Professor Rob MacKenzie PhD FRSC

Rob MacKenzie

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research
Professor of Atmospheric Science

Contact details

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

60 second video iconRob MacKenzie is an atmospheric scientist with a particular interest in how plants affect air composition. Watch a video of him describing one aspect of his research in 60 seconds by clicking on the play icon above. 

As a result of a £15M grant, the University of Birmingham has set up the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), of which Rob is delighted to be inaugural Director. BIFoR will focus on two linked challenges: the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands; and the resilience of trees to pests and diseases (so Rob is learning Biology and Ecology!).

Rob is developing a broader understanding of urban systems and their resilience, particularly urban green infrastructure, as discussed in an informal essay featured on the Institute of Advanced Studies' Saving Humans website.


  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Chemistry, Edinburgh, 1986
  • PhD “Small System Modelling of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer”, Essex, 1989


Rob currently does no class-based teaching but does supervise PhD and MSc projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Rob MacKenzie is interested in how plants affect air composition. He is inaugural Director of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), and leads the work at the BIFoR Free-Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) facility.

In particular, his group develops atmospheric chemistry models. The group continues to develop the CiTTyCAT atmospheric chemistry model and has applied it to remote and polluted environments. The group is interested in developing tools for urban planners and regulators. One such tool is the Urban Tree Air Quality Score. The group is currently working with a wide range of other researchers to study the interdisciplinary problems associated with urban regeneration. The project -Urban Futures- uses scenario/futures analysis to establish the robustness of measures put in place today in the name of sustainability. The project also includes detailed disciplinary work on urban air quality.

Rob MacKenzie has supervised over 20 PhD students and he is currently Principal Investigator of the Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship Programme of the Leverhulme Trust.

Other activities

Rob MacKenzie has served the scientific community in a variety of ways, including:

  • Member of the NERC Pool of Chairs (2010 - 2013). 
  • Member, Birmingham City Council Smart City Commission (2012-2013)
  • Associate editor for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and has acted as editor for 5 special sections of the journal.
  • Reviewer for the European Commission (2006 -2008), including acting as project evaluator for the AMMA-EU Framework VI project
  • Executive Committee member of the SCOUT-O3 integrated project (2004 - 2009)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Economic Interest Grouping that ran the scientific programme of the Geophysica research aircraft (2000 - 2006)
  • Secretary to the Atmospheric Chemistry Specialist Group of the Royal Meteorological Society (1994 – 1998)
  • External examiner, University of Leeds MRes “Physics of the Earth and Environment” (2003 - 2007)


Recent publications


Abdulrasheed, M, MacKenzie, AR, Whyatt, D & Chapman, L 2020, 'Allometric scaling of thermal infrared emitted from UK cities and its relation to urban form City and Environment Interactions', City and Environment Interactions.

Zhong, J, Nikolova, I, Cai, X, Mackenzie, AR, Alam, MS, Xu, R, Singh, A & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Neighbourhood-scale dispersion of traffic-induced ultrafine particles in central London: WRF large eddy simulations', Environmental Pollution, vol. 266, 115223.

Zhong, J, Nikolova, I, Cai, X, MacKenzie, AR, Alam, S, Xu, R, Singh, A & Harrison, R 2020, 'Traffic-induced multicomponent ultrafine particle microphysics in the WRF v3.6.1 large eddy simulation model: general behaviour from idealised scenarios at the neighbourhood-scale', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 223, 117213.

Hewitt, CN, Ashworth, K & MacKenzie, AR 2020, 'Using green infrastructure to improve urban air quality (GI4AQ)', Ambio, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 62-73.

Fawole, OG, Cai, X, Pinker, RT & Mackenzie, AR 2019, 'Analysis of radiative properties and direct radiative forcing estimates of dominant aerosol clusters over an urban-desert region in West Africa', Aerosol and Air Quality Research, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 38-48.,

Hart, KM, Curioni, G, Blaen, P, Harper, NJ, Miles, P, Lewin, KF, Nagy, J, Bannister, EJ, Cai, XM, Thomas, RM, Krause, S, Tausz, M & MacKenzie, AR 2019, 'Characteristics of free air carbon dioxide enrichment of a northern temperate mature forest', Global Change Biology.

Fawole, O, Cai, X, Abiye, O & Mackenzie, A 2019, 'Dispersion of gas flaring emissions in the Niger delta: Impact of prevailing meteorological conditions and flare characteristics', Environmental Pollution, vol. 246, pp. 284-293.

Alam, S, Nikolova, I, Singh, A, MacKenzie, AR & Harrison, R 2019, 'Experimental vapour pressures of eight n-Alkanes (C17, C18, C20, C22, C24, C26, C28 and C31) at ambient temperatures', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 213, pp. 739-745.

Mackenzie, AR, Whyatt, JD, Barnes, MJ, Davies, G & Hewitt, CN 2019, 'Urban form strongly mediates the allometric scaling of airshed pollution concentrations', Environmental Research Letters, vol. 14, no. 12, pp. 124078.

Thomas, R, Mackenzie, A, Reynolds, S, Sadler, J, Cropley, F, Bell, S, Dugdale, S, Chapman, L, Quinn, A & Cai, X 2018, 'Avian Sensor Packages for Meteorological Measurements', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 499-511.

Harrison, RM, Mackenzie, A, Xu, H, Alam, MS, Nikolova, I, Zhong, J, Singh, A, Zeraati-Rezaei, S, Stark, C, Beddows, DCS, Liang, Z, Xu, R & Cai, X 2018, 'Diesel exhaust nanoparticles and their behaviour in the atmosphere', Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, vol. 474, no. 2220, 20180492.

Rap, A, Scott, CE, Reddington, CL, Mercado, L, Ellis, RJ, Garraway, S, Evans, MJ, Beerling, DJ, MacKenzie, AR, Hewitt, CN & Spracklen, DV 2018, 'Enhanced global primary production by biogenic aerosol via diffuse radiation fertilization', Nature Geoscience, vol. 11, no. 9, pp. 640-644.

Conference contribution

Sadler, J, Thomas, R, Cropley, F, MacKenzie, AR & Reynolds, J 2018, Assessment and deployment of bird-carried meteorological sensors for microclimate measurements in urban terrain. in Geophysical Research Abstracts (GRA). vol. 20, 16288, European Geosciences Union, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, Austria, 8/04/18. <>

Thomas, R, Cropley, F, MacKenzie, AR, Reynolds, J, Sadler, J, Chapman, L, Quinn, A, Zhong, J & Cai, X 2018, From the shed to the skies: a journey of sensor development and deployment involving bicycles, drones and eagles. in Geophysical Research Abstracts. vol. 20, 16720, European Geosciences Union, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, Austria, 8/04/18. <>

Other report

Sakamoto Ferranti, E, Mackenzie, A, Ashworth, K & Hewitt, N 2018, First Steps in Air Quality for Built Environment Practitioners. Birmingham Institute of Forest Research and the School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Science of the University of Birmingham, Lancaster Environment Centre of Lancaster University, and TDAG. <>

View all publications in research portal


air pollution; urban sustainability; green infrastructure; temperate forests and climate; tropical land-use and climate