Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Walter Clarence Oechel

Professor Walter Clarence Oechel

Profile summary

  • Visiting Informal Academic
  • Visiting Professor
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Environment, Earth & Ecosystem Sciences

Professional biography


I am Professor in Biosphere Atmosphere Exchange at Open University, UK. My research focuses on developing a predictive capability and understanding the impacts and feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems on global change. I am focussed primarily in the Arctic (Alaska, Russia), in Indonesia, and the semi-arid ecosystems of Italy, France, Mexico, and California with funding of $45 million over the last 30 years.  
I am a Highly Cited Researcher, and am listed in Reuters “The World’s Most Influential Minds 2014” and have over 250 ISI publications, more than 12,000 citations and an H index of 54. 
In the last 10 years, I have published in 62 publications in peer-reviewed international journals, of which 44 were in high impact journals (IF>3.) including: Global Change Biology (10), Agricultural and Forest Meteorology  (6), Climatic Change (1), Global Biogeochemical Cycles (2), Ecosystems (1),  Environmental Microbiology (1), Global Biogeochemical Cycling (2), Oecologia (1), Science (1). My journal papers have been cited a total of 12,593 times and my average citation per item is 64. The most cited paper has been cited 1148 times.


Research interests

Eddy Covariance tower measuring CO2 flux, evapotranspiration, and energy budget of a Larrea-Cardon desert ecosystem near La Paz, BCS, Mexico in collaboration with CIBNOR (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste).

I employ a wide range of approaches in my research including measuring greenhouse gas fluxes from chambers, eddy covariance 
towers, flux aircraft, and ships.  I have led in the development of free air CO2 enrichment facility development (FACE) and aircraft flux technology.

Graduate research opportunities exist in a number of areas.  These include the spatial and temporal controls on CO2 and CH4 emissions from the Arctic and feedbacks on global warming; the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean-ecosystems of southern France, California, Baja California Sur, Mexico.  Opportunities also exist in understanding the impact of climate and land use change on greenhouse gas fluxes in Borneo and the Amazon.  Research opportunities scale from fine scale, plot based measurements to eddy covariance tower, aircraft, and boat based flux measurements and remote sensing and GIS.

Photo above, on the right: Eddy Covariance tower measuring CO2 flux, evapotranspiration, and energy budget of a Larrea-Cardon desert ecosystem near La Paz, BCS, Mexico in collaboration with CIBNOR (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste).



Photo above:  Visiting master’s student Ali Hoy, from UC Davis, working one of 5 Arctic eddy covariance towers near Barrow, Alaska. This research project is determining the change in the fluxes of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) and their positive feedbacks with global warming in the Arctic.


Photo in the top banner: Ali Hoy, UC Davis Master’s student, and Professor Oechel, installing a new, state-of-the-art system to determine CO2 and CH4 fluxes through the soil and winter snow layer using CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the soil and the emission and concentrations of radon in the Arctic near Barrow, Alaska.



Impact and engagement

I am currently PI and Co-PI on more than $3M in funding from the US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and NASA (JPL CARVE).  I have been PI on more than $45 M in Funding in the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe.



Meet our Academics

Head and shoulders of male OU academic

In addition to teaching on Open University modules our academics are engaged in ground breaking research that benefits individuals and society.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome