Dr Cristina Ruiz Villena

Postdoctoral Research Associate

School/Department: Physics & Astronomy, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2771



I am a Spanish researcher from Cuenca living in Leicester. I have always been fascinated by science so after school I studied a BEng and MEng in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and University of Alcalá respectively. After working in the software industry for 3 years (first at Indra Sistemas in Spain then at Samsung Cambridge Solution Centre in the UK) I came to the University of Leicester to do an MSc in Space Exploration Systems. I subsequently did a PhD in Earth Observation where I worked on advancing a novel instrument concept for air quality monitoring from space at very high spatial and temporal resolution. Upon completion of my PhD I moved to the greenhouse gas team to work on satellite observations of methane. In my free time I love to sing and play music dance walk in nature go out to vegan restaurants go to the theatre (I'm a musical theatre nerd!) and travel. I am a passionate about climate change and sustainability and like to do pacific climate activism outreach and public engagement activities.


My PhD was funded by CENTA (NERC) with a CASE studentship in collaboration with Thales Alenia Space UK. My research topic was NO2 monitoring from space at high spatial and temporal resolution with a strong focus on retrieval methods particularly Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) and instrument development. For the last year or so I have been funded by SPRINT and NERC and I'm now employed by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). My current research focus is on detection and quantification of methane point sources from satellite observations at very high spatial resolution particularly from the oil gas and coal industries. Starting in January 2022 I will start working on a Digital Twin Earth project using machine learning methods to emulate the outputs of Land Surface/Earth System models. This work will be funded by NERC ESA and NCEO.



Ruiz Villena, C., Anand, J. S., Leigh, R. J., Monks, P. S., Parfitt, C. E., and Vande Hey, J. D.: Discrete-wavelength DOAS NO2 slant column retrievals from OMI and TROPOMI, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 1735-1756,, 2020.



Methane satellite observations. Digital Twin Earth. Trace gas retrievals.


I do not currently do any teaching.

Press and media

Methane satellite observations.


Environmental Action Coordinator for Space Park Leicester. Climate Reality Leader The Climate Reality Project. Scientific advisor for Carbon Footprint game ""How bad are bananas?"" by Future We Want.


UK EO Week online. Oral presentation. 2021 17th International Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Monitoring from Space (IWGGMS-17) online. Poster presentation. 2021. 9th International DOAS Workshop online. Oral presentation. 2020. American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting San Francisco California USA. 2019. First Joint Training Course on Atmospheric Composition BabeĊŸ-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca Romania. Poster presentation. 2019. American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting Washington DC USA. Poster presentation. 2018. European Space Agency (ESA) ATMOS Conference Salzburg Austria. Poster presentation. 2018. UK National Earth Observation Conference Birmingham UK. Oral presentation. 2018. UK Atmospheric Science Conference York UK. Poster presentation. 2018. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly Vienna Austria. Poster presentation. 2018. 2017 - 2019 CENTA annual student conference Loughborough/Leicester/Warwick Universities UK. 1 poster and 2 oral presentations.


Sustainability Climate change Multidisciplinary research Public engagement Outreach

Media coverage

Interview on BBC Radio Leicester 29/10/2021:
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