Shuttleworth, W J (Jim)

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William James (Jim) Shuttleworth 1945 - 20.12.2020 (Tucson, AZ)

Biography and Scientific Achievements[edit]

After finishing a PhD in high energy nuclear physics at the University of Manchester in 1971 Jim joined the Institute of Hydrology in Wallingford (now the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) at a time when the Institute was expanding rapidly in process hydrological research under the leadership of Jim McCulloch. He first wrote a series of papers in Boundary-Layer Meteorology that remain fundamental in our understanding of evaporation. One of his further insights was that equations for potential evaporation such as the Priestley Taylor equation could not be used directly for estimating forest evaporation, as the difference between transpiration and evaporation from a wet canopy (interception) called for a separately description. An important spin-off from this early work was the development of the sparse crop evaporation model that included the effects of an interacting bare soil with the environment surrounding the leaves of the plants.

He led the group at IH to develop one the first integrated eddy correlation devices, exploiting concurrent developments in microelectronics (the name eddy covariance came later) that was ahead of its time, and now superseded by the off-the-shelf technology that many of us use in FLUXNET. The design of the Hydra, as the instrument was called, was unique in that it measured the temperature, humidity and windspeed fluctuations all in the same path. It was also battery-powered and could work in remote locations. In 1983 it was used in the Ducke Reserve near Manaus providing the first direct measurements ever of evaporation from Amazonian rainforest. In doing these measurements Jim not only initiated a whole area of Amazonian environmental research but also collaborated with and, importantly, trained a group of young Brazilian scientists that would later form the core of the international ABRACOS and LBA experiments and would later leave their mark on Amazonian science.

Jim also realized that the Global Climate Models that were starting to be used to predict the effects of Amazonian deforestation on climate were poor in their representation of the interaction between the land surface and the atmosphere. He wrote seminal papers on the emergence of Macrohydrology and started working together with scientists from the Meteorological Office in the UK (part of which would later form the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research) to improve these models. At that time he spent a year with Pier Sellers at NASA to explore the use of eddy covariance data in calibrating land surface models. It was here that he started liking the scientific environment in the US.

Probably as a result, in the early nineties Jim moved to the University of Arizona where he started to study the impact of heterogeneity on evaporation and wrote the influential chapter on evaporation in the Handbook of Hydrology, which aimed to bridge the gap between engineering hydrology solutions to estimate evaporation and more process-based ones. He actively pushed for the creation of the degree program in hydrometeorology, and then for the merger of the Hydrologic and Atmospheric Science programs. His research interest in heterogeneity and averaged measurements led him to propose a network of cosmic ray neutron absorption instruments to estimate soil moisture – neatly bringing him back to nuclear physics.

Jim leaves a vast legacy of important experimental insights and theoretical developments in the field of land surface atmosphere interaction. He contributed to philosophical perspectives in hydrology, as well as hydrologic understanding and prediction based on careful integration of observations and theory.

(adapted from text written by Han Dolman)


Jim was awarded the AGU Robert E Horton Medal in 2014, the AMS Robert E Horton Lecturer Award in 2014, the AGU Langbein Lecture Award in 2013, the CSU Hydrology Days Award in 2011, recognised as a University of Arizona Regents Professor in 2009, received the UNESCO Great Man-Made River International Water Prize for Water Resources in Arid Zones in 2007, the IAHS/UNESCO/WMO International Hydrology Prize in 2008, and the AGU Hydrology Secti9on Award in 2001


The following advice given by Jim to young scientists in his acceptance of the International Hydrology Prize. He said:

a) First, in one’s progress through life there are basically two ways to proceed: either to take safe, small steps or make risky leaps forward, recognizing that in the latter case one is bound to fail about half of the time. In my experience, the latter way ultimately leads to more rapid progress and is certainly more exciting! Do not be afraid of risks.

b) Second, as a young scientist, respect the established peers in your field, and listen to what they say, but don't necessarily believe them! Always question.

c) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember that it is very difficult to keep your own end of the boat afloat while trying to sink the person at the other end. Water is the life-blood of the earth system, and water is a commodity we necessarily all must share. In this respect, we are all in the same boat.

Reference Material[edit]

Selected Publications[edit]


Shuttleworth, W.J., 2012. Terrestrial Hydrometeorology. John Wiley & Sons.


Shuttleworth, W.J. and Calder, I.R., 1979. Has the Priestley-Taylor equation any relevance to forest evaporation?. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 18(5), pp.639-646.

Wright, I.R., Gash, J.H.C., Da Rocha, H.R., Shuttleworth, W.J., Nobre, C.A., Maitelli, G.T., Zamparoni, C.A.G.P. and Carvalho, P.R.A., 1992. Dry season micrometeorology of central Amazonian ranchland. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 118(508), pp.1083-1099.

Shuttleworth, W.J., Gash, J.H., Lloyd, C.R., Moore, C.J., Roberts, J., Filho, A.D.O.M., Fisch, G., De Paula Silva Filho, V., Ribeiro, M.D.N.G., Molion, L.C. and De Abreu Sá, L.D., 1984. Eddy correlation measurements of energy partition for Amazonian forest. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 110(466), pp.1143-1162.

Shuttleworth, W.J. and Wallace, J.S., 1985. Evaporation from sparse crops‐an energy combination theory. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 111(469), pp.839-855.

Lloyd, C.R., Gash, J.H. and Shuttleworth, W.J., 1988. The measurement and modelling of rainfall interception by Amazonian rain forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 43(3-4), pp.277-294.

Shuttleworth, W.J., 1988. Evaporation from Amazonian rainforest. Proceedings of the Royal society of London. Series B. Biological sciences, 233(1272), pp.321-346.

Shuttleworth, W.J., 1988. Macrohydrology—The new challenge for process hydrology. Journal of Hydrology, 100(1-3), pp.31-56.

Sellers, P.J., Shuttleworth, W.J., Dorman, J.L., Dalcher, A. and Roberts, J.M., 1989. Calibrating the simple biosphere model for Amazonian tropical forest using field and remote sensing data. Part I: Average calibration with field data. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 28(8), pp.727-759.

Shuttleworth, W.J., 1989. Micrometeorology of temperate and tropical forest. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, 324(1223), pp.299-334.

Shuttleworth, W.J., Gurney, R.J., Hsu, A.Y. and Ormsby, J.P., 1989. FIFE: the variation in energy partition at surface flux sites. IAHS Publ, 186(6), p.523.

Granier, A., Bobay, V., Gash, J.H.C., Gelpe, J., Saugier, B. and Shuttleworth, W.J., 1990. Vapour flux density and transpiration rate comparisons in a stand of Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) in Les Landes forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 51(3-4), pp.309-319.

Shuttleworth, W.J. and Gurney, R.J., 1990. The theoretical relationship between foliage temperature and canopy resistance in sparse crops. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 116(492), pp.497-519.

Bastable, H.G., Shuttleworth, W.J., Dallarosa, R.L.G., Fisch, G. and Nobre, C.A., 1993. Observations of climate, albedo, and surface radiation over cleared and undisturbed Amazonian forest. International Journal of Climatology, 13(7), pp.783-796.

Houser, P.R., Shuttleworth, W.J., Famiglietti, J.S., Gupta, H.V., Syed, K.H. and Goodrich, D.C., 1998. Integration of soil moisture remote sensing and hydrologic modeling using data assimilation. Water Resources Research, 34(12), pp.3405-3420.

Hutjes, R.W.A., Kabat, P., Running, S.W., Shuttleworth, W.J., Field, C., Bass, B., da Silva Dias, M.F., Avissar, R., Becker, A., Claussen, M. and Dolman, A.J., 1998. Biospheric aspects of the hydrological cycle. Journal of Hydrology, 212, pp.1-21.

Entekhabi, D., Asrar, G.R., Betts, A.K., Beven, K.J., Bras, R.L., Duffy, C.J., Dunne, T., Koster, R.D., Lettenmaier, D.P., McLaughlin, D.B. and Shuttleworth, W.J., 1999. An agenda for land surface hydrology research and a call for the second international hydrological decade. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 80(10), pp.2043-2058.

Bastidas, L.A., Gupta, H.V., Sorooshian, S., Shuttleworth, W.J. and Yang, Z.L., 1999. Sensitivity analysis of a land surface scheme using multicriteria methods. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 104(D16), pp.19481-19490.

Gupta, H.V., Bastidas, L.A., Sorooshian, S., Shuttleworth, W.J. and Yang, Z.L., 1999. Parameter estimation of a land surface scheme using multicriteria methods. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 104(D16), pp.19491-19503.

Scott, R.L., Shuttleworth, W.J., Goodrich, D.C. and Maddock III, T., 2000. The water use of two dominant vegetation communities in a semiarid riparian ecosystem. Agricultural and forest meteorology, 105(1-3), pp.241-256.

Scott, R.L., Shuttleworth, W.J., Keefer, T.O. and Warrick, A.W., 2000. Modeling multiyear observations of soil moisture recharge in the semiarid American Southwest. Water Resources Research, 36(8), pp.2233-2247.

Gochis, D.J., Shuttleworth, W.J. and Yang, Z.L., 2002. Sensitivity of the modeled North American monsoon regional climate to convective parameterization. Monthly Weather Review, 130(5), pp.1282-1298.

Scott, R.L., Edwards, E.A., Shuttleworth, W.J., Huxman, T.E., Watts, C. and Goodrich, D.C., 2004. Interannual and seasonal variation in fluxes of water and carbon dioxide from a riparian woodland ecosystem. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 122(1-2), pp.65-84.

Farahani, H.J., Howell, T.A., Shuttleworth, W.J. and Bausch, W.C., 2007. Evapotranspiration: progress in measurement and modeling in agriculture. Transactions of the ASABE, 50(5), pp.1627-1638.

Weedon, G.P., Gomes, S., Viterbo, P., Shuttleworth, W.J., Blyth, E., Österle, H., Adam, J.C., Bellouin, N., Boucher, O. and Best, M., 2011. Creation of the WATCH forcing data and its use to assess global and regional reference crop evaporation over land during the twentieth century. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 12(5), pp.823-848.

Zreda, M., Shuttleworth, W.J., Zeng, X., Zweck, C., Desilets, D., Franz, T. and Rosolem, R., 2013. COSMOS: The cosmic-ray soil moisture observing system. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16(11), pp.4079-4099.

Shuttleworth, W. J. (2014). Comment on "Technical Note: On the Matt-Shuttleworth approach to estimate crop water requirements" by Lhomme et al. (2014). HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES.

Rosolem, R., Shuttleworth, W. J., Zreda, M., Franz, T. E., Zeng, X., & Kurc, S. A. (2014). The Effect of Atmospheric Water Vapor on Neutron Count in the Cosmic-Ray Soil Moisture Observing System. JOURNAL OF HYDROMETEOROLOGY, 14(5), 1659-1671.

Rosolem, R., Hoar, T., Arellano, A., Anderson, J. L., Shuttleworth, W. J., Zeng, X., & Franz, T. E. (2013). Translating aboveground cosmic-ray neutron intensity to high-frequency soil moisture profiles at sub-kilometer scale. HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES, 18(11), 4363-4379.


Award of International Hydrology Prize to Jim Shuttleworth

Video made by University of Arizona about Jim Shuttlewroth when he was made Regents Professor at UA