School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

EEO Logo

The Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO)

Aim of the Edinburgh Earth Observatory

The Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO) is a multidisciplinary research unit which provides a strategic focus and support base for the University's expertise in the Geosciences. Our main research focus is on understandings the Earth and its environment through the effective exploitation of both in situ and remote observations.


There is now a greater need than ever before for information on the current state of the Earth System and its processes. Further research and long-term monitoring are required to help formulate and quantify the emerging scientific based understanding of planet Earth. Such insight allows for the assessment of impacts and accurate prediction of future change. Many national and international organisations have identified the need for co-operation and integrated programmes for global observations. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has recently implemented a 10 year plan to increase the effectiveness of Earth observations and create a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The Edinburgh Earth Observatory (EEO) aims to contribute to this goal by co-ordinating research and outreach within Edinburgh and with its partners.

All parts of the School of GeoSciences have an involvement in what may broadly be termed Earth Observation. Strengths in this area are: remote sensing and GIS modelling (Geography); measuring and modelling land-atmosphere fluxes of trace gases (Ecology); modelling atmospheric transmissivity and stratospheric ozone (Meteorology); seismology and hydrocarbon detection (Geology & Geophysics). Colleagues in these disparate areas have recognised the great potential for synergy, and the need for an intellectual base for a unit in the School where this potential can be realised.

The Observatory aims to address a range of interdisciplinary science issues and seeks to identify new research themes in response to science needs and future funding opportunities. The issues currently include: the carbon cycle, and how it should be managed; atmospheric composition and human health; detecting long term trends in atmospheric composition; land use change and how it impacts upon climate; long-term trends in biological activity of the planet; rapid climate change; vegetation change; detection and analysis of environmental risks and hazards.


The goal of the EEO is to promote and facilitate the exploitation of both in situ and remotely sensed measurements of the Earth System. This will be achieved by:

  • using Edinburgh's lead in e-science to address important GeoScience questions
  • co-ordination of access to data sources and appropriate software
  • integration of observational and monitoring programmes with other research activities (such as environmental modelling)
  • promoting strengths and identifying gaps in knowledge with respect to emerging techniques and technologies.
  • ensuring widespread awareness and understanding of the science through coordination with the Graduate Organisation and an outreach programme.

The EEO will be based around four main activities:

  • A high-profile seminar series
  • An annual Earth Observatory symposium
  • Occasional workshops on specialised topics
  • An informative and educational web presence.