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
Scopus Profile
ORCID 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

  • Dynamic coasts: 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 environmental change: river and lake systems, hydrology, 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’
  • European Geoscience Union (EGU)


  • Terry, J.P., Goff, J., Winspear, N., Bongolan, V.P. and Fisher, S. 2022. Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami, January 2022: globally the most significant opportunity to observe an explosive and tsunamigenic submarine eruption since AD 1883 Krakatau. Geoscience Letters, 9:24.

  • Terry, J.P., Karoro, R., Gienko, G.A., Wieczorek, M. and Lau, A.Y.A. 2021. Giant palaeotsunami in Kiribati: Converging evidence from geology and oral history. Island Arc, 30:e12417.

  • Terry, J.P., Lau, A.Y.A. Nguyen, K.A., Liou, Y.A. and Switzer, A.D. 2021 Clustered, stacked and imbricated large coastal rock clasts on Ludao Island, southeast Taiwan, and their application to palaeotyphoon intensity assessment. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9:792369.

  • Terry, J.P., Winspear, N. and Goff, J. 2021. Is Bangkok at risk of storm-driven marine inundation? Evidence from the AD1785 historical flood. Natural Hazards, 105: 1013–1030.

  • Terry, J.P. and Gienko, G. 2019. Quantitative observations on tropical cyclone tracks in the Arabian Sea. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 135: 1413–1421.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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