What do we do?

The Environmental Modelling Research Group, led by Jon Hill, focuses on using the latest numerical technologies and data to solve environmental problems. As a group we look at natural hazards, such coastal flooding and tsunamis, as well as sedimentological processes and oceanographic processes, including tides. We study these in the geological past, present and future. See our publications for more details.

PhD Projects

We currently don't have any funded positions available, but do get in touch if you're interested in a position in the group.

A simulated tsunami on the NE of Scotland 8,125 years ago. The Storegga tsunami impacted a large area of the UK coast. This model was the first to directly compare high-resolution modelling with high-resolution sedimentology. More details in Hill et al 2023

The crossing of the southern part of the Red Sea or the Sinai Peninsula is a mjor quesiton in human migration out of Africa. We simulated drifting particles and the palaeo tides to try and answer this. For more details see Hill et al, 2022

Software Used

We make use of a wide range of software, some of which is developed by us, with our collaborators, or is freely available. We try to use open-source software wherever we can. Most software developed in the group is also released as open source. You can find it on GitHub.


Fluidity is used in a number of different scientific areas including geophysical fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, ocean modelling and mantle convection. It uses a finite element/control volume method which allows arbitrary movement of the mesh with time dependent problems, allowing mesh resolution to increase or decrease locally according to the current simulated state. It has a wide range of element choices including mixed formulations. There is a lot more information on the Fluidity website. Fluidity is available here.


qmesh is a new meshing software package that can integrate with QGIS to make computational meshes for other software ike Telemac, Fluidity, and Thetis. More information on the qmesh website and can be downloaded here.


Thetis is a new modelling tool which like Fluidity is very flexible. Rather than code in C or Fortran, Thetis is written in a very high level Python abstraction called Firedrake making use of mathematical terms like grad in the code itself. This high level code can then be compiled for a targetted platform.


Carst is a new stratigraphic model that incorporates adjoint solver to invert the model. Very much under development and like Thetis, is based on Python abstraction called Firedrake.

Supertree Toolkit

Supertree Toolkit is a data processing pipeline for Supertree construction. It has been used in a number of publications which carry out macro-evolutionary studies using some of the largest supertrees ever constructed. More information is here.


R is used for a number purposes, including GIS, stats, species distribution modelling and phylogenetic applications.


Python is our "go-to" tool for writting short scripts to visualise or convert data formats.


Our group works with a number of collaborators across the globe, including at Imperial College London, University of Sydney, University of Bristol. We also work with collaborators in the University of York's Biology and Electronic Engineering departments.


Please contact Jon Hill