22. April 2024

Lake expert wins the 2024 Earth Observation Excellence Award

Winner, Iestyn Woolway, spent his ESA Research Fellowship with the ESA Climate Office in Oxfordshire, UK

ESA research fellow, Iestyn Woolway, has been recently selected as the winner of the ESA 2024 Earth Observation Excellence Award for his outstanding contributions to the innovative application of Earth observation data.

His research focuses on the physics and hydrology of lakes worldwide and their connections to climate through a combined use of space-based observations, in-situ data, and modelling techniques to measure water temperature, evaporation, and ice cover in lakes.

The award celebrates early-career stage researchers who have made remarkable contributions to the pioneering use of Earth observation data. Dr Woolway will receive up to €35,000 to advance his research.

According to the judges, Dr Woolway’s publication record is remarkable, having published 80 peer-reviewed publications after only 8 years following the award of his PhD.

Now of Bangor University in the UK, Dr. Woolway developed novel ideas in the use of satellite Earth Observation data in lake science including introducing the concept of lake “heatwaves" during 2020 and 2021 as an ESA Research Fellow at the ESA Climate Office in Oxfordshire.

During his time at ESA he published studies in Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communication, Nature Geosciences that exploited the long-term lake satellite records developed by the ESA Climate Change Initiative Lake project team. His work while at ESA included assessing the impact of rising water temperature on species distribution and abundance and evidence of anthropogenic emissions on lake surface temperatures with this latter included the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability section of the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report.

Dr. Woolway continues his involvement with ESA undertaking dedicated activities as part of the Climate Change Initiative lakes project, with a focus on Africa.

His selection as the winner of the 2024 Earth Observation Excellence Award highlights his exceptional research achievements. A celebration for the winner will take place during ESA’s Living Planet Symposium in June 2025.