Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2021: Our breathing Earth: new views of carbon from satellites 

After a 12 month hiatus, a few of us from Edinburgh, University College London (Mat Disney) and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (Shubha Sathyendranath) will finally be presenting an exhibit online. Together with the NCEO, UK Space Agency and ESA we are putting together an exhibit to showcase the science of satellite remote sensing of carbon in the ocean, on the land, and in the atmosphere.

EO-Pi project (April 2019)

We have recently completed a prototype tool to disseminate the science behind Earth Observation. The EO-Pi project is a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and funded by the UK Space Agency. Educational material is delivered using Raspberry Pis and online material.

The tool is flexible and expandable, allowing us to add material as and when it is requested.

Books for students and the layperson

The Atmosphere: A Very Short Introduction,

Oxford University Press, March 2017, ISBN 9780198722038


Essential Maths for Geoscientists,

Wiley, May 2014, ISBN 9780470971949


Data files shown in tables


Despite the massive efforts that go into writing a book, errors inevitably creep in - some more egregious than others. Thanks to those who have emailed me about these errors (Rick Marshall, Tim Wallington). Much appreciated. When the books get reprinted these errors will be corrected. 


[updated 28th May 2017]:

page 19: The rate at which solar flux falls onto a surface per unit area and per unit time, irradiance, reduces as an inverse square law so that for every 2 km from the Sun, solar irradiance drops off by a quarter so that for every doubling of distance from the Sun, solar irradiance drops off by a quarter

page 51: Earth's rotation is slowing down due to the pull of the Moon, but only by about 1.7 millionth of a second milliseconds every century.

page 58: [clarification] "Water has a higher heat capacity than land due to the energy required to break the hydrogen bonds in between water molecules." I should have gone into more detail about the charge structure of a water molecule. Two water molecules, for example, are held together by a weak hydrogen bond. These bonds are continually broken and re-formed, allowing the molecules to slide easily over each other. It was these inter-molecule bonds I was describing in the text.

Page 75: [clarification] Using computer simulations of atmospheric chemistry we expect that the largest of the stratospheric ozone holes will become a thing of the past by 2040. Full recovery of stratospheric ozone is expected by the end of the century. 

Page 86: The units for mass concentration should be micrograms per metre cubed not per centimetre cubed.

Essential Maths

[updated 3rd May 2017]:

Page 11, Table 2.1: the numbers for a hundredth and thousandth should be 0.01 and 0.001, respectively. 




Associated presentations:

OUP Presentation at the Edinburgh Science Festival 4/4/17, Atmospheric pollution: local sources with global reach. [file size > 1Gb]

Catan: global warming (unofficial) extension 

Developed by Sam Illingworth and Paul Wake (Manchester Metropolitan University). Part-funded by GAUGE.


CO2_live [A temporary art/science installation from 2016]

The NERC GAUGE funded a public outreach activity that uses a small CO2 sensor to collect measurements in Edinburgh city centre and projects the number on the top floor of Summerhall's TechCube. The live data (averaged over an hour) are tweeted.

Remote sensing of the Earth: an educational resource for schools (ii)

Funding source: Natural Environment Research Council (January--September 2013)

Project personnel:

Remote sensing of the Earth: an educational resource for schools (i)

Funding source: UK Space Agency (January--September 2012)

Project personnel: