Dr Tim Peterson

  • Room: Level: 04 Room: 4.21
  • Building: Engineering Block D
  • Campus: Parkville

Research interests

  • Geostatistics (mapping, statistics, water table, aquifer)
  • Hydrogeology
  • Hydrological resilience (hydrology, resilience, catchment modelling)


Dr Tim Peterson has over 14 years experience in hydrological and hydrogeological research and consulting. He completed his Phd in 2009 on pioneering work on catchment resilience and multiple steady states (http://hdl.handle.net/11343/35439) and was subsequently awarded an Australian Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship to continue this research.

More recently, he's been researching the use of statistics to identify catchments with multiple steady states. This research has also allowed considerably greater quantitative value to be derived from groundwater monitoring. Specifically, he's developed nonlinear groundwater time-series approaches for extrapolating and decomposing hydrographs and probabilistic geostatistical methods for mapping groundwater elevation. These tools have considerable practical outcomes and, in collaboration with himself, these tools have been utilised by The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (Vic.), Power and Water Corporation (N.T.), W.A. Water Corporation and the Bureau of Meteorology - with the latter adopting the mapping techniques for the National Water Accounts.

In funding this research, Tim has been well supported by the following Australian Research Council Grants:

  • ARC Linkage Project 0991280. Western; Peterson; Frost; Cheng; McAuley : "A new paradigm for catchment management: detection, forecasting and management of water catchments with multiple steady states"
  • ARC Discovery Project 120100253. Western : "A new method for identifying groundwater contributions to stream baseflow". http://apps.eng.unimelb.edu.au/research-projects/index.php?r=site/webView&id=203
  • ARC Linkage Project 130100958. Western : "Automated groundwater level mapping: a tool for catchment scale estimation of aquifer storage changes, fluxes and hydrogeological properties".
Tim has or is  supervising the following Phd students:
  • Dr. Vahid Shapoori: Statistical decomposition of groundwater hydrographs into climate and pumping impacts. (completed)
  • Ms. Emma White: Numerical evaluation of the effectiveness of groundwater management plans.
  • Mr. Sina Khatami: Quantifying equifinality in conceptual rainfall-runoff modelling.
  • Ms. Silwati Womera: Statistical estimation of flood recharge.
For details of Tim's publications please see:
  • Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tim_Peterson7
  • Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=kkYJLF4AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
To access his open source resource tools please see:
  • HydroSight  -A toolbox for data-driven hydrogeological insights at http://peterson-tim-j.github.io/HydroSight/
  • Catchment Resilience Model at https://github.com/peterson-tim-j/Catchment_Resilience_Model

Recent publications

  1. Benke K, Norng S, Robinson NJ, Benke LR, Peterson T. Error propagation in computer models: analytic approaches, advantages, disadvantages and constraints. STOCHASTIC ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND RISK ASSESSMENT. Springer. 2018, Vol. 32, Issue 10. DOI: 10.1007/s00477-018-1555-8
  2. Peterson T, Western A. Statistical Interpolation of Groundwater Hydrographs. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH. American Geophysical Union. 2018, Vol. 54, Issue 7. DOI: 10.1029/2017WR021838
  3. Peterson T, Western A, Cheng X. The good, the bad and the outliers: automated detection of errors and outliers from groundwater hydrographs. HYDROGEOLOGY JOURNAL. Springer Verlag. 2018, Vol. 26, Issue 2. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-017-1660-7
  4. Stewart I, Aye L, Peterson T. Global optimisation of chiller sequencing and load balancing using Shuffled Complex Evolution. AIRAH and IBPSA’s Australasian Building Simulation 2017 Conference. International Building Performance Simulation Association & AIRAH. 2017.
  5. Arora M, Casas-Mulet R, Costelloe J, Peterson T, McCluskey A, Stewardson M. IMPACTS OF HYDROLOGICAL ALTERATIONS ON WATER QUALITY. WATER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: FROM POLICY AND SCIENCE TO IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT. Academic Press. 2017. Editors: Horne AC, Webb JA, Stewardson MJ, Richter B, Acreman M. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-803907-6.00006-1
  6. Su C, Peterson T, Costelloe J, Western A. A synthetic study to evaluate the utility of hydrological signatures for calibrating a base flow separation filter. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH. American Geophysical Union. 2016, Vol. 52, Issue 8. DOI: 10.1002/2015WR018177
  7. White E, Peterson T, Costelloe J, Western A, Carrara E. Can we manage groundwater? A method to determine the quantitative testability of groundwater management plans. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH. American Geophysical Union. 2016, Vol. 52, Issue 6. DOI: 10.1002/2015WR018474
  8. Su C, Costelloe J, Peterson T, Western A. On the structural limitations of recursive digital filters for base flow estimation. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH. American Geophysical Union. 2016, Vol. 52, Issue 6. DOI: 10.1002/2015WR018067
  9. Fowler K, Peel M, Western A, Zhang L, Peterson T. Simulating runoff under changing climatic conditions: Revisiting an apparent deficiency of conceptual rainfall-runoff models. WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH. American Geophysical Union. 2016, Vol. 52, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1002/2015WR018068
  10. Womera S, Costelloe J, Peterson T, Western A. A synthetic study to characterize alluvial groundwater responses to overbank flood recharge. 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM) held jointly with the 23rd National Conference of the Australian-Society-for-Operations-Research / DSTO led Defence Operations Research Symposium (DORS. MODSIM2011. 2015. Editors: Weber T, McPhee MJ, Anderssen RS.
  11. Shapoori V, Peterson T, Western A, Costelloe J. Decomposing groundwater head variations into meteorological and pumping components: a synthetic study. HYDROGEOLOGY JOURNAL. Springer Verlag. 2015, Vol. 23, Issue 7. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-015-1269-7
  12. Shapoori V, Peterson T, Western A, Costelloe J. Estimating aquifer properties using groundwater hydrograph modelling. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES. John Wiley & Sons. 2015, Vol. 29, Issue 26. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10583
  13. Costelloe J, Peterson T, Halbert K, Western A, McDonnell JJ. Groundwater surface mapping informs sources of catchment baseflow. HYDROLOGY AND EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCES. Copernicus GmBH. 2015, Vol. 19, Issue 4. DOI: 10.5194/hess-19-1599-2015
  14. Shapoori V, Peterson T, Western A, Costelloe J. Top-down groundwater hydrograph time-series modeling for climate-pumping decomposition. HYDROGEOLOGY JOURNAL. Springer Verlag. 2015, Vol. 23, Issue 4. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-014-1223-0
  15. Costelloe J, Halbert K, Peterson T, Western A, McDonnell J. Can Seasonal groundwater level rises explain non-linear increases in Baseflow?. Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium 2014, HWRS 2014 - Conference Proceedings. 2014.

View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile