Prof. James Terry


BSc in Geography (1st Class Honours): 1985, University of Wales, UK

PhD in Physical Geography: 1992, University of Wales, UK


Professor James Terry is a British national. His academic career includes previous positions held at the National University of Singapore (Singapore), the University of the South Pacific (Fiji) where he was Head of the School of Geography, Kagoshima University (Japan), and the University of Exeter (UK).

As a field-based geoscientist, Prof. Terry has over 30 years of research experience. He has previously led scientific field campaigns in Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Portugal, Samoa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, UAE, UK, Vanuatu and Vietnam. Broadly encompassing the entire sphere of geosciences, his research expertise spans across geomorphology, climatology and hydrology in particular. Complete records of publications with links can be accessed here:

Google Scholar Profile:

ResearchGate Profile:

Recent Professional Responsibilities:

Treasurer:  Asia Oceania Geosciences Society

Chair:  Steering Group on Natural Hazards & Disaster Risk, International Council of Science (Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific)

Member:  Science Advisory Board, IRDR International Centre of Excellence (Taiwan Academy of Sciences)

Member:  Digital Belt and Road Program, Environmental Change Working Group (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Journal Editorial Board positions:

Geoscience Letters (Springer)

Natural Hazards (Springer)

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography (Wiley)


2014–present: Professor, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE

2008–2014: Associate Professor, Geography Department, National University of Singapore

2008–present: Adjunct Professor (unsalaried), The University of the South Pacific, Fiji

2003–2008: Associate Professor, School of Geography, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji

2003–2004: Associate Professor, Research Centre for the Pacific Islands, Kagoshima University, Japan

1996–2003: Lecturer: 1996–2001; Senior Lecturer: 2001–2003; Department of Geography, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji

1995: Scientific Officer: Environmental Hydrology, Dept. of Agriculture, Bunbury, Government of Western Australia

1994: Visiting Lecturer, University of Sydney, Australia

1992–1993: Academic Tutor, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, UK


Dubai Academic City, Dubai Campus C-L1-004


+971-4-402 1744

Teaching Areas

Physical Geography


Natural Hazards

Earth Systems

Field Studies

Research and Professional Activities

Main areas of expertise:

  • Tropical environments: climatology, geomorphology, hydrology

  • Natural hazards: tsunamis, tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, storm surge, wildfires

  • Asia-Pacific region

  • Land degradation: soil erosion, land-use management, water resources

Recent collaborative research projects:

  • Coastal hazards and sea-level change in the Asia-Pacific region (with: University of Brisbane and University of New South Wales, Australia; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore).

  • Les dépôts cyclopéens associés aux événements cycloniques dans le Pacifique Ouest (avec l’Université de la Polynésie Française, Tahiti).

  • Tropical cyclones – characteristics, behaviour, patterns, physical impacts and geovisualisation (with: University of Alaska, US and National Central University, Taiwan).

  • Pacific island river systems – hydrology and sediment transport processes (with: University of the South Pacific, Fiji)

  • Groundwater salinization (with: University of Hong Kong, China).


Expert reviewer previous roles:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research

  • National Geographic Society

  • Polish National Science Centre

  • Swiss National Science Foundation

  • Georgia National Science Foundation

  • EarthWatch Institute

  • Ministry of Education, Singapore


Asia Oceania Geoscience Society (AOGS)
Founding President and current Secretary of Interdisciplinary Geosciences Section

International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG)
Previous Secretary of the Working Group ‘Extreme Events in Geomorphology’


  • Terry, J.P. and Malik, S.A. Reconsidering the seawater-density parameter in hydrodynamic flow transport equations for coastal boulders. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. DOI:10.1080/00288306.2020.1716815

  • Liou, Y.-A., Liu, J.-C., Liu, C.-C., Chen, C.-H., Nguyen, K.-A. and Terry, J.P. 2019. Consecutive dual-vortex interactions between quadruple typhoons Noru, Kulap, Nesat and Haitang during the 2017 North Pacific typhoon season. Remote Sensing, 11: 1843. DOI:10.3390/rs11161843

  • Nguyen, A.K., Liou, Y.-A. and Terry, J.P. 2019. Vulnerability of Vietnam to typhoons: a spatial assessment based on hazards, exposure and adaptive capacity. Science of the Total Environment, 682: 31–46. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.069

  • Oliver, G.J.H. and Terry, J.P. 2019. Relative sea level highstands in Thailand since the Mid-Holocene based on 14C rock oyster chronology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 517: 30–38. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.12.005

  • Terry, J., Goff, J., Bongolan, V.P. and Winspear, N. 2019. RE: “Surprising landslide-induced tsunami”. Science, 363(6423): 106-108. (E-letter) DOI:10.1126/science.363.6423.106

  • Terry, J.P. and Gienko, G. 2019. Quantitative observations on tropical cyclone tracks in the Arabian Sea. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 135: 1413–1421. DOI:10.1007/s00704-018-2445-1

  • Terry, J.P. and Goff, J. 2019. Strongly aligned coastal boulders on Ko Larn island (Thailand): a proxy for past typhoon-driven high-energy wave events in the Bay of Bangkok. Geographical Research, 57: 344–358. DOI:10.1111/1745-5871.12342

  • Terry, J.P., Goff, J., Winspear, N. and Bongolan, V.P. 2019. Recognising the perils of landslide-generated tsunamis in the Asia–Pacific region. Natural Hazards, 97:1413–1416. DOI:10.1007/s11069-019-03708-y

  • Almheiri, M.A.M., Terry, J.P. and Khan, M.A. 2018. Assessment of recovered organic waste quality for application to sandy soils in the United Arab Emirates. Ecology, Environment and Conservation, 24: 1671–1677.

  • Lau, A.Y.A., Terry, J.P. Ziegler, A., Pratap, A. and Harris, D. 2018. Boulder emplacement and remobilisation by cyclone and submarine landslide tsunami waves near Suva City, Fiji. Sedimentary Geology, 364: 242–257. DOI:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.12.017

  • Terry, J.P., Goff, J. and Jankaew, K. 2018. Major typhoon phases in the upper Gulf of Thailand over the last 1.5 millennia, determined from coastal deposits on rock islands. Quaternary International, 487: 87–98. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.04.022

  • Terry, J.P., Jia, G., Boldi, R. and Khan, S. 2018. The Delhi ‘gas chamber’: smog, air pollution and the health emergency of November 2017. Weather, 73: 348–352. DOI:10.1002/wea.3242

  • Terry, J.P. and Lau, A.Y.A. 2018. Magnitudes of nearshore waves generated by Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest landfalling cyclone in South Pacific records. Unprecedented or unremarkable? Sedimentary Geology, 364: 276–285. DOI:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.10.009

  • Terry, J.P., Winspear, N., Goff, J. and Tan, P.H.H. 2017. Past and potential tsunami sources in the South China Sea: A brief synthesis. Earth-Science Reviews, 167: 47–61. DOI:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.02.007

  • Terry, J.P. and Goff, J. 2017. Comment on "Late Cenozoic sea level and the rise of modern rimmed atolls" by Toomey et al. (2016), Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 451: 73–83.” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 469: 156–158. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.11.027

  • Aitsi-Selmi, A., Murray, V., Wannous, C., et al. (multiple authors including James Terry) 2016. Reflections on a science and technology agenda for 21st Century Disaster Risk Reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 7: 1–29. DOI:10.1007%2Fs13753–016–0081–x

  • Goff, J., Ebina, Y., Goto, K. and Terry, J. 2016. Defining Tsunamis: Yoda strikes back? Earth-Science Reviews, 159: 271–274. DOI:10.1016/j.earscirev.2016.06.003

  • Goff, J., Knight, J., Sugawara, D. and Terry, J.P. 2016. Anthropogenic disruption to the seismic driving of beach ridge formation: The Sendai coast, Japan. Science of the Total Environment, 544: 18–23. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.11.106

  • Goff, J. and Terry, J.P. 2016. Tsunamigenic landslides – the Pacific Islands blind spot? Landslides, 13: 1535–1543. DOI:10.1007/s10346–015–0649–3

  • Lau, A.Y.A., Terry, J.P., Ziegler, A.D., Switzer, A.D., Lee, Y. and Etienne, S. 2016. Understanding the history of extreme wave events in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia from large carbonate boulders on Makemo Atoll, with implications for future threats in the central South Pacific. Marine Geology, 380: 174–190. DOI:10.1016/j.margeo.2016.04.018

  • Ram, A.R. and Terry, J.P. 2016. Stream turbidity responses to storm events in a pristine forested watershed on the Coral Coast of southern Fiji. International Journal of Sediment Research, 31: 279–290. DOI:10.1016/j.ijsrc.2016.07.002

  • Terry, J.P., Dunne, K. and Jankaew, K. 2016. Prehistorical frequency of high-energy marine inundation events driven by typhoons in the Bay of Bangkok (Thailand), interpreted from coastal carbonate boulders. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41: 553–562. DOI:10.1002/esp.3873

  • Terry, J.P., Oliver, G.J.H. and Friess, D.A. 2016. Ancient high-energy storm boulder deposits on Ko Samui, Thailand, and their significance for identifying coastal hazard risk. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 454: 282–293. DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.04.046

  • Chui, T.F.M. and Terry, J.P. 2015. Groundwater salinisation on atoll islands after storm-surge flooding. Modelling the influence of central topographic depressions. Water and Environment Journal, 29: 430–438. DOI:10.1111/wej.12116

  • Lau, A.Y.A., Terry, J.P., Switzer, A. and Pyle, J. 2015. Advantages of beachrock slabs for interpreting high-energy wave transport: Evidence from Ludao Island in south-eastern Taiwan. Geomorphology, 228: 263–274. DOI:10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.09.010

  • Terry, J.P., Jankaew, K. and Dunne, K. 2015. Coastal vulnerability to typhoon inundation in the Bay of Bangkok, Thailand? Evidence from carbonate boulder deposits on Ko Larn island. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 165: 261–269. DOI:10.1016/j.ecss.2015.05.028

  • Terry, J.P. and Kim, I.-H. 2015. Morphometric analysis of tropical storm and hurricane tracks in the North Atlantic basin using a sinuosity-based approach. International Journal of Climatology, 35: 923–934. DOI:10.1002/joc.4027

  • Yap, W., Lee, Y.S., Gouramanis, C., Switzer, A.D., Yu, F., Lau, A.Y.A. and Terry, J.P. 2015. A historical typhoon database for the southern and eastern Chinese coastal regions, 1951 to 2012. Ocean and Coastal Management, 108: 109–115. DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.05.024