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Personal profile


After obtaining a PhD in 1991, Pete Smith worked as a Higher- then Senior-Scientific Officer at the MAFF Central Science Laboratory until 1994. He then worked as a Band 6 and Band 5 Senior Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research before joining the University of Aberdeen as a Senior Lecturer in 2001.

He became a Reader in 2003, and Professor of Soils & Global Change in 2005. His main areas of expertise are in modelling greenhouse gas / carbon mitigation, bioenergy, biological carbon sequestration, global food systems modelling and greenhouse gas removal technologies.

He is co-leader with Prof Jo Smith of the Environmental Modelling Group  (2 Academic staff, 2 Senior Reseatch Fellows, 18 Post-docs, 19 PhDs). He is also Science Director of Scotland's Climate Change Centre of Expertise (www.climatexchange.org.uk), and was Director of Food Systems of the Scottish Food Security Alliance-Crops (www.sfsa-crops.org), and Theme Leader of the University-wide theme, Environment and Food Security (www.abdn.ac.uk/environment-food-security/), until 2015. He is editor for Global Change Biology and Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

He was a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award holder (2008-2013), Royal Society Research Fellow (2008-2013), and is a Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB; elected 2008), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE; elected 2009), a Rothamsted Research Fellow (2010-2015) and Fellow of the Royal Society (London; elected 2017).

Research Interests:

Global change impacts on ecosystems, soils, agricultural and land based options to mitigate climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental and agricultural sustainability, global carbon cycle, ecosystem modelling, food security, ecosystem services, bioenergy (including BECCS)

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Research Output

Abundance changes of marsh plant species over 40 years are better explained by niche position water level than functional traits

Lou, Y., Kapfer, J., Smith, P., Liu, Y., Jiang, M., Lu, X. & Ashcrof, M., 3 Jul 2020, In : Ecological Indicators. 117, 7 p., 106639.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Achieving Net Zero emissions: The oil and gas industry is a major component of the solution

    Hastings, A. & Smith, P., 12 May 2020, p. 1-7. 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    A deep dive into the modelling assumptions for biomass with carbon capture and storage (BECCS): A transparency exercise

    Butnar, I., Li, P. H., Strachan, N., Portugal Pereira, J., Gambhir, A. & Smith, P., Aug 2020, In : Environmental Research Letters. 15, 8, 16 p., 084008.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Changes in soil organic carbon under perennial crops

    Ledo, A., Smith, P., Zerihun, A., Whitaker, J., Vicente-Vicente, J. L., Qin, Z., McNamara, N. P., Zinn, Y. L., Llorente, M., Liebig, M., Kuhnert, M., Dondini, M., Don, A., Diaz-Pines, E., Datta, A., Bakka, H., Aguilera, E. & Hillier, J., Jul 2020, In : Global Change Biology. 26, 7, p. 4158-4168 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)


    The paleoclimatic footprint in the soil carbon stock of the Tibetan permafrost region

    Ding, J. (Creator), Wang, T. (Creator), Piao, S. (Creator), Smith, P. (Creator), Zhang, G. (Creator), Yan, Z. (Creator), Ren, S. (Creator), Liu, D. (Creator), Wang, S. (Creator), Chen, S. (Creator), Dai, F. (Creator), He, J. (Creator), Liu, Y. (Creator), Mao, J. (Creator), Arain, A. (Creator), Tian, H. (Creator), Shi, X. (Creator), Yang, Y. (Creator), Zeng, N. (Creator) & Zhao, L. (Creator), Figshare, 16 Aug 2019


    Press / Media

    Removing CO2 from the atmosphere won’t save us: we have to cut emissions now

    Pete Smith


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'


    Fellow of the Royal Society

    Smith, Pete (Recipient), 5 May 2017

    Prize: Election to learned society

  • Philippe Duchaufour Medal of European GeoSciences Union (EGU)

    Smith, Pete (Recipient), 25 Apr 2017

    Prize: Awards, Distinctions, Medals, and Prizes

  • Impacts

    Carbon-calculating: the development of Scottish Windfarms

    Joanne Smith (Coordinator), Pete Smith (Coordinator) & Dali Nayak (Coordinator)

    Impact: Quality of life Impacts

    Inorganic arsenic in rice bran and its products are an order of magnitude

    Pete Smith (Coordinator), Jon Hillier (Coordinator) & Joanne Smith (Coordinator)

    Impact: Quality of life Impacts