Dr Richard Pope

Dr Richard Pope


I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling Group in the School of Earth and Environment (SEE) at the University of Leeds. I am primilary funded by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) to investigate air quality and tropospheric chemistry using satellite observations and modelling. Recent studies include:

  • Investigating changes in biomass burning practices over the Amazon and implications for Amazonian air quality.
  • Observing long-term trends in UK air quality using NO2, ozone and aerosol data sets (paper link).
  • Analysing the importance of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) circulation patterns on European compostion (paper link).

My other position is the evaluation of the first United Kindom Earth System Model (UKESM1) using satellite measurements of atmospheric composition. UKESM is made up of multiple process models (e.g. atmospheric and ocean models) which interact to represent the Earth system as a whole. This allows scientists to better understand interations and feedbacks between these systems and how this has/can influence the Earth's past and future climate.

I was previously involved in the EU funded Desert Storms project (2014-2016) investigating errors in dust forecasting over Africa using the Met Office Unified Model (paper link).

I joined SEE in 2011 and undertook my PhD in atmopsheric chemistry modelling (thesis available here) with Prof Martyn Chipperfield (graduated in 2015). I did my undergraduate degree (MSci) in Meteorology and Oceanography at the University of East Anglia.

My academic CV can be found here.

Research interests

My primary research interests are using high resolution air quality models and satellite data of key air pollutants (e.g. NO2 and ozone) to investigate how atmospheric circulation patterns and transport influence UK pollution levels. The figure below shows NO2 pollution observed from space with clear hotspots over London, the Benelux region and Po Valley.


Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) tropospheric column NO2 (1015 molecules/cm2) for 2005-2013.

More recently, my research has focused on global modelling using the TOMCAT chemistry transport model (CTM) to investigate large scale changes in atmospheric compositon. This includes investigation of circulation patterns like the NAO influencing European air quality, changes in biomass burning over South America impacting on tropospheric composition and quantifying pollution originating from the 2017 summer fires over Canada. Several TOMCAT animations are below:

  • TOMCAT surface ozone (ppbv) for 2006
  • TOMCAT surface NO2 (ppbv) for 2006
  • Canadian fires - August 2018 surface concentrations for carbon monoxide (CO) and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN).

I also currently run the SEE-Chem seminars, which are joint monthly meetings between SEE and the School of Chemistry covering a range of topics where common research interests and collaborations exist between the departments. A list of past seminars and slides can be found here

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling and Earth Observation, University of Leeds
  • MSci, Meteorology and Oceanography, University of East Anglia

Student education

I give lectures on remote sensing of clouds and atmospheric chemistry on the module, Earth Observation from Space.

I help with the supervision of both PhD and UG students in the Atmospheric Chemsitry Group. This also includes three funded undergraduate summer placements:

  • Richard Johnson - Investigation of meteorological processes influencing UK air quality - Summer 2016
  • Ryan Leeming - Gaussian stack plume modelling of emissions from Drax Power - Summer 2017
  • Ellen Stirling - Leeds Air Quality: Local versus Regional Pollution Sources - Summer 2018

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosols