John Abbot has degrees in chemistry from Imperial College London, the university of British Columbia and McGill University. He subsequently undertook research in kinetic phenomena involving industrial processes at Queens University, Canada and the University of Tasmania. He also holds degrees in law, finance and business administration. He carried out projects in environmental science as a Professorial Research fellow Central Queensland University from 2009 to 2015. Major flooding events in Queensland in 2011, causing loss of life, extensive property damage and disruption of industry led to developing an interest in the application of neural networks to provide improved medium-term rainfall forecasts for Australia. A series of publications demonstrate that skill of forecasts is significantly superior to official forecasts produced using general circulation models.