Robert James Wasson

Robert James Wasson
James Cook University

PhD

About

164
Publications
43,395
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6,352
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Publications

Publications (164)
Article
Global warming-induced melting and thawing of the cryosphere are severely altering the volume and timing of water supplied from High Mountain Asia, adversely affecting downstream food and energy systems that are relied on by billions of people. The construction of more reservoirs designed to regulate streamflow and produce hydropower is a critical...
Article
Economic damage caused by floods in India is a serious problem that has disrupted development and the fight against poverty in some parts of the country. It is therefore important to mitigate the effects of floods as effectively as possible. An analysis of aggregated economic damage in the categories of crops, housing and utilities in six Indian St...
Article
Full-text available
Rapidly uplifting Himalaya contributes a huge sediment load that governs the morphological characteristics of the rivers draining it and the flood hazards associated with them. Sediment budgeting of the Himalayan rivers has been a challenge in geomorphology due to complex lithotectonic terrains, varied tectonic activity and rainfall distribution, a...
Article
Sedimentation in the Brahmaputra River has led to the widening and shallowing of its channel, resulting in land loss and deposition on agricultural land, exacerbating floods, threatening the viability of flood mitigation embankments, and could even lead to the riverbed becoming higher than the floodplain over much of its length with potentially dis...
Article
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Only a small area of the Australian mainland was glaciated during the Pleistocene, whereas periglacial deposits are far more common, indicating that cold environments were extensive and a major influence on landscape evolution. Here we identify representative low-elevation examples of scree slopes and frost action, together with fans and valley fil...
Article
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The large and apparently increasing magnitude of losses of lives and property due to hydroclimatic hazards in the Hindu Kush–Karakoram–Himalaya (HKH), exemplified by the recent February, 2021 Rishiganga and 2013 Kedarnath floods, shows that risk assessment and planning are inadequate. In the Anthropocene, where climate change is a real and present...
Article
Our examination of pollen, microcharcoal, and sediment material in Nee Soon Freshwater Swamp Forest in Singapore revealed the following regarding its more than 20 000-year history: (1) the pollen record supports the presence of a savanna corridor in this part of South-East Asia during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM); (2) a high abundance of charcoal...
Article
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Examples of sediment budgets are needed to document the range of budget types and their controls. Sediment budgets for three small agricultural catchments (7.6 to 15.6 km2) in southwestern Australia are dominated by channel and gully erosion, with sheet and rill erosion playing a subordinate role. Erosion was increased by clearing naturally swampy...
Preprint
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Urmia Lake, the largest saline lake in Iran and the Middle East, is located in the northwest of Iran, has shrunk over the past decades. The reduced water level has increased the area of dry land around the lake allowing new environmental hazard such as sand dunes encroachment, particularly on the western side of the lake. There are five terrain typ...
Article
We conducted a one-year-long study of solute load measured three times per month in three neighboring subwatersheds (Alashtar, Khorram Abad, and Biranshahr) located in the Karkheh River basin in the Zagros region of southwestern Iran. Research was focused on the chemical composition of water (solute load), karst denudation rate, spatial and tempora...
Article
Slaymaker et al. (2021) argue that geomorphology is poorly known and has little influence outside its practitioners and therefore should be recast as both a geoscience and a landscape science. The only evidence they evince for the claim about the lack of influence of geomorphology is that it is not evident in the publications from international env...
Article
This paper provides 2a robust estimate of the total natural denudation rate for the area surrounding the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory, Australia. This rate will be used to assess whether the final rehabilitated landform of the Ranger mine will denude at the natural rate after the landform has stabilized. The approach adopted was to...
Article
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The Indus River, originating from Manasarovar Lake in Tibet, runs along the Indus Tsangpo suture zone in Ladakh which separates the Tethyan Himalaya in the south from the Karakoram zone to the north. Due to the barriers created by the Pir-Panjal ranges and the High Himalaya, Ladakh is located in a rain shadow zone of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM)...
Article
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High-intensity monsoon rainfall in the Indian Himalaya generates multiple environmental hazards. This study examines the variability in long-term trends (1901-2013) in the intensity and frequency of high-intensity monsoon rainfall events of varying depths (high, very high and extreme) in the Upper Ganges Catchment in the Indian Himalaya. Using tren...
Article
Volatile rivers that involve floodplain stripping and subsequent floodplain reconstruction by vertical accretion are poorly known worldwide. This paper aims to partially fill this knowledge gap by a review of existing information and the provision of the currently most detailed account of such a river, namely the Ping River of northern Thailand. Re...
Article
As a contribution to the estimation of extreme floods and rainfall, palaeofloods in the East Alligator River in tropical Australia were examined to derive estimates of palaeodischarges and their frequency. Nine extreme floods have occurred over 8400 years in a non-stationary series, the youngest five of which are stationary, and the youngest three...
Article
The paper explore the idea that flood-related mortality from river over-bank flows in the SE Asian region could be reduced by incorporating evidence from the past to foster a better understanding of the realm of plausible flood regimes, and hopefully guide flood hazard management practices in the future.
Article
Full-text available
Climate change adaptation requires communities and policymakers to be flexible in order to cope with high levels of uncertainty in climate projections, particularly of precipitation, flood magnitude and frequency, and changing human exposure and vulnerability to floods—which are even less predictable than the climate. Most of the world’s major rive...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Indus River originating from the Manasarovar Lake runs along the Indus Tsangpo Suture Zone at Ladakh separating the Tethyan Himalaya in the south from the Karakoram Zone in the north. Due to the barrier created by the Pir Panjal Ranges and the Higher Himalaya, Ladakh falls in the rain shadow zone of ISM (Indian Summer Monsoon) with an average a...
Article
Local knowledge and modern science are both valuable inputs to environmental Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) approaches. Local knowledge for DRR is particularly important in countries where government capabilities are limited and where long-standing customary practices of natural resource management still exist and may be harnessed for governance pur...
Article
Extreme rainfall is projected to increase with climate change, but the impact of climate change on floods is uncertain. Infrastructure design based on information available from short gauged time series (typically ~30 – 80 years) may not take account of the full range of possible flood events, or be suitable for identifying non-stationarity. Austra...
Article
Full-text available
Sediment yields from and sediment transfer within catchments of very low relief and gradient, which make up about 50% of Earth’s surface, are poorly documented and their internal sediment dynamics are poorly known. Sediment sources, their proportionate contributions to valley floors and sediment yield, and storage are estimated using fallout radion...
Article
Landslides triggered by monsoon rainfall are a recurring hazard that lead to loss of life and cause enormous property and infrastructure damage in the Indian Himalaya. This study is focused on understanding the role of extreme rainfall and physical factors in causing landslides in the Indian Himalaya, particularly in the Mandakini Catchment where a...
Article
Full-text available
The economic risk from and social vulnerability to riverine floods in India is one of the highest, if not the highest, in the world, with millions of people exposed and vulnerable, and billions of rupees worth of property and infrastructure at risk. Between 1953 and 2011, the total number of human lives lost to floods was 97,551 and the total econo...
Chapter
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The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)—covering more than four million square kilometres from Afghanistan to Myanmar—is one of the world’s most ecologically diverse mountain biomes, with extreme variations in vegetation. It is also one of the most hazard-prone. Because of its steep terrain, high seismicity, fragile geological formation, and intense and high...
Chapter
Large geomagnetic storms originate in the sun and have disrupted satellite operations and shut down electricity grids with impacts on communications, transportation, financial services, navigation, emergency services, hospitals, and water supply. So far these impacts have been localized and did not last for more than a few days. However, when the 1...
Poster
This poster helps to identify the increasing propensity of occurrence of extreme rainfall events in the Garhwal Himalaya in India
Article
At present there is a need for the development of new radioisotopes for soil erosion and sediment tracing especially as fallout (137)Cs levels become depleted. Recent studies have shown that (239)Pu can be a useful new soil erosion and sediment radioisotope tracer. (239)Pu was released in the major atmospheric nuclear weapons tests of 1950's and 19...
Article
The present research describes a first attempt to use quantitative fingerprinting to quantify source contributions of sand dunes. Forty-nine surface samples from the main potential sources within Yazd-Ardekan Plain in the central Iran were collected and compared with eight samples of sand dunes, collected on various sites of Ashkzar erg. Three majo...
Article
Full-text available
Sand transport pathways in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia, are being investigated to assist with coastal management. Coastal erosion, which threatens public and private infrastructure, is one of the major problems along the harbour beaches. A study of sediment transport is essential to identify the challenges encountered by the stake...
Article
Accurate estimation of the magnitude and spatio-temporal variability of rainfall in the Indian Himalaya is difficult because of the sparse and limited network of ground stations located within complex terrain, as well as the difficulty of maintaining the stations over time. Thus, secondary rainfall sources are important to hydrological and hazard s...
Book
This book focuses on governance and management issues in the much publicized ‘Ganga Rejuvenation Project’, led by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Attempts over the past three decades to clean up and rejuvenate one of the world’s greatest rivers have proved futile. The major reasons for the lack of success are absence of long-term plann...
Article
The entire Himalayan region is prone to disasters, with many people being vulnerable to hydroclimatic threats such as extreme rainfall-driven floods, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), landslide lake outburst floods (LLOFs), and landslides triggered by rainfall. Landslides and floods are related, as the former cause the lakes that burst, and flo...
Article
Full-text available
Gully erosion is known as one of the most important environmental earth hazards in the world and especially in Iran where it is controlled by both environmental and human factors. This research has attempted to assess the effects of land use (LU) on gully hydraulic flow condition of head cut initiation under similar soil conditions through an exper...
Article
Full-text available
A gully as an accelerated erosion process is responsible for land degradation under various environmental conditions and has been known as a threshold phenomenon. Although the effects of gullying processes have been well documented, few soil erosion models have taken into account the threshold condition necessary for gully development. This researc...
Article
Full-text available
Reliable long-term flood forecasts are needed because floods, among environmental disasters worldwide, do most damage to lives and property, a problem that is likely to increase as climate changes. The objective of this paper is to critically examine scientific approaches to flood forecasting under deep uncertainty and ambiguity as input to flood p...
Article
Gully erosion in the seasonally wet tropics of Australia is a major source of sediment in rivers. Stabilization of gullies to reduce impacts on aquatic ecosystems and water storages is a focus for management. However the cause of the gully erosion is poorly understood and so a critical context for soil conservation is missing. It is uncertain if th...
Article
Full-text available
This preliminary investigation of the recent spate of deadly flash floods and debris flows in Ladakh (India) over the last decade identifies uncontrolled development in hazardous locations as an important factor contributing to loss of life and property damage in this high mountain desert. The sediments exposed in the channel banks and on the alluv...
Article
Full-text available
Gully erosion is a geomorphic threshold phenomenon controlled by different environmental factors as well as human activities. In this research, we examined the effect of land use on hydraulic flow and the consequent head cut initiation for similar soil conditions using an experimental plot of 15m*0.4m. Results indicated that boundary shear stresses...
Article
Full-text available
Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia, is a semi diurnal macro-tidal embayment that is situated in a cyclone prone area. The tidal variations range up to 8 m with a mean tidal range of 3.7 m. The coastal area consists of mangrove fringes, sandy beaches, tidal flats, rocky shore platforms and coastal cliffs. The main morphological changes ar...
Data
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Article
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The Himalayan and Tibetan region and adjacent plains are highly flood-prone, causing massive damage in both urban and rural areas. While this is well known and moderately well studied, we contend that floods are connected to other water issues in this region and hence should not be analyzed in isolation. We use influence diagrams to present initial...
Article
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The value of historic observational weather data for reconstructing long-term climate patterns and the detailed analysis of extreme weather events has long been recognized (Le Roy Ladurie, 1972; Lamb, 1977). In some regions however, observational data has not been kept regularly over time, or its preservation and archiving has not been considered a...
Article
Prevention and mitigation of environmental disasters are affected by many factors, including perceptions and political risks (Dale et al., 1998; Neumayer et al., 2014). Individual perceptions are mostly influenced by memories. In the case of rare extreme events, they are therefore shaped to a large degree by inexperience. Institutional perceptions...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Further agricultural development in the Daly River catchment is planned. As an input into this planning this report provides the best current understanding of the erosion and sediment transport processes and rates in the catchment, and their drivers. The main sources of sediment and the redistribution of the sediment within the catchment are quanti...
Article
Full-text available
The Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) are a crucial link between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and play a vital role in global ocean circulation and climate. Some high-standing islands in the ATS are globally significant sources of sediment. Here we derive a synthesis of river catchments and their role as sources of water, sediment, carbon, and nutrient...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing and proposed construction of several large hydropower dams along the mainstream Mekong River and various tributaries has created a number of unanswered environmental and societal questions for governments and communities in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam [1]–[3]. Most concern over the controversial dam-building pro...
Article
Erosion of river terraces and alluvial interfluves in large catchments may be a significant source of sediment, but is not readily included in sediment budgets because quantification is not straightforward. Here a pond on a large river terrace on the Gangetic Plain in northern India provides: an estimate of the proportion of sheet and rill erosion...
Article
Full-text available
Salvage harvesting and land clearance to re-establish radiata plantations in the lower catchment followed the January 2003 bushfires in the Cotter River water supply catchment. We report impacts of post-fire catchment disturbance on water quality and preliminary results of a recently completed works program to improve water quality. Suspended sedim...
Article
Full-text available
Soil erosion by water is one of the most important causes of land degradation in arid and semi-arid regions. Quantitative determination of the relative contributions of sediment sources within catchments is an essential task before developing any appropriate management strategy in order to control soil erosion and sediment transport. In this paper...
Article
Full-text available
In soil erosion and sedimentation research in developing countries, there is a need for scientists to direct increased attention to quantifying mechanisms and rates of sediment movement and objectively demonstrating their impacts. Soil erosion and sedimentation in the approx. 3800 km 2 Lake Inle catchment, Myanmar have been of both local and nation...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In 'Kakadu National Park Landscape Symposia Series 2007–2009'. Symposium 4: Climate change, 6–7 August 2008. Edit. S. Winderlich. A 1000 year record of fluvial mineral sediment deposition on the Magela Plain and in a floodplain of the Daly River in the monsoon tropics of Australia reflects changes to rainfall. This record is believed to be represe...
Article
Estimates of catchment salt balances throughout the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) suggest mobilization of salt stores and generally increasing stream salinities. It is widely assumed these salts are rainfall-deposited cyclic salts of marine-aerosol origin, concentrated by evapotranspiration, stored in groundwaters and mobilized by clearing of native v...
Article
Among the large rivers rising on the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent high mountains, the discharge and suspended sediment load of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River are the least well known. Data collected between 1969 and 1996 at Pyay (Prome) are analysed to provide the best available modern estimate of discharge (379 ± 47 × 109 m3/year) and suspended...