Professor Grant Allen


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Current and active research interests include:

  • Drone-based (unmanned aerial vehicle) measurement of atmospheric composition (in situ and remote sensing), specialising in greenhouse gas sampling and flux quantification methods
  • Environmental (atmospheric) baselining of shale gas areas in the UK with a focus of fugitive emission assessment of greenhouse gases
  • Aircraft and satellite measurements of atmospheric composition (using a range of in situ and remote sensing techniques)
  • pollution transport and modelling (local, urban and regional, e.g. biomass burning sources)
  • Methane and other greenhouse gas emissions quantification - at global, national and local scales - processes and inventory validation


After studying for MPhys - Physics with Space Science at Leicester University, Grant completed a PhD thesis (2005) on the subject of satellite remote sensing of peroxyacetyl nitrate from the MIPAS FTIR instrument on Envisat at the Space Research Centre, University of Leicester.

In 2005, Grant began a post-doctoral post at the University of Leicester with the Earth Observation Science Group, where he worked on the detection of polar stratospheric clouds from IASI and TES satellite data.

In late 2005, Grant joined the School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, as a post-doctoral researcher on the international ACTIVE project to investigate thunderstorm, monsoon and synoptic-scale dynamics and their impacts on trace gas distribution and chemistry in the Darwin, Australia region.

In 2008, Grant joined the VOCALS project as project coordinator, investigating the interactions between the Walker circulation, coastal and marine aerosol sources, ocean currents, and Andean topography, to characterise their influence on stratocumulus cloud properties in the South East Pacific - a key region for the Earth's changing radiative budget.

In 2011, Grant was awarded a NERC Independent Research Fellowship to develop novel airborne remote sensing techniques for atmospheric composition monitoring with a focus on aircraft measurements around London during the ClearfLo project using the NERC FAAM research aircraft ( This resulted in the first quantified airborne flux snapshots of greenhouse gases from the London area for the first time (

Also in 2011, I joined the Methane in the Arctic - measurements and modelling (MAMM) project as a co-I and aircraft work package manager to investigate potential source strengths of Arctic methane and other greenhouse gases in this important and rapidly changing environment (

In 2012, Grant joined the NERC GAUGE thematic programme consortium (with universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol, CEH, Met Office and others) as Manchester PI and aircraft work package manager. In this project, Grant led FAAM aircraft campaigns in Summer 2014 and 2015 to derive the first top-down validation of UK national Greenhouse gas inventories using aircraft measurements.

In 2015, Grant was awarded a grant as part of the NERC Global Methane highlight topic (MOYA) to improve understanding of global methane sources, focussing on aricraft field campaigns in Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. This study aims to improve regional source inventories of methane with an emphasis on biogenic signatures and cabon-isotopic fingerprinting.

Through 2013-2017, Grant has conducted projects with the UK Environment Agency to develop novel drone technology for regulatory monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from hotspot areas such as landfill and fracking operations.

Through 2015-2019, Grant is the work package leader of a project funded by BEIS to characterise the atmospheric baseline of greenhouse gases in shale gas areas (Blackpool and Kirby Misperton). In 2018, this project also involves the detection and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions (especially methane) from the UK's first active shale gas exploratory well in Blackpool using a range of in situ (fixed site) monitoring and drone surveys. This activity is complimented by Grant's involvement  as a PI on the NERC EQUIPT4RISK project, which seeks to develop technologies and measurement-based approaches for environmental risk assessment associated with shale gas development in the UK.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Fellow of:

Royal Meteorological Society

Member of:

Institute of Physics

European Geophysical Union

American Geophysical Union

NERC Peer Review College


External positions

Research Associate, University of Leicester

1 Apr 200515 Aug 2005

Areas of expertise

  • QC Physics - Atmospheric Physics, Remote Sensing, Spectroscopy, Greenhouse gases, Unmanned airborne sensors, Air quality instrumentation

Research Networks and Beacons


  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Greenhouse Gases, Aircraft measurement, Methane

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2005 - Doctor of Philosophy, The Infrared Remote Sensing of Peroxyacetyle Nitrate, University of Leicester (2001 - 2005)
  • 2001 - Master of Physics, Physics with Space Science and Technology, University of Leicester (1997 - 2001)

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