• The University of Western Australia (M004), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am a Geographer, working across the areas of hydrology, geomorphology, Geographical Information Science (GIS) and remote sensing. My work is focused on advancing physical geography and our understanding of Australian landscape processes, particularly the impacts from changes in climate and human interaction with landscapes. I established and manage the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licenced drone remote sensing group as Chief Remote Pilot for The University of Western Australia (CASA.ReOC.0628) and hold the institutional Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC). I manage and oversee the Remotely Piloted Aerial Sensing Platform and drone operations across the Faculty of Science at UWA.

I did my BSc (Hons) and PhD (2007) in Geography at The University of Western Australia, and have held Teaching and Research Lecturing positions at The University of Queensland and now at UWA. I have a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHEd) from UQ (2011)

I previously served on the Editorial Panel of Journal of Hydrology and currently for Geographical Research. I am Treasurer of the Australian New Zealand Geomorphology Group (ANZGG).

Follow me and my work on: Twitter (@NikCallow), Google Scholar, Scopus and ORCiD

Current projects

- Enhanced medium term inflow forecasting capability for the Snowy Mountains scheme (with Snowy Hydro)

- Impact of climate change and groundwater inflow on the Donnelly River (with Department of Water and Environmental Regulation – DWER, WA Gov)

- Understanding and managing threats to savana riparian zones in Northern Australia (with NESP Northern Hub)

- Unlocking the environmental archives of the Kimberley’s last 60,000 years (LP170100242, with Kimberly Foundation)

- Understanding the environmental drivers and how climate change impacts flowering patterns in southwestern Australia (with the CRC for Honey Bee Products)

Completed Projects

- Investigate the environmental fate of Silver Iodine and Indium (III) Oxide used for cloud seeding operations in the Snowy Mountains (with Snowy Hydro)

- Climate change impacts on woodland ecosystem, integrating above and belowground hydrological processes at relevant scales (LP140100736, with Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions – DBCA, WA Gov)

- Developing new spatial temperature measurement and mapping tools to assist growers, advisors and extension specialists manage frost risk at farm scale (CSP10098, with the GRDC,)

- Potential of integrated vegetation bands to increase water retention, buffer climate extremes and enhance production (LP100100356)

Funding overview

My research is funded by the Australian Research Council through the Linkage and CRC Programmes, and industry partners including.

-       Snowy Hydro Limited

-       Kimberly Foundation Australia

-       ANDS/NeCTAR

-       Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC)

-       Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA)

-       Kings Park - Botanical Parks & Gardens Authority (now within DBCA)

-       Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)

-       Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DIPRD)

-       Specterra Systems

-       Rio Tinto Iron Ore

-       Wheatbelt NRM

-       RPAS/Drones: SciAero (UAV), Sensoren, AgriEye (UAV)


Theme 1: Hydrology, geomorphology and ecohydrology of wetlands and catchments under pressure from climate, humans and resource condition changes including land degradation, with a focus on Australian landscapes.

Geomorphology, hydrology and biogeomorphology:

  • Advancing our understanding of geomorphology, particularly biogeomorphology in dryland Australian rivers and response to changing hydrology and land degradation
  • Improving our understanding of remote-area hydrology and ecohydrology of large, remote and data-scarce dryland river basins, including management of dryland rivers and wetlands impacted by land management, resource condition degradation and climate change
  • Alpine hydrology and sediment transport processes, including response of the marginal Australian snowpack to a warming climate and processes of sediment transport, redistribution and accumulation and impacts of silver used in cloud seeding to enhance snow precipitation

Australian climate and hydrology across the Quaternary:

  • Palaeoclimate, snow hydrology and climate drivers of the Snowy Mountains
  • Climate dynamics and cyclone frequency during the human occupation of north western Australia

Climate variability and climate change impacts on biodiverse and alpine ecosystems:

  • Woodlands and Wetlands of biodiverse SW WA
  • Snowpack dynamics and snowmelt in the Australian Alps
  • Climate impacts and dynamics in carbon-rich coastal wetlands


Theme 2: Innovation and new knowledge for studying physical geography and environment processes.

  • Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones) for remote sensing of environmental processes in natural and agricultural landscapes, including improved methods for low-level remote sensing and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) point cloud data analysis
  • Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) using optic-fibre cable for high resolution spatio-temporal measurement using temperature directly and as an environmental process proxy
  • GIS and spatial analysis and remote sensing of hydrological processes, to study the hydrology of data-poor and dryland landscapes


Techniques and Expertise

- Fluvial geomorphology and surface water processes

- Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS/drones, <25kg multirotor and <7kg fixed-wing RePL)

- Remote sensing (satellite, drone and ground-based: optical, spectral, thermal)

- Photogrammetry, Structure from Motion (SfM) and topographic change analysis

- Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS)

- Sediment tracing and dating

- Ecohydrology

- Water stable isotope

- Palaeoclimate


Teaching overview

Undergraduate Teaching:
GEOG1103 Coastal Cities: Geographical Perspectives

GEOG2202 Reading Landscapes: People and Processes

Postgraduate Teaching

ENVT4406 Catchment and River Processes

ENVT5516 Environmental Monitoring and Sensors

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Geomorphology
  • Earth surface processes
  • GIS, remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Hydrology
  • Landscape analysis
  • Physical geography
  • Environmental science


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