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Sam Poxon

Loughborough University


Multi-scale environmental remote sensing for understanding dust in the high latitudes


  • Dr Matt Baddock, Loughborough University
  • Professor Jo Bullard, Loughborough University

PhD Summary

Mineral dust is now established as having a key influence in a wide range of biogeochemical cycles, and as a significant player within the Earth system. While most research on dust has been undertaken in the desert low latitudes, the operation of high latitude regions as important dust sources has only recently been appreciated. This importance is especially acute because dust generated in high latitude regions may have local impacts on particularly sensitive environmental and ecological systems (e.g. cryosphere, Arctic lake systems).

A number of challenges has meant the full potential of using remote sensing to better understand dust processes at the high latitudes has not yet been realised. The project will tap into a diverse range of Earth Observation (EO) resources that now exist, applying them to examine dust activity at different temporal and spatial scales in a global study of the high latitude regions.

Previous activity

Before the PhD, I worked in GIS for 9 years. I completed my undergraduate degree in geography at Plymouth, back in 2011. From there I went into work, firstly as a GIS technician for a renewable energy project developer and then onto the Civil Service working as GIS analyst. Looking for a new challenge and to develop new environmentally focussed skills, I completed a master’s part time in environmental science at Loughborough in 2020.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

My experience during my master’s had been a really positive one and I was keen to build on the skills and knowledge I had acquired. Doctoral research is appealing to me as it gives me the chance to dedicate a quality amount of time to topics and disciplines that I really enjoy. It provides the space for me to explore, try out new things and see where they lead.

Why did you choose CENTA?

The project itself and getting to work with the supervisors was a huge draw for me. Being part of a research network such as this is an exciting prospect. A PhD feels completely different to anything I’ve done before, so the training support that CENTA provide is especially welcome!

Future plans

I’m hoping that studying with CENTA will provide me with resources, connections, and new experiences that I have previously haven’t had access to. This will help me become a more well-rounded researcher and academic. In terms of the future, I’m keeping an open mind. I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities may come my way!