Sebastien Norbert


Initially trained as an anthropologist and then as a human geographer, I am a social scientist looking at the social, cultural and political dimensions of environmental hazards and risk.

Before joining the SRI in November 2014, I was a Research Fellow in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), where I acted as a co-investigator on a project focusing on the political ecology of carbon capture in the French Pyrénées-Atlantiques region. Drawing on science and technology studies, my role consisted of exploring how geoengineering science and technologies interact in defining resilience to climate change whilst shaping the politics of uncertainties of geophysical risk.

Previous to this position, I worked 5 years in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, both as a post-doctoral research associate and Research Fellow (as co-investigator) where my work mainly looked at the contested understandings of uncertainty, science and responsibility involved in early warning systems (EWs) for flooding in Europe. The innovative nature of this work has been to highlight the social and political obstacles to the use and communication of ensemble predictions systems and what their intake means to environmental politics more generally.

PhD University of Edinburgh, UK, Geography, 2008


MSc University of Sheffield, UK, in Environmental Archaeology, 2004


BSc Université de Montréal, Canada, Anthropology, 2003


I am also an Associate Researcher at the Laboratoire Societe Environnement et Territoire a mixt research unit between the CNRS and the UPPA, in Pau, France.

My research interests can be broadly defined as the social and political dimensions of environmental hazards and risk (e.g. Flooding, heatwaves, droughts, volcanic pollution) and involves 4 great lines of inquiry:

-The institutional politics involved in managing both climate-related and geophysical hazards;

-Temporalites and the processes of time formation (e.g. rhythms, durations) emerging from hazards, risk and their management:

-Social theory of the environment, especially the espistemological dimensions of adaptation, resilience and risk more generally;

-Environmental humanities and critical human geography

2016-2017 170 000£ Ilyinskaya, E., Nobert, S., Francis, H., Unseen but not unfelt: resilience to persistent volcanic emissions (UNRESP). Case study from Masaya volcano, Nicaragua. RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund NERC-ESRC-AHRC (Leading the ESRC section of the grant)

2014-2015 107 000£ Nobert, S., Siu, Y-L, Dessai, S. Scoping the societal dimensions of climate services in China, Climate-Science for Service Partnership China-Met Office.

2014-2016 111 790 € Rebotier, J., Clarimont, S., Bousset, C., Nobert, S. Accompagner Le Changement Vers Des Territoires Résilients (ACTER). Enjeux territoriaux liés aux risques émergents et à leur gestion dans le Sud-Ouest, Ministère de l'Ecologie, du Développement Durable et de l'Energie (MEDDE), France, Concours: La résilience des territoires face aux risques, with Centre National de la Rescherche Scientifique (CNRS), Laboratoire Societe Environnement et Territoire, UMR-5603, Pau, France. Although I am not currently based in France, I am collaborating with colleagues from the CNRS SET-UMR 5603, Pau, France, until the end of the in 2016.

2011-2015 400 000 € Leckebusch, G., Ulbrich, U., Gerhold, L., Nobert, S. Optimising the weather forecast information content, its design/preparation and transfer to key players in politics, economy and society. Hans Ertel Centre research scheme, Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), with Department of Meteorology, Freie Universitat Berlin.

Completed projects:

2013-2000£ Nobert, S. ‘Fracking’ the unknown: Public policies and uncertainties in shale gas exploitation in Québec, Research Excellence Stimulus Fund, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, King’s College London;

Improving the communication and use of ensemble flood predictions. 2011-2012. ESRC follow on grant with King's College London.

Nobert, S. and Demeritt, D. (in review), Distances in/between: ensemble prediction, emergency response and the challenges of forecast communication, Transactions of the Institute of British Geopgraphers,


Nobert S, Rebotier J, Vallette C, Bouisset C, and Clarimont S, (2016) 'Resilience for the Anthropocene? Shedding light on the forgotten temporalities shaping post-crisis management in the French Sud Ouest' Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses


Nobert, S., Krieger, K. and Pappenberger, F. (2015), Understanding the Roles of Modernity, Science and Risk in Shaping Flood Management, WIREs Water, doi: 10.1002/wat2.1075


Demeritt, D. and Nobert, S. (in press) Models of risk communication and the myth of best practice in flood risk management. Environmental Hazards, Vol. 13 (4), pp. 313-328.


Nobert, S. (2013) Nationalism, (dis)simulation, and the politics of science in Québec’s forest crisis, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Vol. 103 (6), pp 1332-1347.


Demeritt, D., Nobert, S., Cloke, H. and Pappenberger, F. (2013) The European Flood Alert System (EFAS) and the communication, perception and use of ensemble predictions for operational flood risk management, Hydrological Process, Vol. 27, pp. 147-157.


de Roo, A., Thielen, J., Salamon, P., Bogner, K., Nobert, S., Cloke, H., Demeritt, D., Younis, J., Kalas, M., Bodis, K., Muraro, D. and Pappenberger, F. (2011). Quality Control, Validation and User Feedback of the European Flood Alert System (EFAS), International Journal of Digital Earth, Vol.4, pp. 77-90.


Demeritt, D., Nobert, S., Cloke, H. and Pappenberger, F. 2010. Challenges in communicating and using ensembles in operational flood forecasting, Meteorological Applications, Vol. 17, pp. 209-222.


Nobert, S., Demeritt, D. and Cloke, H. 2010. The use of Ensemble Prediction Systems in operational flood forecasting: Lessons from Sweden, Journal of Flood Risk Management, Vol. 3, pp. 72-79.


Nobert, S. (2008) The Elephant in the Forest and the Irony of the Environmental Debate in Québec, Scottish Geographical Journal, Vol. 124, pp. 204-210.


Book Chapters and Reviews

Nobert, S. (2016) Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003, Chicago Press University, by Richard C. Keller, in Modern & Contemporay France,

Demeritt, D., Stephens, E.M., Créton-Cazanave, L., Lutoff, C., Ruin, I, and Nobert, S. (forthcoming) Communicating and using flood forecasts in flood incident management: lessons from social science. In Forthcoming in Handbook of Hydrometeorological Ensemble Forecasting, (eds.) Q. Duan, F. Pappenberger, J. Thielen, A. Wood, H. Cloke and J. C. Schaake, Dordrecht: Springer.

Demeritt, D., & Nobert, S. (2011) EFAS and early flood warning in the EU. In Forecasting, Warning, and Transnational Risks: Is Prevention Possible?,(eds.) C.O. Meyer & C. De Franco, London: Palgrave.

Nobert, S. (2009) Review of Environmental Citizenship: Integrating Justice, Responsibility and Civic Engagement, by Mark. J. Smith and Piya Pangsapa, in The Geographical Journal, Vol. 175, pp. 319


Reports, Newsletters and Impacts

Demeritt, D., Nobert, S. Cloke, H., Pappenberger, F. (2013) Improving the use of the European Flood Alert System, Science for Environmental Policy, European Commission, Vol 40, pp.1.

Demeritt, D. and Nobert, S. (2013) Communication and transfer to decision makers, stakeholders and end users with standard methods: a baseline description of risk communication practice in the KULTURisk case studies, FP7-ENV-2010 | Project 265280, WP5, D.5.2, pp. 1-29.

Ruin, I., Lutoff, C., Creton-Cazanave, L., Anquetin, S., Borga, M., Chardonnel, S., Creutin, J-D., Gourley, J.J., Gruntfest E., Nobert, S. and Thielen, J. (2012) A space-time framework for integrated studies, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93, ES89–ES91.

Demeritt, D., Nobert, S. (2011) Models of ‘good’ risk communication for flooding and other water-related hazards: a critical review, FP7-ENV-2010 | Project 265280, WP5, pp. 1-40.

Demeritt D., Nobert S., and Cloke H. L. (2011) Research report (RES-062-23-0913): Europeanizing flood forecasting and the geographies of risk and science in the EU. Annex to final project report to the Economic and Social Research Council. Copy available from author upon request.

Cloke, H., Thielen, J., Pappenberger, F., Nobert, S. Bálint, G., Cristina Edlund, Ar i Koistinen, Céline de Saint-Aubin, Erik Sprokkereef, Christian Viel, Peter Salamon, Roberto Buizza (2009) Progress in the implementation of Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Systems (HEPS) in Europe for operational flood forecasting, ECMWF Newsletter, No. 121, pp. 20-24.

Gurnell, J., Gurnell, A.M., Demeritt, D., Lurz, P.W.W., Shirley, M.D.F., Rushon, S.P., Faulkes C.G., Nobert, S. and Hare, E.J. (2008). The Feasibility and acceptability of Reintroducing the European Beaver to England, Report written for Natural England and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, pp. 138.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>