If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Scholarly biography

David Nash is Professor of Physical Geography and Deputy Head (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Environment and Technology. He has over 30 years' research experience, with interests in geomorphology and Holocene to recent environmental change in dryland regions of the world.

Professor Nash has authored more than 100 publications, including two edited books, Geochemical Sediments and Landscapes (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007) with Sue McLaren (University of Leicester), and Quaternary Environmental Change in the Tropics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) with Sarah Metcalfe (University of Nottingham).

His research has been funded by The Leverhulme Trust, Natural Environment Research Council, British Academy, British Society for Geomorphology and The Gilchrist Educational Trust (amongst others). He has successfully supervised eight Doctorate (PhD) research degrees and is currently supervising a further three PhD candidates.

Professor Nash holds an Honorary Research Fellowship  at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was presented with the Gordon Warwick Award in 2003 by the British Geomorphological Research Group (now the British Society for Geomorphology) for "excellence in geomorphological research as recorded in a named publication or set of publications".

Approach to teaching

My teaching is underpinned by contemporary case study material drawn from the latest published research as well as from my own projects. I try to encourage students to read extensively and take a critical approach to the published and grey literature. This is exemplified in the module 'Climate Change', where students consider the views of climate change sceptics, a really useful approach for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of current climate change arguments. I am strongly committed to fieldwork, as I believe it helps students contextualise the material they study in lecture sessions. In addition to UK and overseas field courses, I like to make use of the local area for teaching. For example, we visit the cliffs at Peacehaven as part of the module 'Ice Age Earth', where students have the opportunity to examine the impacts of past periglacial processes on chalk landscapes.

Research interests

My research interests fall into two main areas, spanning geomorphology, climatology, history and archaeology - (1) analyses of duricrusts in landscape and archaeological contexts, and (2) reconstructing historical climate.

Duricrusts in landscape and archaeological contexts

My primary area of research concerns the development and environmental significance of silcrete and calcrete duricrusts. The primary goals of this research are to (a) characterise the micromorphology and geochemistry of duricrusts developed in different landscape settings, (b) assess the extent to which duricrusts may be used as indicators of past environments, and (c) apply this fundamental knowledge for use in archaeological contexts. To date, my research has focused mainly upon non-pedogenic silcretes and calcretes in the Kalahari Desert, central Australia, southeast Spain and the UK.

Reconstructing historical climatic change using documentary sources

My second research focus is the reconstruction of past climate variability through analyses of historical documents, particularly missionary and other colonial sources. Working with collaborators in Europe and southern Africa, I have developed novel methodologies to establish chronologies of hydroclimatic variability in the Kalahari Desert, Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Madagascar and western India using these materials.

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in the following areas: reconstructing historical climate change; arid zone geomorphology; environmental change in southern Africa; silcrete provenancing in archaeology.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sheffield

Bachelor, University of Sheffield

External positions

Member, PAGES CRIAS (Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies) Working Group, PAGES (PAst Global ChangES)

2018 → …

Chair, PAGES Africa 2k Working Group, PAGES (PAst Global ChangES)


Honorary Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand

2009 → …


  • DT Africa
  • Climate history
  • Historical climatology
  • Documentary evidence
  • Drought histories
  • Rainfall variability
  • Climate and society
  • GB Physical geography
  • Duricrusts
  • Silcrete
  • Calcrete
  • Aeolianite
  • Geomorphology
  • Kalahari Desert
  • Geochemistry
  • Geochemical provenancing
  • Middle Stone Age

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where David Nash is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 4 Similar Profiles
silcrete Earth & Environmental Sciences
valley Earth & Environmental Sciences
calcrete Earth & Environmental Sciences
duricrust Earth & Environmental Sciences
desert Earth & Environmental Sciences
nineteenth century Earth & Environmental Sciences
dune Earth & Environmental Sciences
rainfall Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2019

Research Output 1992 2019

Geomorphic and hydrological controls on groundwater dolocrete formation in the semi‐arid Hamersley Basin, northwest Australia

Mather, C., Nash, D., Skrzypek, G., Dogramaci, S. & Grierson, P., 20 Jul 2019, In : Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Narratives of nineteenth century drought in southern Africa in different historical source types

Nash, D., Klein, J., Endfield, G. H., Pribyl, K., Adamson, G. & Grab, S., 2 Jan 2019, In : Climatic Change. 152, 3-4, p. 467-485 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Southern Africa
nineteenth century

Climate, conflict and society: Changing responses to weather extremes in nineteenth century Zululand

Klein, J., Nash, D., Pribyl, K., Endfield, G. H. & Hannaford, M., 4 Jan 2018, In : Environment and History. 24, 3, p. 377-401 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
nineteenth century

Climate history of Asia (excluding China)

Nash, D., 1 Oct 2018, The Palgrave Handbook of Climate History. White, S., C. P. & Mauelshagen, F. (eds.). 1 ed. London: Palgrave, p. 203-211

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

Documentary data and the study of past droughts: A global state of the art

Brázdil, R., Kiss, A., Luterbacher, J., Nash, D. & Řezníčková, L., 11 Dec 2018, In : Climate of the Past. 14, p. 1915-1960 46 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
state of the art