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Soil & Environment

Soil & Environment theme examines the impact of climate change, pollution and land use on natural, semi-natural and urban ecosystems. Specifically, we work on advancing understanding of soil processes regulating land-atmosphere interactions, carbon sequestration, contaminated land, diffuse pollution of surface waters and flood risk.




Current PhD Projects
  • Are the uplands of southwest England beyond the critical climatic threshold for carbon sequestration? Funded by NERC (Michael Bell)
  • Understanding Tropical Cyclone intensity in GCM simulations (Jill Chamberlain)
  • The microbiology of lean and obese soil (Frances Cheesman)
  • Decadal to centennial variability in tropical cyclone activity (Alison Cobb)
  • The efficacy of using bio-chars as additives in the composting process (James Cotterill)
  • The fate of carbon from soil amendments in horticultural systems (Sarah Duddigan)
  • Global flood forecasting and the implications of climate change on flood characteristics and flood forecasting. With ECMWF. Funded by NERC SCENARIO. (Rebecca Emerton)
  • Using remote sensing data to help with policy and decision-making processes in the insurance industry (Vanessa Escobar)
  • House dust mite populations and trace evidence analysis (Kirsten Farncombe)
  • Dissolved Organic Matter in riparian wetlands: transformations, aquatic impacts and effects on the toxicity of pollutants (Eleni Geropanagioti)
  • Exploring the concept of a constellation of small satellites to make spectrally resolved Earth radiation budget measurements (Jake Gristey)
  • Remediation and oil recovery from oil sludges using surfactants and biosurfactants (Diego Ramirez Guerrero)
  • Genetics of Phytoseiidae mites (Jessica Guy)
  • Mites associated human clothing as trace evidence during decomposition (Medjedline Hani)
  • Modelling African climate variability (Edmund Har)
  • Representing uncertainty in land surface hydrology for seasonal forecasting. Project IMPETUS: Improving Predictions of Drought for User Decision-Making. NERC Droughts Programme (Azin Howells )
  • Remediation of metal-contaminated soils and water with engineered nanoparticles (David Hughes)
  • Assessing and predicting the ecological response to sediment and nutrient over-enrichment in freshwaters (Leah Jackson-Blake)
  • In vitro bioaccessibility of emerging Flame Retardants in indoor dust (Katerina Kademoglou)
  • Mites in soil underneath decomposing carcasses and corpses (Naila Che Kamaruzaman)
  • Developing a sustainable method for the determination of bioaccessibility of organic contaminants from polluted sites (Stephen Lowe)
  • Biosphere-atmsophere interactions (Andrea Manrique-Sunen)
  • Producing improved extinction coefficient for the semi-empirical Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) snow emission model using passive microwaves and stratigraphic observations of snow slabs (William Maslanka)
  • Soil Characterization using Visible Near Infrared Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy (VNIR DRS) (Amudat Olatunde )
  • Developing a risk-based and participatory approach to reducing the uncertainty in modelling climate impact on flood inundation. King's College London (ESRC/NERC funded) (Brandon Parkes)
  • How important is soil microbial diversity for pesticide biodegradation function and robust biodegradation kinetics? (Jessica Princivalle)
  • Application of microbial fingerprinting techniques to attribute biological controls on recent changes in carbon cycling in organic soils. Funded by University of Reading Faculty of Science Studentship and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. (Catharine Pschenyckyj)
  • Synergistic use of hyperspectral remote sensing data and SVAT models to advance hydro-ecological research (Suvarna Punalekar)
  • Mites as trace evidence in graves (Jasdeep Rai)
  • Do competitive plant x plant interactions impact rhizosphere microbial community structure and function? (Harriet Robson)
  • Fate and transport of fertiliser nitrogen under spring barley cultivation on contrasting soils (Leanne Roche)
  • The impact of climate change on surface water quality and drinking water treatment. Funded by Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London (Jonny Ritson)
  • Uncertainty in future flood risk for insurance markets. NERC-CASE. University of Bristol. (Chris Sampson)
  • Multi-scale drivers of DOC trends in surface waters. Jointly funded by University of Reading Faculty of Science Studentship, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Forest Research (Katarzyna Sawicka)
  • Assessment of human exposure to a range of pollutants through computer modelling (Koki Takaki)
  • Difference in soil knowledge among farmers and effects on soil management, case study in Kitui, Kenya (Yoshie Yageta)

Current Research Projects

Hydrological cycle understanding via process-based global detection, attribution and prediction: PAGODA address the uncertainties and inconsistencies in modelling the water cycle. (Dr Emily Black)

Building understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa (BRAVE): BRAVE will assess how variability and change in the climate will affect groundwater levels in Ghana. (Dr Emily Black)

Attributing Climate Extremes (ACE): ACE seeks to determine how anthropogenic climate change will affect the occurrence of extreme events in Africa. (Dr Emily Black)

Satellite-based data for Weather based INdex insurance (SatWIN): SatWIN will develop methods of using satellite based rainfall data to scale out index insurance. (Dr Emily Black)

Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS-OP): MARS-OP is an operational programme for monitoring agricultural resources. TAMSAT is contracted to provide rainfall data for MARS-OP Africa bulletins. (Dr Emily Black)

Mapping Ecosystem Services in the Loddon Catchment, NERC Impact Accelerator (Dr Joanna Clark)

An open data access portal for the Climate Change Initiative (CCI): the CCI programme is developing high-quality, long-term climate data records. The portal will provide easy access to these datasets for all users. (Dr Debbie Clifford)

Maximising exploitation of linked open data in enterprise and science: MELODIES will develop innovative and sustainable services combining Earth Observation with other open data sources to produce new information for the benefit of scientists, industry, government decision-makers, public service providers and citizens. (Dr Debbie Clifford)

A Climate Impacts Platform for Copernicus: CLIPC is developing a "one stop shop" for climate impacts information for Europe. (Dr Debbie Clifford)

Project SINATRA: Susceptibility of catchments to Intense RAinfall and flooding. NERC Flooding From Intense Rainfall Programme. Hannah is Project Director of this large consortium grant. 2013-2017. See: Flooding From Intense Rainfall (Professor Hannah Cloke)

IMPETUS. Improving Predictions of Drought for User Decision-Making. NERC UK Droughts and Water Scarcity Programme. 2014-2017. (Professor Hannah Cloke)

DEFRA Catchment Modelling call - Developing more effective models for managing water from the local to the national scale from a risk and pollution perspective. Consortium led by CEH with Atkins, ADAS and the James Hutton Institute. 2014. (Professor Hannah Cloke)

Developing Enhanced impact MOdels for integration with Next generation NWP and climate outputs (DEMON). NERC - Storm Risk Mitigation Programme consortium grant, with University of Bristol, University of Reading, NOC, UK Met office. (Professor Hannah Cloke)

NWP water cycle verification with river discharge observations. 2011-2014. in collaboration with European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). (Professor Hannah Cloke)

UrbanFluxes - Investigation of cities' warming by breaking down the urban energy budget and targeting anthropogenic heat flux using imagery from Earth Observation satellites, combined with conventional meteorological measurements at street level. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

Met Office CSSP - Aiming to establish climate services to support climate-resilient economic development and social welfare. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

NERC ClearfLo A collaborative project investigating boundary layer pollution across London. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

EU emBRACE - Building Resilience Amongst Communities in Europe. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

LCCP Observing London: Weather data needed for London to thrive. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

NERC Hi-TEMP High Density Measurements within the Urban Environment. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

NERC/Belmont TRUC. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

EU Bridge Sustainable urban plannIng decision support accounting for urban metabolism. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

EU MegaPoli Megacities: Emissions, urban, regional and global atmospheric pollution and climate effects, and Integrated tools for assessment and mitigation. (Professor Sue Grimmond)

The effect of the hydrothermal and nutrient regime on the vegetation functioning of a floodplain meadow (Floodplain Underground SEnsors - FUSE) (Professor Anne Verhoef)

The interaction between the environment and horizontal ground source heat pumps (GROMIT project) (Professor Anne Verhoef)

Interaction between soil moisture conditions and the occurrence of heat waves over Europe (SWELTER-21) (Professor Anne Verhoef)

The sustainability of biofuel cultivation in Ghana (ESPA Integrated carbon, water and land management for poverty alleviation (ICWALPA) project) (Professor Anne Verhoef)

Hydrological cycle understanding via process-based global detection, attribution and prediction: PAGODA address the uncertainties and inconsistencies in modelling the water cycle (Horyuji PAGODA) (Professor Pier Luigi Vidale)

Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme in High-resolution Global Climate Modelling: development of GCMs capable of resolving the processes that are the building blocks of climate. With Dr. M. Roberts, Met Office. (Professor Pier Luigi Vidale)

Soil water - climate feedbacks in Europe in the 21st centruty: understanding the driving mechanisms of European heat waves (SWELTER-21). (Professor Pier Luigi Vidale)

UK on PRACE: weather resolving Simulations of Climate for globAL Environmental risk. One of the world's top (petascale) projects in exploiting supercomputing for climate science.(UPSCALE) (Professor Pier Luigi Vidale)

Soil moisture retrieval with passive microwave remote sensing data (SMOS, SMAP) (Dr Na Yang)