Dr James Levine

Dr James Levine

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James’ focus is on air quality and public health, but straddles the natural and built environments. His background is predominantly in atmospheric science (numerical simulation of atmospheric chemistry and transport) but he also has an established interest in architecture (qualification to RIBA Part I and experience in private practice).

Bridging between academic research, public practice/policy making and private software development, James is currently developing the Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality Platform: the first software offering urban practitioners quantitative estimates of the site-specific impacts of ‘GI4RAQ’ via changes in pollution dispersion close to source.

He seeks more broadly, however, to enable urban design for reduced exposure, as a complement to essential emission reductions, for improved public health and health equality.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-levine-cambridge/


  • PhD Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge
  • MSci (Hons) MA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • BArch (Hons) Architecture, University of Lincoln


James’ current interest lies in the value of green infrastructure for improved air quality or, more specifically, reduced exposure to road transport pollution. The context to this is one of natural capital, the delivery of quantifiable ecosystem services and evolving planning policies: e.g., nationally, DEFRA’s Environmental Net Gain and, regionally, the Greater London Authority’s new Air Quality Positive Policy.

Between the University of Cambridge, British Antarctic Survey and University of Birmingham, James has over 15 years’ experience using computer models similar to weather prediction models to explore influences on air quality and climate, including vegetation. Meanwhile, an increasing interest in sustainable urban development led him to study architecture to RIBA Part I and spend two years in private practice. Here, James saw first-hand the need for rigorous cost-benefit analysis (and software solutions to enable this) in order to secure long-term investment in green infrastructure.

In the last two years, with the aid of three NERC Innovation grants to bridge between academic research, public practice/policy making and private software development, James has developed: an evidence-based approach to Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) with Transport for London; complementary guidance for local authorities with the Greater London Authority; and the first software offering urban practitioners quantitative estimates of the site-specific impacts of GI4RAQ via changes in dispersion close to source – to be released in Q3 2020.

James is meanwhile engaging further regional combined authorities, and their transport-delivery bodies, to integrate robustly beneficial GI4RAQ into schemes that can also deliver: provisions for active travel, increased climate resilience; and improvements in local quality of life. His interests extend from the public realm to the private, and from green infrastructure to built urban form.


  • Green infrastructure, ecosystem services and Natural Capital
  • Air quality improvement and climate-change mitigation/adaptation
  • Urban development: environmental and socio-economic sustainability




Levine, J. G., Y. Brown, and A. R. MacKenzie, Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) Guidance: An evidence-based approach to reducing exposure to road transport pollution, produced by the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, University of Birmingham, and Transport for London, in review, 2019.

Greater London Authority, Using Green Infrastructure to Protect People from Air Pollution, written in consultation with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, University of Birmingham, Global Centre for Clean Air Research, University of Surrey, and Transport for London, published online (https://www.london.gov.uk/WHAT-WE-DO/environment/environment-publications/using-green-infrastructure-protect-people-air-pollution), 2019.

Levine, J. G., and E. J. S. Ferranti, Why ‘Green’ Infrastructure is Critical for Improving Air Quality, Air Quality News, published online (https://airqualitynews.com/2019/10/04/why-green-infrastructure-is-critical-for-improving-air-quality/) 2019.

Ferranti, E. J. S., J. G. Levine, and A. R. MacKenzie, Right Tree, Right Place: Role of Trees and Other Green Infrastructure in Urban Air Quality, Institution of Environmental Sciences, published online (https://www.the-ies.org/analysis/role-trees-other-green) 2019.

Ferranti, E. J. S., A. R. MacKenzie, J. G. Levine, K. Ashworth, and C. N. Hewitt, First Steps in Air Quality for Built Environment Practitioners, guidance produced by the University of Birmingham and the Trees and Design Action Group, published online (http://epapers. bham.ac.uk/3069/), 2019.

Fawole, O. G., X. Cai, J. G. Levine, R. T. Pinker, and A. R. MacKenzie, Detection of a gas flaring signature in the AERONET optical properties of aerosols at a tropical station in West Africa, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2016JD025584, 2016.

Kourtchev, I., R. Godoi, S. Connors, J. Levine, A. Archibald, A. Godoi, S. Paralovo, C. Barbosa, R. A. Souza, A. Manzi, R. Seco, S. Sjostedt, J.-H. Park, A. Guenther, S. Kim, J. Smith, S. Martin, and M. Kalberer, Molecular composition of organic aerosols in central Amazonia: an ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry study, Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-404, 2016.

Levine, J. G., A. R. MacKenzie, O. J. Squire, A. T. Archibald, P. T. Griffiths, N. L. Abraham, J. A. Pyle, D. E. Oram, G. Forster, J. F. Brito, J. D. Lee, J. R. Hopkins, A. C. Lewis, S. J. B. Bauguitte, C. F. Demarco, P. Artaxo, P. Messina, J. Lathière, D. A. Hauglustaine, E. House, C. N. Hewitt, and E. Nemitz, Isoprene chemistry in pristine and polluted Amazon environments: Eulerian and Lagrangian model frameworks and the strong bearing they have on our understanding of surface ozone and predictions of rainforest exposure to this priority pollutant, Atm. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 15, doi:10.5194/acpd-15-24251-2015, 2015.

Quiquet, A., A. T. Archibald, A. D. Friend, J. Chappelaz, J. G. Levine, E. J. Stone, P. J. Telford, and J. A. Pyle, The relative importance of methane sources and sinks during the Last Interglacial period and into the last glaciation, Quat. Sci. Rev., 112, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.01.004, 2015.

Levine, J. G., X. Yang, A. E. Jones, and E. W. Wolff, Sea salt as an ice core proxy for past sea ice extent: a process-based model study, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2013JD020925, 2014.

Foley, A. M., D. Dalmonech, A. D. Friend, F. Aires, A. Archibald, P. Bartlein, L. Bopp, J. Chappellaz, P. Cox, N. R. Edwards, G. Feulner, P. Friedlingstein, S. P. Harrison, P. O. Hopcroft, C. D. Jones, J. Kolassa, J. G. Levine, I. C. Prentice, J. Pyle, N. Vázquez Riveiros, E. W. Wolff, and S. Zaehle, Evaluation of biospheric components in Earth system models using modern and palaeo observations: the state-of-the-art, Biogeosciences, 10, doi:10.5194/bg-10-8305-2013, 2013.

Levine, J. G., E. W. Wolff, P. O. Hopcroft, and P. J. Valdes, Controls on the tropospheric oxidizing capacity during an idealized Dansgaard-Oeschger event, and their implications for the rapid rises in atmospheric methane during the last glacial period, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L12805, doi:10.1029/2012GL051866, 2012.

Levine, J. G., E. W. Wolff, A. E. Jones, L. C. Sime, P. J. Valdes, A. T. Archibald, G. D. Carver, N. J. Warwick, and J. A. Pyle, Reconciling the changes in atmospheric methane sources and sinks between the Last Glacial Maximum and the pre-industrial era, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, 867 L23804, doi:10.1029/2011GL049545, 2011.

Archibald, A. T., J. G. Levine, N. L. Abraham, M. C. Cooke, P. M. Edwards, D. E. Heard, M. E. Jenkin, A. Karunaharan, R. C. Pike, P. S. Monks, D. E. Shallcross, P. J. Telford, L. K. Whalley, and J. A. Pyle, Impacts of HOx regeneration and recycling in the oxidation of isoprene: Consequences for the composition of past, present and future atmospheres, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L05804, doi:10.1029/2010GL046520, 2011.

Levine, J. G., E. W. Wolff, A. E. Jones, and L. C. Sime, The role of atomic chlorine in glacial‐interglacial changes in the carbon-13 content of atmospheric methane, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L04801, doi:10.1029/2010GL046122, 2011.

Levine, J. G., E. W. Wolff, A. E. Jones, M. A. Hutterli, O. Wild, G. D. Carver, and J. A. Pyle, In search of an ice core signal to differentiate between source‐driven and sink‐driven changes in atmospheric methane, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D05305, doi:10.1029/2010JD014878, 2011.

Levine, J. G., P. Braesicke, N. R. P. Harris, and J. A. Pyle, Seasonal and inter-annual variations in troposphere-to-stratosphere transport from the tropical tropopause layer, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, doi:10.5194/acp-8-3689-2008, 2008.

Levine, J. G., P. Braesicke, N. R. P. Harris, N. H. Savage, and J. A. Pyle, Pathways and timescales for troposphere-to-stratosphere transport via the tropical tropopause layer and their relevance for very short lived substances, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D04308, doi:10.1029/2005JD006940, 2007.

Cook, P. A., N. H. Savage, S. Turquety, G. D. Carver, F. M. O'Connor, A. Heckel, D. Stewart, L. K. Whalley, A. E. Parker, H. Schlager, H. B. Singh, M. A. Avery, G. W. Sachse, W. Brune, A. Richter, J. P. Burrows, R. Purvis, A. C. Lewis, C. E. Reeves, P. S. Monks, J. G. Levine, and J. A. Pyle, Forest fire plumes over the North Atlantic: p-TOMCAT model simulations with aircraft and satellite measurements from the ITOP/ICARTT Campaign, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10S43, doi:10.1029/2006JD007563, 2007.

Braathen, G., N. Harris, and J. Levine(Eds), GMES-GATO, A European Strategy for Global Atmospheric Monitoring, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications on the European Communities, EUR 21154, ISBN 92-894-4734-6, 2004.

Harris, N. R. P., G. T. Amanatidis, and J. G. Levine(Eds), Stratospheric Ozone 2002, Proceedings to the Sixth European Symposium, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications on the European Communities, EUR 20650, ISBN 92-894-5484-9, 2003.

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