Professor Mark Sutton, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Professor Mark A. Sutton

Environmental Physicist

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate
EH26 0QB
T: +44 (0)131 445 8535
F: +44 (0)131 4453943
E-mail: Professor Mark A. Sutton

Research interests

Professor Sutton’s interests focus on the emission, atmospheric transfer of atmospheric reactive nitrogen compounds, including the interactions with between greenhouse gas balance, eutrophication and acidification. He is engaged in leading flux measurement and air chemistry monitoring activities, in developing models for regional upscaling to the UK and Europe and in the policy analysis of these issues. In particular, he is concerned in developing a multi-pollutant approach for nitrogen, with special attention to the fate of emissions of ammonia from agricultural systems.

Professor Sutton coordinates the NitroEurope Integrated project ( which is a five-year effort investigating the effect of reactive nitrogen on the European greenhouse gas balance.

Linked to his role as co-chair of the UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen (a body of the Geneva Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution), he is engaged in developing policy options for revision of ammonia measures in the Gothenburg Protocol, including examining links between nitrogen and climate.

Finally, he leads the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA), the first continental multi-threat assessment of nitrogen impacts on climate, air pollution, water quality, soil quality and biodiversity, which was launched at the “Nitrogen and Global Change” conference, in Edinburgh in April 2011.

Nitrogen-related activities

  • Coordinator of the NitroEurope Integrated Project and chair of the Scientific Steering Committee
  • Vice chair of the Nitrogen in Europe (NinE) framework programme of the ESF
  • Director of the European Centre of the International Nitrogen Initiative
  • Co-chair of the UNECE Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen

Brief CV


  • 1986: ARCS Botany, Imperial College, London; BSc Botany, Imperial College, London
  • 1990: PhD, University of Edinburgh
    Title: The surface / atmosphere exchange of ammonia
  • 1992: Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • 1992-present: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (formerly Institute of Terrestrial Ecology – ITE) (Edinburgh research site)


  • 2011: appointed Honorary Professor, University of Edinburgh (School of Geosciences)
  • 2004-present: Individual Merit Promotion (IMP, Band 3)
  • 2003-2007: Head CEH Atmospheric Sciences Section
  • 1998-2004: Principal Scientific Officer (Grade 7 / Band 4)
  • 1994-1998: Senior Scientific Officer (Band 5)
    June 1994-Feb 1995 (seven months) – Secondment to Department of the Environment (Air Quality Division): Development of research programme and policy analysis on the long-range transport and effects of acidifying air pollutants
  • 1992-1994: Higher Scientific Officer (Band 6)
  • 1991-92: Research Fellow. Dept. Meteorology, University of Edinburgh. (Held jointly with ITE.)
  • 1990-91: Research Associate. Dept. Meteorology, University of Edinburgh. (Held jointly with ITE.)
  • 1986 Freelance literature research into environmental acidification. International Energy Agency (Coal Research) London



Professor Sutton has published ~150 peer reviewed papers, 200 book chapters and 300 other reports. Many of his publications are available via the NERC Open Research Archive.

A comprehensive publications list, and a more detailed CV, can be found here. For a selected list of publications, please see below.

Sutton M.A., Howard C., Erisman J.W., Billen G., Bleeker A., Grenfelt P., van Grinsven H. and Grizzetti B. (2011). The European Nitrogen Assessment  (Eds.) Cambridge University Press. 612 pp. (For a PDF copy of this work, please go to

Sutton M.A.,  Nemitz E., Skiba U.M., Beier C. Butterbach Bahl K., Cellier P., de Vries W., Erisman J.W., Reis S., Bleeker A., Bergamaschi P., Calanca P.L., Dalgaard T., Duyzer J., Gundersen P., Hensen A., Kros J., Leip A., Olesen J.E., Owen S., Rees R.M., Sheppard L.J., Smith P., Zechmeister-Boltenstern S., Soussana J.F., Theobald M.R., Twigg M., van Oijen M., Veldkamp T., Vesala T., Winiwarter W., Carter M.S., Dragosits U., Flechard C., Helfter C., Kitzler B., Rahn K.H., Reinds G.J., Schleppi P., with contributions from the NitroEurope community. (2011). The nitrogen cycle and its influence on the European greenhouse gas balance. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 43 pp. [ISBN 978-1-906698-21-8].

Sutton M.A., Oenema O., Erisman J.W., Leip A., van Grinsven H. and Winiwarter W. (2011). Too much of a good thing. Nature 472, 159-161.

Sutton M.A., Reis S. and Butterbach-Bahl, K. (2009). Reactive nitrogen in agro-ecosystems: integration with greenhouse gas interactions. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. (NitroEurope Special Issue), 133, 135-138.

Sutton, M.A., S. Reis and Baker, S.M.H. (2009). Atmospheric Ammonia: Detecting emission changes and environmental impacts. (Eds.) Springer.

Sutton, M.A., Simpson, D., Levy, P.E., Smith, R.I., Reis S., van Oijen M. and de Vries W. (2008). Uncertainties in the relationship between atmospheric nitrogen deposition and forest carbon sequestration. Global Change Biology 14, 2057-2063

Sutton M.A., Oenema O., Erisman J.W., Grennfelt P., Beier C., Billen G., Bleeker A. Britton C., Butterbach-Bahl, K., Cellier, P., van Grinsven, H., Grizzetti, B., Nemitz, E., Reis, S., Skiba, U., Voss, M., de Vries, W. and Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S. (2009). Managing the European Nitrogen Problem: A proposed strategy for integration of European Research on the multiple effects of reactive nitrogen. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology / Partnership for European Environmental Research, 23 pp. (ISBN 978-1-906698-13-3).

Sutton, M.A., Nemitz, E., Milford, C., Campbell C., Erisman J.W., Hensen A., Cellier P., David M., Loubet B., Personne E., Schjoerring J.K., Mattsson M., Dorsey J.R., Gallagher M.W., Horvath L., Weidinger T., Meszaros R., Dämmgen U., Neftel A., Herrmann B., Lehman B.E. Flechard C. and Burkhardt J. (2009). Dynamics of ammonia exchange with cut grassland: Synthesis of results and conclusions of the GRAMINAE Integrated Experiment. Biogeosciences (GRAMINAE Special Issue) 6, 2907–2934, 2009

Wolf B., Zheng X., Brüggemann N., Chen W., Dannemann M., Han X., Sutton M.A., Wu H., Yo Z. and Butterbach-Bahl K. (2010). Grazing-induced reduction of natural nitrous oxide release from continental steppe. Nature 464, 881-884.

de Vries W., Solberg S., Dobbertin M., Sterba H., Laubhahn D., Reinds G.J., Nabuurs G.-J., Gundersen P. & Sutton M.A. (2008). Ecologically implausible carbon response? Nature 451, E1-E3 (14 February 2008). doi:10.1038/nature06579.

Erisman J.W., Sutton M.A., Galloway J.N., Klimont Z. and Winiwarter W. (2008). How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nature Geoscience 1, 636-639, doi: 10.1038/ngeo325.