Photo of Dr Sophie Cowie

Dr Sophie Cowie

Research Fellow


Telephone: 01392 725287

Extension: (Streatham) 5287

About Me

My background lies firmly in atmospheric science, but I have been fortunate enough to have had opportunities to apply my skills to a wide variety of projects in both industry and academia, such as:

  • monitoring the quality of satellite data products
  • researching Saharan dust storms (PhD)
  • developing analytics for “smart” cities
  • creating a metric for “social health” from social media using the latest techniques in machine learning and text analysis.

Current Research

My current Post-doc position is funded by the ESRC project titled "Social sensing of health and wellbeing impacts from pollen and air pollution", led by Hywel Williams. My role is to adapt the existing social-sensing methodology, currently designed to detect natural hazards, to detect users experiencing hayfever and asthma symptoms, and find innovative methods to indirectly infer pollen levels from this new data set. I'm also interested in the ethics part of the project, whereby the question is posed: "just because we can do it, does this mean we should do it?". To answer this, we gather data on public perception and opinion of using their social media data for the purposes of public and private organisations.


  • 2010 - 2014: PhD in Meteorology, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds
  • 2005 - 2009: BSc Meteorology and Oceanography with a Year in Industry (1st Class Honours), School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.


  • Cowie, S.M., Marsham, J.H. and Knippertz, P., 2015. The importance of rare, high-wind events for dust uplift in northern Africa. Geophysical research letters, 42(19), pp.8208-8215.
  • Cowie, S.M., Knippertz, P. and Marsham, J.H., 2013. Are vegetation-related roughness changes the cause of the recent decrease in dust emission from the Sahel?. Geophysical research letters, 40(9), pp.1868-1872.
  • Newton, B., Cowie, S., Rijks, D., Banks, J., Brindley, H. and Marsham, J.H., 2014. Solar cooking in the sahel. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(9), pp.1325-1328.
  • Cowie, S.M., Knippertz, P. and Marsham, J.H., 2014. A climatology of dust emission events from northern Africa using long-term surface observations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(16), pp.8579-8597.