Dr Rob Parker

Lecturer in Earth Observation in the School of Physics and Astronomy

School/Department: Physics and Astronomy, School of



My research interests centre around improving our understanding of key terrestrial processes relevant to climate change, in particular related to the carbon cycle, methane and wildfires.

I am a Lecturer in Earth Observation in the School of Physics and Astronomy. I also am a member of the National Centre for Earth Observation where I lead Earth System Model and Climate-Carbon Data Evaluation. I have over 15 years’ experience in using satellite data to retrieve concentrations of atmospheric constituents and analysing them to improve our understanding of the carbon cycle. I developed key satellite methane data products which are extensively used by the community for better understanding the global methane budget. I have expertise in using satellite data for evaluation of land surface and climate models and was awarded an international European Space Agency (ESA) Living Planet Fellowship on this topic.

I work as part of the UK Earth System Modelling Core Group, leading NCEO activities in climate model evaluation. I represent UKESM on the ESA Climate Modelling User Group. I currently lead several Digital Twin activities that bring together Earth system modelling, Earth Observation and Machine Learning to improve our understanding and predictive capabilities for the Earth system and the response to climate change.


Research profiles

Research interests

Wetland Methane

  • Produce GOSAT satellite methane data product, a highly regarded and widely used dataset
  • Lead evaluation of the wetland methane produced from the UK JULES land surface model
  • Involved in multiple methane-related studies with national and international collaborators

UK Earth System Model Evaluation

  • Member of the UK Earth System Model Core Group
  • Responsible for coordinating NCEO contributions to model evaluation
  • Leading NCEO contributions to TerraFIRMA, a long-term NERC-funded multi-centre project

Digital Twins

  • Science Lead for ESA Digital Twin Precursor, which developed a Digital Twin for African Drought
  • Leading NERC Digital Twin Case Study on African Drought, focusing on decision support for stakeholders
  • Leading ESA EO4Society project (IMITATE), developing explainable machine-learning based emulato


Research profiles

Selected publications (Total:81, h-index: 33)

  • Parker, R. J. et al., Exploring Constraints on a Wetland Methane Emission Ensemble (WetCHARTs) using GOSAT Satellite Observations, Biogeosciences Discuss., 10.5194/bg-17-5669-2020, 2020.
  • Parker, R. J., et al. A Decade of GOSAT Proxy Satellite CH4 Observations, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., 10.5194/essd-12-3383-2020, 2020.
  • Saunois, M., et al. (including R. J. Parker), The Global Methane Budget 2000-2017, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 1561-1623, 10.5194/essd-12-1561-2020, 2020.
  • Sellar, A. A., et al. (including R. Parker), UKESM1: Description and evaluation of the U.K. Earth System Model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 11, 4513- 4558. 10.1029/2019MS001739, 2019
  • Parker, R. J., et al., Evaluating year-to-year anomalies in tropical wetland methane emissions using satellite CH4 observations, Remote Sensing of Environment, 211: 261-275. 6, 10.1016/j.rse.2018.02.011, 2018
  • Parker, R. J., et al., Atmospheric CH4 and CO2 enhancements and biomass burning emission ratios derived from satellite observations of the 2015 Indonesian fire plumes, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 10111-10131, 10.5194/acp-16-10111-2016, 2016.
  • Parker, R. J., et al., Assessing 5 years of GOSAT Proxy XCH4 data and associated uncertainties, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 4785-4801, 10.5194/amt-8-4785-2015, 2015.
  • Buchwitz, M., et al. (including R. Parker), The Greenhouse Gas Climate Change Initiative (GHG-CCI): comparison and quality assessment of near-surface-sensitive satellite-derived CO2 and CH4 global data sets, Remote Sensing of Environment, 10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.024, pp. 19, 2013.
  • Parker, R., et al., Methane observations from the Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite: Comparison to ground-based TCCON data and model calculations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L15807, 10.1029/2011GL047871, 2011
  • Parker, R. J., et al., Acetylene C2H 2 retrievals from MIPAS data and regions of enhanced upper tropospheric concentrations in August 2003, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 10243-10257, 10.5194/acp-11-10243-2011, 2011.


I currently supervise 2 PhD students in Earth Observation at University of Leicester. I have previously supported the supervision of 7 students who have gone on to achieve their PhD and moved into successful careers including as founder of their own environmental company, working in investment banking and continuing to work in research (UK academia and NASA).

Current students

  • D Orr - Satellite Observations of CO2 in Support of the Paris Agreement for Emission Reduction
  • S Poudel - Investigating the Susceptibility of Tropical Forests to Climate Change using Earth System Modelling, Satellite Remote Sensing and Machine Learning


I currently teach Unit 3 and Unit 4 of the Physics 1st Year Mechanics module.

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