results related to flow, nitrogen, phosphorus and ecology — along with their decision-making implications — will be mentioned.

Whitehead brings more than 35 years of experience studying water quality and pollution issues to the talk. The director of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Macronutrients Cycles Program, he has been involved with more than 40 research projects while working with many different universities.

In his extensive travels, Whitehead has visited six continents to study changes in land use, climate and the environment. He holds a Ph.D. in dynamic analysis of water resource systems from the University of Cambridge and an M.S. in control and systems theory from the University of Manchester.

For more information, contact Li Jin, assistant professor of geology, at or 607-753-2188.