Prof Andrew J Watson FRS
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ UK
Tel +44 1603 593761
Fax +44 1603 591327
- BSc in physics from Imperial College, London, 1975
- PhD from the University of Reading, 1978. My supervisor was James Lovelock, whose view of the earth as a whole system ("Gaia") has influenced me ever since.
- Post Doctoral studies at the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, 1978-81, where I studied planetary atmospheres (mostly Venus and Earth).
- Scientist at the Marine Biological Association and (later) the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, between 1982 and 1995. While there I developed techniques and instruments for studying the ocean, including sensitive tracer techniques which can be used to investigate the physics, chemistry and biology of large bodies of water.
- Since January 1996, Professor at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
Click here for my publications – you can download PDF files of many of the more recent ones.
My research interests and those of the research group I lead, centre around global biogeochemical cycles, controls on oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, marine biological controls on climate and ocean circulation studies. Current active research includes:
- Interactions of the oceans, CO2 and climate: we are funded as part of the NERC’s Oceans 2025 project to collaborate with the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, in their oceans and climate programme. The field programme consists of hydrographic sections in the Atlantic and Southern Ocean, on which NOC measure the physical characteristics of the ocean (salinity, temperature, density) while we observe tracers of ocean circulation such as CFCs and sulphur hexafluoride, and the concentrations of the components of carbon chemistry. These measurements can be used to study how much CO2 is being taken up by the atmosphere to the oceans, where it is going, and how the ocean carbon cycle may be responding to climate change.
- Quantifying the sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide using surface measurements. The CAVASSOO programme initiated a monitoring system for the air-sea flux of carbon dioxide into the North Atlantic Ocean using measuring instruments aboard “ships of opportunity” that regularly sail routes in the North Atlantic. This approach is now being taken forward in the EU’s CARBO-OCEAN integrated project, in which we lead the work package directed at monitoring the North Atlantic air-sea flux. We are also partners of the National Centre for Earth Observation,a NERC centre for remote sensing, in which our aim is to develop methods to enable the diagnosis of the atmosphere-ocean flux of CO2 over the North Atlantic.
- Monitoring transient tracers in the North Atlantic. This is funded by NERC’s RAPID project. We are building and deploying autonomous samplers to monitor SF6 and CFC tracer signals in the deep waters of the northern North Atlantic.
- Theoretical studies on the control of nutrients in the ocean, and the composition of the atmosphere through time. We are particularly interested in the controls on atmospheric carbon dioxide and oxygen, see papers in my publication list.
I lead MarQuest, one of the NERC QUEST intitiative projects in earth system science. MarQuest aims to develop a new generation of marine ecosystem/carbon cycle models that will be useful to better model the global carbon/climate system.
We have completed a tracer experiment in the Greenland sea, to study the thermohaline circulation there. This was initiated as part of an EU-funded project (European sub-Polar Oceans project, or ESOP-2). A tracer was injected into the centre of the Greenland Sea Gyre in August 1996. The experiment has been continued through the ARCICE programme, and TRACTOR projects. Our tracer and marine carbon expertise has meant that we have been key participants in a number of Iron enrichment experiments that have proved that the important “High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll”areas of the world ocean are maintained by iron limitation of the plankton there. These have ranged from the first open-ocean experiments (Ironex I and II) in the early 90s, to two more recent exercises in the Southern Ocean that we proposed: SOIREE (the first Southern Ocean experiment) and EISENEX.
Research Group: Oceanography and Biogeochemistry (go to our home-page);
James Clark is studying atmosphere-ocean CO2 and O2 fluxes in biogeochemical models, as part of the MarQuest project.
Elena Kozlova is studying the carbon cycle by means of automated measurements of gas concentrations in the atmosphere, in Siberia and at the Cape Verde. Her work is collaborative with the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemisty at Jena.
Ben Mills is a studying the processes and models that influence atmospheric oxygen concentrations over Earth history.
Dr Tim Lenton obtained his PhD in 1999, modelling the coupled cycles of phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen to understand what controls the abundance of these substances in the ocean and atmosphere. After several years spent at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Penicuik, Edinburgh, he returned to ENV where he is now a Professor.
Dr Fiona Carse obtained her PhD in 2000, using tracers to study mixing processes in the ocean and lakes. She is now at NERC head office in Swindon.
Dr Andy Ridgwell
obtained his PhD in 2000 for a study of the dynamics of the carbon cycle in relation to the Pleistocene glacial cycles. He is now a Royal Society Research Fellow at Bristol University.
Dr Noam Bergman obtained his PhD in 2003, developing a model for the coupled cycles of phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen to better understand the evolution of atmospheric CO2 and O2 over the Phanerozoic (last 550 million years). He was jointly supervised with Tim Lenton.
Dr Alina Marca obtained her PhD (joint supervised with Paul Dennis) in 2003 for developing techniques for high-precision atmospheric oxygen measurements. She is currently at ENV.
Dr Kevin Oliver
obtained his PhD in 2003 for a theoretical study of the dynamics of the ocean overturning circulation, and its response to changes in thermal and fresh water forcing. He was jointly supervised with Karen Heywood. Kevin is currently at the Open University.
Dr Laura Goldson obtained her PhD in 2004 for a study of Southern Ocean mixing using SF6 as a tracer.
- Pete Brown obtained his PhD in 2008 for a study of the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide by the North Atlantic Ocean. He is now employed jointly by UEA and BAS as a postdoctoral researcher working on the Southern Ocean.
Interactions Between Ocean Biogeochemistry, Physics and Climate
Oceanography at UEA