After completing a BSc in Oceanography at the University of Southampton in 2009, I came to UEA, Norwich to study a MSc in Climate Change. In 2012, I began a Ph.D. at UEA in atmospheric oxygen measurements, which I completed in 2016. My Ph.D. research focussed on making high precision O2 and CO2 measurements from a commercial container ship travelling continuously between Europe and South America. I then used these new measurements to look at equatorial outgassing and latitudinal gradients of O2 and CO2 over the Atlantic.

In addition, during my Ph.D. I developed a novel method for quantifying fossil fuel CO2 using the tracer atmospheric potential oxygen (APO), and verified this new method using APO data from Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory, situated on the north Norfolk coast.

I am currently working on two European funded projects:

The 'OXYFLUX' project (Principal Investigator: Alexander Knohl, University of Göttingen, Germany) aims to use atmospheric O2 as a new tracer for separating photosynthesis and respiration related carbon fluxes between the biosphere and atmosphere.

The 'CHE' (CO2 Human Emissions) project is a new initiative to monitor human related CO2 emissions using a combination of satellite data, surface measurement data and inventory statistical data.


Administrative Roles

I am currently Chair of the Researcher Affairs Forum, and SCI researcher representative on the UEA IT forum.


Teaching Roles

Regular guest lecturer for 'The Carbon Cycle and Climate Change' and 'Modern Methods in Air Pollution Science' modules.


Career History

Current position: Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia, working on the OXYFLUX and CHE projects.

2012-2016: Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.

2011-2012: MSc in Climate Change, University of East Anglia.

2006-2009: BSc Oceanography (single honours), University of Southampton

All Publications

Pickers, P. A., Manning, A. C., Sturges, W. T., Le Quéré, C., Mikaloff Fletcher, S. E., Wilson, P. A., Etchells, A. J.


In situ measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 reveal an unexpected O2 signal over the tropical Atlantic Ocean,

in Global Biogeochemical Cycles



pp. 1289–1305

Full Text UEA Repository



Pickers, P.


New applications of continuous atmospheric O2 measurements: meridional transects across the Atlantic Ocean, and improved quantification of fossil fuel‐derived CO2,

Full Text

(Other contribution)


Pickers, P., Manning, A.


Investigating bias in the application of curve fitting programs to atmospheric time series,

in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques



pp. 1469-1489

Full Text UEA Repository



Key Research Interests

My main research interests are the carbon cycle, climate change, and ocean biogeochemistry. More specifically, my research focuses on making atmospheric carbon dioxide and oxygen measurements to a very high precision, with a view to gaining insight into regional and global carbon cycle processes.


My Ph.D. research involved making continuous shipboard measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 along a transect of the Atlantic Ocean, in order to obtain greater understanding about the oceanic processes that regulate atmospheric CO2 and O2, specifically looking at equatorial outgassing. The high frequency of data obtained from making these continuous measurements enables analyses on a range of temporal and spatial scales, and contributes to the global greenhouse gas measurement network.

As a side project, I also developed a method for quantifying the fossil fuel CO2 component of total CO2 using atmospheric potential oxygen (APO) data from Norfolk, UK.



I am currently working on the OXYFLUX project, where I am building high-precision atmospheric oxygen measurement systems to make chamber, branch bag and flux measurements in both forest and agricultural environments. Making these atmospheric O2 and CO2 measurements will enable us to separate out gross photosynthesis and respiration fluxes in these environments.



I am also currently working on the CHE project, comparing top-down carbon flux estimates from satellite and surface network inversions to bottom-up estimates from the Global Carbon Project, in order to further our understanding of how and why these estimates differ from each other. I am also helping to investigate the use of APO as a top-down fossil fuel emission verification tool across Europe.


Research Group Membership

I am currently working for Alexander Knohl at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and for Corinne Le Quéré at UEA. My primary Ph.D. supervisor was Bill Sturges, with additional supervision provided by Corinne Le Quéré and Andrew Manning. I also have ongoing collaborations with Britt Stephens, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), USA, Nathalie Lefèvre, Laboratoire d'Oceanographie et du Climat (LOCEAN), France, and Gordon Brailsford and Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, both of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), New Zealand.