Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Professor Ian Robinson MA, PhD

Emeritus Professor

Professor Ian Robinson's photo

Professor Ian Robinson is Emeritus Professor within Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton.

BA and MA Mechanical Sciences, Cambridge University (Trinity College) 1966-69
PhD Engineering Magneto-hydrodynamics, University of Warwick, 1973
Higher and Senior Scientific Officer, Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Bidston (1972-1976)
Lecturer, senior lecturer and reader, University of Southampton Department of Oceanography (1976-1998)
Head of Department of Oceanography, (1991-95)
Professor, University of Southampton School of Ocean and Earth Science (1998-2010)
Professorial Fellow, Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton (2010-present)

Research interests

I also work closely with the satellite oceanography group within the NOC.

Specialisms: Ocean Remote Sensing Methods and Applications

I am interested in all aspects of ocean observations made from Earth-orbiting satellites. In particular I look for opportunities in which the unique capabilities of satellite data can bring a new perspective to oceanographic science.

Current activities include:

  • Global Sea Surface Temperatures: Merging data from various sensors; Studies of spatial and temporal variability including fronts nad upwelling; Validation using ship-based infra-red radiometry.
  • Oceanographic data products from remotely sensed ocean colour and their assimilation into numerical ecosystem models.
  • Using satellite observations to improve estimates of air-sea fluxes of momentum, heat and gases.
  • Adapting and applying global satellite datasets to climate monitoring and operational ocean forecasting.

Validation of sea surface temperature (SST) from satellites

For ten years I have managed a programme of research to develop a novel infrared SST autonomous radiometer (ISAR) for measuring temperature from ships in order to validate satellite SST data. This continues to be a major source of validation data for the European Space Agency’s AATSR sensor, providing standards-referenced error quantification for global climate SST datasets. Project website:

Climate Theme of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

I have contributed to this research programme. Additional details to be advoised.

Group for high resolution sea surface temperature (GHRSST)

I am one of the founding members of the GHRSST Science Team. For nearly ten years this has served to bring co-operation and co-ordination to improve the global coverage, resolution and accuracy of SST data from diverse satellites in order to achieve the high quality of SST measurements required both for operational applications (such as numerical weather and ocean prediction) and for climate monitoring. From 2004-2008 I managed ESA’s project Medspiration ( and which pioneered the production of a new class of error-quantified SST data products needed for the evolution of operational oceanography systems.

Project website:

PhD supervision

I have supervised more than 40 successful PhD students, more than 30 of them within the field of satellite oceanography.

Presently I am supervising four students: Mounir Lekouara, David Poulter, Anna Sutcliffe and Werenfrid Wimmer

Research group

Physical Oceanography

Research project(s)

Evaluation of accuracy and uncertainty of EO parameters for global air-sea fluxes

Part of the Climate Theme of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

Contact within Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, for National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

Member of the European Space Agency’s Mission Advisory Group (MAG) for the Sentinel-3 satellite series supporting operational oceanography (2010 - present)

Member of the Science Team which oversees the Group for High-resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) (2003 - present)

Chair of a Working Group of the European Science Foundation’s Marine Board for the Remote Sensing of Shelf Sea Ecosystems (2006-2008) {Web link to position paper 12 produced by the WG: to be provided}

Module co-ordinator for:
SOES3016 Oceanography from Space
SOES6017 Introduction to Ocean Remote Sensing

Professor Ian Robinson
Ocean and Earth Science
National Oceanography Centre Southampton
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
Southampton SO14 3ZH

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings