People > Professor Philip Nightingale

Professor Philip Nightingale

Senior Marine Chemist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Professor Philip Nightingale is a Marine Chemist whose research is based around the cycling of trace gases in seawater and their transfer across the air-sea interface. He has worked extensively on the use of deliberate tracers (SF6, Helium-3, rhodamines and spores) to determine air-sea gas exchange rates, in pioneering in-situ iron fertilisation experiments and as Lagrangian tracers for studies of trace gas cycling and biogeochemistry. He is currently the PML lead for the Locate, ACSIS and ICOS projects.

Phil has a 1st class BSc from the School of Chemical Sciences and a PhD from the School of Environmental Sciences both at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and has worked at PML since 1995. He was Head of Science for the biogeochemistry science area, from 2010 - 2013. He has published over 67 ISI listed papers (H index 25, total citations ~4600) and a further 12 non-ISI listed but peer-reviewed papers. He has participated in about 35 field experiments, including 2 as Chief Scientist. He has collaborated closely with colleagues from the USA (University of Hawaii, University of Miami, University of Washington, LDEO, Moss Landing), New Zealand and Europe (LODYC, KNMI, Kiel, Mainz, AWI, Bergen) as well as several universities and institutes in the UK, particularly UEA, Newcastle, Warwick, Leeds, York and the National Oceanography Centre.

He has lectured at the SOLAS Summer Schools in Corsica in 2007/09/11 and BIOCAT in Kiel (2008). He has given invited talks in the UK, Germany, Italy, China, Korea and the USA. He reviews manuscripts for a range of journals and proposals for agencies in the UK, USA, Canada, Norway, S. Africa and Belgium. He has supervised or co-supervised 16 PhD students and has acted as an External PhD Examiner for the Universities of Leeds, York, Southampton, Newcastle, UEA and Bretagne. He is a Chartered Chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Chemistry. He is an honorary professor at the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA.


Land ocean carbon transfer (LOCATE)

Land ocean carbon transfer (LOCATE)

Contact: Professor Philip Nightingale

Our climate, and hence our lifestyle and economy, is profoundly influenced by the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which...

North Atlantic climate system integrated study (ACSIS)

North Atlantic climate system integrated study (ACSIS)

Contact: Professor Philip Nightingale

Major changes are occurring across the North Atlantic climate system: in ocean and atmosphere temperatures and circulation, in sea ice thickness...

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Other key projects

  • ICOS: The Integrated Carbon Observation System is a European Research Infrastructure (ERIC) consisting of a network of European observing systems operated at member state level and is underpinned by thematic centres (ocean, atmosphere and ecosystem. PML operates the L4 ICOS station off Plymouth and contributes to the Ocean Thematic Centre.
  • Locate: The Land Ocean Carbon Transfer programme will establish how much organic carbon from soils is getting into our rivers and estuaries, determine what happens to it, and so answer questions about the long-term fate of the organic carbon held in the soil over the next 50 to 100 years. It funded by NERC for 5 years.
  • ACSIS: The North Atlantic Climate System: Integrated Study will improve the UK's capability to detect, explain and predict changes in the North Atlantic Climate System. It funded by NERC for 5 years.

Recent publications

  • Rees, AP ; Nightingale, PD; Poulton, AJ; Smyth, TJ; Tarran, GA; Tilstone, GH. 2017 The Atlantic Meridional Transect Programme (1995 – 2016). Progress in Oceanography. 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.05.004
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  • Sabbaghzadeh, B; Upstill-Goddard, RC; Beale, R; Pereira, R; Nightingale, PD. 2017 The Atlantic Ocean surface microlayer from 50°N to 50°S is ubiquitously enriched in surfactants at wind speeds up to 13 m s−1. Geophysical Research Letters, 44. 7, pp. 10.1002/2017GL072988
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  • Sargeant, SL; Murrell, JC; Nightingale, PD; Dixon, JL . 2016 Seasonal variability in microbial methanol utilisation in coastal waters of the western English Channel. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 550. 53-64.
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  • Yang, M; Bell, TG; Blomquist, BW; Fairall, CW; Brooks, IM; Nightingale, PD. 2016 Air-sea transfer of gas phase controlled compounds. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 35 (1). 012011-012019. 10.1088/1755-1315/35/1/012011
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  • Goddijn-Murphy, L; Woolf, DK; Callaghan, AH; Nightingale, PD; Shutler, JD. 2016 A reconciliation of empirical and mechanistic models of the air-sea gas transfer velocity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121 (1). 818-835. 10.1002/2015JC011096
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  • Yang, M; Bell, TG; Hopkins, FE; Kitidis, V ; Cazenave, P; Nightingale, PD; Yelland, MJ; Pascal, RW; Prytherch, J.; Brooks, I. M.; Smyth, TJ. 2016 Air-sea fluxes of CO2 and CH4 from the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory on the south-west coast of the UK. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16 (9). 5745-5761. 10.5194/acp-16-5745-2016
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Selected key publications

  • Nightingale PD, Steinke M, Bakker D, Liss PS, Ocean acidification and marine trace gas production Proc. Nat Acad. Sci, 107 760-765, 2010
  • Nightingale PD, Law CS, Watson AJ, Liss PS et al., In-situ evaluation of air- sea gas exchange parameterisation using novel conservative and volatile tracers. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles, 14, 373-387, 2000
  • Nightingale PD, Liss PS and Schlosser P, Measurements of air-sea gas transfer during an open ocean algal bloom. Geophys. Res. Let., 27, 2117-2120, 2000
  • Coale KH, Johnson KS, Fitzwater, SE; et al., Title:  A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Nature, 383, 495-501, DOI: 10.1038/383495a0, 1996
  • Nightingale PD, Malin G, Liss PS. Production of chloroform and other low molecular weight halocarbons by some species of macroalgae, Limnology and Oceanography, 40, 680-689, 1995
  • Martin JH, Coale KH, Johnson KS et al., Testing the iron hypothesis in ecosystems of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Nature, 371, 123-129, DOI: 10.1038/371123a0, 1994

Other activities

  • Marine Chemistry Editorial Board
  • EnvEast DTP Management Board
  • Marine Facilities Advisory Board
  • Member of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) Working Group on Earth Observation for Atmosphere-Ocean Gas Exchange