REF2021 successes: Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

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96% of all activity is world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) giving us a rank of 9th in the UK for 4* and 3* research overall. 100% of our impact and environment is 4* and 3*.

Our Earth and environmental research covers earth sciencesocean sciences, and ecology and marine biology. Our recent research achievements include:

  • Fundamental advances in the understanding of volcanic and earthquake hazards, and advising governments and governmental bodies around the world on developing practical hazard analysis
  • Advances into green technologies for future energy, such as geothermal power, and carbon capture and storage
  • Understanding the role of the core in producing Earth’s geodynamo, including constraining the timing of the formation of the inner core
  • Key advances in our understanding of the role of the oceans in the storage of heat and carbon, and cycling of resources critical for sustaining ocean productivity, directly leading to contributions to the latest IPCC reports
  • Understanding how environmental stress impacts ecosystems, from social insects to seabirds and Arctic seals.

We’ve received a number of grants worth over £1million from the European Research Council, Leverhulme, NERC, UKRI, the Royal Society and the Human Frontier Science Programme. These diverse projects include developing models of resource limitation of phytoplankton growth, exploring how climate change is affecting Arctic ecosystems, examining the Earth’s core and mantle, modelling volcanic magma movement, and exploring the navigational senses of birds.

We published more than 30 papers in top-tier general science journals such as Science and Nature, and have been ranked 10th in the UK in the Nature Index for publishing in the top 82 journals in our subject area.