James Terry

Professor and Dean
AUH Campus

  • PhD in Physical Geography.  1992.  Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • BSc Hons (First Class) in Geography.  1988.  Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • Climatology;  Hydrology;  Geomorphology;  Natural Hazards
  • 2014 – present     Professor of Geosciences, 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), University of the South Pacific, Fiji
  • 2003 – 2008          Associate Professor, School of Geography, University of the South Pacific, Fiji (Head: 2003–6)
  • 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, University of the South Pacific, Fiji
  • 1995                      Scientific Officer (Environmental Hydrology), Gov. Dept. of Agriculture, Bunbury, Western Australia
  • 1994                       Visiting academic, Univ. of Sydney, ANU, Univ. of Newcastle, Univ. of Brisbane, Univ. of Wollongong, Univ. of Tasmania.
  • 1992 – 1993          Tutor (full-time position), Department of Geography, University of Exeter, UK

Advisory and Expert Roles (selection only)

  • UAE Climate Change Research Network (CCRN): UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment: 2021–present
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Expert reviewer for 6th Assessment Report (Chapter 15 Small Islands): 2019–2021.
  • Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT): Expert reviewer of large grant application: 2019.
  • National Geographic Society: Expert reviewer of large grant application: 2016.
  • Science and Technology Major Group: Plenary statement at the UN 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai, Japan, 14–18 March 2015.  Contributor.  http://webtv.un.org/search/representative-from-the-science-and-technology-major-group-6th-plenary-meeting/4113991259001
  • Polish National Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland:  Expert reviewer of large grant applications: 2015, 2017.
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, Berne, Switzerland:  Expert reviewer of large grant applications: 2014, 2015, 2016.
  • Georgia National Science Foundation, Tbilisi, Georgia [now renamed Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation]: Expert reviewer of large grant applications: 2009–2014.
  • EarthWatch Institute:  Expert reviewer of large grant applications to the global freshwater research initiative: 2012.
  • International Council for Science (ICSU), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific: elected member of the Science Planning Group on Natural and Human Induced Environmental Hazards and Disasters: 2007–2009.
  • Ministry of Education, Singapore: 1. Member of Syllabus Review Committee for Geography A-level curriculum: 2009–2011.  2. Reviewer for O-level instructional materials: 2012.  3. National Geography Talent Development Programme (TDP) for the Singapore junior college teams who won the 9th and 11th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) events in Germany and Poland: 2012–14.
  • Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (SPC): Pacific Fisheries Vulnerability to Climate Change project.  Member of riverine geo-habitats and vulnerability assessment team. Nov.2008 – Jan.2010.
  • WMO and Pacific Islands Geoscience Commission: Advisor to the programme Pacific HYCOS (Hydrological Cycle Observing System): 2006–2010.

Journal Editorship Positions

International Science Leadership & Responsibilities

Asia-Oceania Geoscience Society (AOGS)Council Member 2011–2015; Treasurer 2012–14; Founding President of the Interdisciplinary Geosciences Section 2012–13; Award Committee 2017; Secretary for Interdisciplinary Geosciences 2014–present. 

At the 2011 AOGS annual conference I was elected by the membership of the society as Treasurer.  The Treasurer is one of four office bearers who form the Executive Committee of Council.  

The AOGS is an international scientific society established in 2003 with the mission to promote the geosciences for the benefit of humanity (http://www.asiaoceania.org/society/index.asp).

International Council for Science (ICSU): (Now renamed ISC): Chair of the Steering Group on Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk (SGNHDR): 2012–2019.  Coordinated through the ICSU-Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Hosted by the Malaysian Academy of Sciences, Kuala Lumpur.

The Chair of the SGNHR was a position I was invited to take up in 2012 following my long-standing involvement with ICSU-ROAP, helping to draft science plans and participating in their regional workshops on natural hazards (dealing with science, planning and disaster risk reduction) over 2007–10.  ICSU is the global umbrella organisation comprising membership of national scientific agencies (120 Members, representing 140 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members) (https://council.science/regions/roap/).

Digital Belt and Road Program (DBAR): Environmental Change Working Group. 10-yr international programme, hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing): 2016–present.

The DBAR vision is the promotion of international cooperation that integrates Earth observation science, data, technology, and applications to address environmental change and attain SDGs in the Belt and Road region across Asia, Europe and Africa. (http://www.dbeltroad.org/)

IRDR International Centre of ExcellenceScience Advisory Board. Hosted by Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan: 2017–present.  Elected Chair 2021 – present.

  • Terry, J., Singh, K., and McKeown, M. 2023.  Lake Tagimaucia as a potential Late Holocene environmental archive for the volcanic highlands of Fiji. Pacific Science, 76: 289–311. doi:10.2984/76.3.4
  • Terry, J., Al Ruheili, A., Boldi, R., Gienko, G., and Stahl, H. 2022.  Cyclone Shaheen: the exceptional tropical cyclone of October 2021 in the Gulf of Oman. Weather, 77: 364-370. doi:10.1002/wea.4193
  • 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. doi:10.1186/s40562-022-00232-z or https://rdcu.be/cQA4m
  • 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. doi:10.1111/iar.12417
  • 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. doi.10.3389/feart.2021.792369
  • 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. doi:10.1007/s11069-020-04347-4
  • 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
  • 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


  • 2022.  Excellence in Research Award: College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University
  • 2017.  Excellence in Research Award: College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University
  • 2017.  Provost’s Research Fellowship Award: Office of the Provost: One of only 6 PRFAs awarded competitively on a 2-year cycle, Zayed University.
  • 2012.  Award for Research Excellence: Office of the Deputy President (Research & Technology): National University of Singapore.


  • 2010.  Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore.
  • 2012.  Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore.


  • 2017.  Exemplary Merit Award: Office of the Vice-President: Zayed University.

Smithsonian Magazine:  Giant ancient tsunami in Kiribati, October 2021 feature

WION Global Summit 2020:  ‘Managing and Negotiating Global Imperatives’, Dubai, 5 March 2020:  Invited Panellist on Climate Change session, organised by WION news network (Zee Media Corporation Ltd.) (https://www.wionews.com/globalsummit/dubai-2020)

Forbes Magazine:  Bangkok Typhoon Flood Risk, August 2018 feature

ENV695 Environmental Field Expeditions

ENV699 MSc Thesis in Environmental Science & Sustainability