Matthew F. McCabe


Professor of Remote Sensing and Water Security | Director, Climate and Livability Initiative


Professor McCabe studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at the  University of Newcastle in Australia, where he received his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. ​He then spent 5 years in the United States, working with  Prof Eric Wood at Princeton University and then at  Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Matthew returned to Australia in 2008 to take up a faculty position at the  University of New South Wales. In late 2012, he joined the Faculty at KAUST. 

Research Interests

Prof. McCabe’s research focuses on issues related to water and food security, climate change impacts, precision agriculture, water resources monitoring and modeling, and the novel use of technologies for enhanced Earth system observation. The research undertaken in his group combines models and observations to answer questions on the distribution, variability and exchanges of water at local, regional and global scales, as well as the interactions with vegetation. CubeSats, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and in-situ monitoring techniques are all employed to monitor terrestrial processes, while a range of modeling and statistical approaches are used to understand and predict system behavior. Improved description and understanding of the water-food nexus is a key objective of his research.

Selected Publications

  • McCabe MF*, Rodell M, Alsdorf DE, Miralles DG, Uijlenhoet R, Wagner W, Lucieer A, Houborg R, Verhoest NEC, Franz TE, Shi J, Gao H and Wood EF (2017) “The future of Earth observation in hydrology”, Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences 21, 3879-3914, doi:10.5194/hess-21-3879-2017
  • Houborg R and McCabe MF (2016) “Adapting a regularised canopy reflectance model (REGFLEC) for the retrieval challenges of dryland agricultural systems”, Remote Sensing of Environment, 186: 105-120, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.08.017
  • McCabe MF*, Ershadi A, Jimenez C, Miralles DG, Michel D and Wood EF, (2016) “The GEWEX LandFlux project: Evaluation of model evaporation using tower-based and globally gridded forcing data” Geoscientific Model Development, doi:10.5194/gmd-9-283-2016
  • Houborg R and McCabe MF (2016) “High-resolution NDVI from Planet’s constellation of earth observing nano-satellites: a new data source for precision agriculture”, Remote Sensing, 8(9), 768; doi:10.3390/rs8090768
  • El Kenaway AM and McCabe MF (2016) "A multi-decadal assessment of the performance of gauge- and model-based rainfall products over Saudi Arabia: Climatology, anomalies and trends." International Journal of Climatology, 36: 656–674. doi:10.1002/joc.4374


  • 2003: Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 1998: B.E. (Hons), Environmental Engineering, University of Newcastle, Australia

Professional Profile

  • 2018: Full Professor, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia​
  • 2013: Associate Professor, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2012: Associate Professor, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 2008-2012: Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 2006-2008: Post-doctoral Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA
  • 2003-2006: Post-doctoral Scientist, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA

Scientific and Professional Membership

Section Chief Editor, Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence (

Editor, MDPI Hydrology​

Chair of the Global Energy and Water Exchanges LandFlux Project 

Member, American Geophysical Union (AGU) (


  • 2019: Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
  • 2016: Inaugural Planet Ambassador (
  • 2009: Australian Institute of Policy and Sciences NSW/ACT Tall Poppy Award
  • 2009: Chinese Academy of Sciences Foreign Visiting Expert Scholarship
  • 2009: Guest Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 1998: Tony Herzog Prize (Best Honours Thesis), University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 1998: Institute of Engineers Civil & Structural Branch Prize (Top Final Year Student), Newcastle University

KAUST Affiliations

KAUST Academic Council (BESE Representative)

Dean's Advisory Group (BESE)

Faculty and Staff Conflict of Interest Review Committee (FSCOIRC)