Earth Observation Science Today: across the scales, from macro to micro

We currently live in an age of great acceleration where the Earth system is being subjected to a range of ever evolving pressures. As a result, our climate is changing, air pollution is growing to dangerous levels, biosphere diversity losses are mounting, polar ice is melting, and the anthropogenic footprint is ever increasing, putting a major burden on planetary resources. In order to protect our planet and ensure sustainable development into the future, it is vital that we observe and study the Earth in high detail across a range of temporal and spatial scales. It is imperative to keep a ‘health check’ on the planet to ensure we understand potential risks to life and identify solutions to protect it, to recognise emerging threats to our fragile ecosystems, to discover new and more effective routes to development and to better understand the fundamental evolutions of the Earth System.

The Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Brighton has been established to foster research excellence across atmospheric, Earth and ocean sciences, and built environment disciplines. Our research provides high impact knowledge and solutions to help safeguard the future of our planet and the life it supports. Through collaborative, interdisciplinary working, and sharing of expertise, ideas and infrastructure, our aim is to bring together internationally renowned researchers from across the Earth and environmental sciences spectra, who employ a range of techniques to monitor the Earth system, from the macro- to the micro-scale. In doing this we have the capacity to answer strategic, big picture scientific questions regarding the rapidly changing Earth system.

On the 28th April 2022, we celebrate the launch of the University of Brighton Centre for Earth Observation Science with our inaugural annual conference, with the theme, “Earth Observation Science Today: across the scales, form macro to micro”.


Keynote speakers:

Paul Monks

Professor Paul S. Monks BSc, DPhil, FRMetS, FRSC,  

Chief Scientific Adviser – Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Professor Paul Monks is the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As BEIS CSA, he delivers independent and impartial scientific advice to Ministers and policy makers across the BEIS portfolio. The BEIS CSA portfolio spans a wide range of policy areas, including energy (such as nuclear (fission and fusion), geothermal and hydrogen), climate change, electric vehicles, medical radionuclides, space and national security. His role also covers advising on current and ongoing issues faced by UK businesses and industry, with recent focus on the critical role of science in supporting sustainable, resilient and measurable Net Zero and the challenges of delivering national and global decarbonisation.

Professor Paul Monks also works closely with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, other Departmental CSAs, and BEIS Chief Economist, to strengthen the links within and across departments, encouraging effective engagement and knowledge sharing, and to support delivery of a robust evidence base to underpin BEIS policy decisions.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as an active member of COVID-19 SAGE, and as co-chair of SAGE-EMG subgroup, Professor Paul Monks has also input to developing and improving understanding of the impacts of the pandemic, including on events such as weddings, nightclubs and festivals, and advised on the development and evolution of public guidelines.

Prior to joining the department, Professor Paul Monks was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester, where he remains a Professor in Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Observation Science.


Professor Martin Smith, Professor of Geochemistry.

Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, School of Applied Sciences


Technological advances mean that we can make observations of terrestrial systems from the atomic to the global scale. These observations underpin our understanding of natural and anthropogenic processes that influence global environmental change, its impact on the biosphere and the built environment, and the search for solutions to support the decarbonisation of the economy and transport. Researchers in the Centre for Earth observation work in thematic areas including Atmosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere and Cryosphere, Lithosphere and Anthroposphere.  Observations from large scales using remote sensing technology support research in atmospheric chemistry, mapping of ecological change and the investigation of hazards on the seafloor. Intermediate observations using multispectral sensing are used to investigate the impact of natural processes on the built environment, the hidden secrets in archaeological materials and to take geochemical analysis from laboratory to field sites. At micro- to nanoscale spectral observation techniques are used to determine the origin of environmental materials and artefacts, and, working with external partners, have stretched to the atomic scale investigation of the mineral host of critical metals required for renewable energy generation. This talk will showcase earth observation science at Brighton and how it underpins understanding of environmental change and sustainability, taking case studies from the macro- to microscale.


Dr Nathalie Pettorelli is a senior scientist at the Zoological Society of London. Her research focuses on assessing and predicting the impacts of global environmental change on biological diversity using, among other things, remote sensing technology

Title: How satellite imagery is transforming conservation science

Satellite technology has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic way to track our environment,  enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations to rapid detection of deforestation, illegal mining, and other changes in the landscape and seascape. The generated imagery can provide vital insights into how our living world is changing and responding to global environmental change,  providing essential information for safeguarding the ecological systems we rely upon for survival. This presentation will provide a quick overview of how satellite imagery is increasingly informing conservation science and wildlife management, and discuss opportunities and challenges associated with such developments.


Description Timing Location
Networking and posters 15.00-16.00 Huxley Foyer PGR posters
Dr Kevin Wyche – launch of CEObS 16.00-16.10 Huxley 300
Professor Paul Monks (in his govt capacity) 16.10 – 17.00 Huxley 300
Networking and posters 17.00 – 17.30 Huxley Foyer
Prof Martin Smith 17.30 – 18.00 H300
Dr Nathalie Pettorelli 18.00 – 18.30 H300
Close & Networking 18.30 – 19.00 Huxley Foyer