Dr Alona Armstrong

Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Sciences

Research Interests

Alona is a terrestrial carbon cycling scientist, working at the interface of biochemistry, hydrology and ecology. Predominantly a field scientist, but is also seen in the laboratory and sat behind a desk doing some modelling. Her research spans from furthering understanding of the controls on soil erosion and terrestrial carbon cycling to the effects of land management. More recently, Alona has focused on the effects of hosting land-based renewables on terrestrial carbon cycling.

One of Alona’s current projects examines the effects of wind turbines on the microclimate and the implications for peatland carbon cycling. Since spending many days getting cold and wet on a peat bog, her new focus has shifted to the sunnier climes of solar parks. Within this research she is establishing the microclimatic effects of solar arrays and the subsequent changes in soil conditions and carbon cycling, including the potential to double crop food and energy. This research takes a positive approach – how can we deploy renewables in our landscape for maximum benefit?

You can read her opinion paper on the affect of terrestrial renewables on the microclimate and carbon cycling here, her paper on the affects of wind farms on the microclimate here and finally her paper on the affect of solar parks on grasslands here (all free to download). The website for her NERC Solar Park Impacts on Ecosystem Services (SPIES) innovation project is here and a short animation can be found here.

She’s also written a piece on the concept behind some of her research for The Guardian Sustainable Business section, which can be found here, her research has been featured on the BBC news website, here, and was included in the European Commission Science for Environment Policy newsletter, here.

Alona is a member of Energy Lancaster, and the Plant, Soil and Land Systems research group.


Alona is LEC's policy interaction officer. Within this role she is working to increase the dissemination of LEC research into policy, primarily through the House of Commons.


Alona supervises undergraduate and masters dissertation students and is running two undergraduate modules with an energy focus:

LEC282 Energy, Economy & Environment

LEC382 Energy: Controversies & Decision-Making

Kinetics of extraction and in situ transesterification of oils from spent coffee grounds
Najdanovic, V., Yee-Lam Lee, L., Tavares, M., Armstrong, A.B. 06/2017 In: Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 5, 3, p. 2611-2616. 6 p.
Journal article

Solar park microclimate and vegetation management effects on grassland carbon cycling
Armstrong, A.B., Ostle, N.J., Whitaker, J. 13/07/2016 In: Environmental Research Letters. 11, 7, 11 p.
Journal article

Ground-level climate at a peatland wind farm in Scotland is affected by wind turbine operation
Armstrong, A.B., Burton, R., Lee, S., Mobbs, S., Ostle, N.J., Smith, V., Waldron, S., Whitaker, J. 22/04/2016 In: Environmental Research Letters. 11, 4, 8 p.

Biotic and abiotic factors interact to regulate Northern peatland carbon cycling
Armstrong, A., Waldron, S., Ostle, N.J., Richardson, H., Whitaker, J. 12/2015 In: Ecosystems. 18, 8, p. 1395-1409. 15 p.
Journal article

Research agendas for the sustainable management of tropical peatland in Malaysia
Padfield, R., Waldron, S., Drew, S., Papargyropoulou, E., Kumaran, S., Page, S., Gilvear, D., Armstrong, A., Evers, S., Williams, P., Zakaria, Z., Chin, S.Y., Hansen, S.B., Campos-Arceiz, A., Latif, M.T., Sayok, A., Tham, M.H. 03/2015 In: Environmental Conservation. 42, 1, p. 73-83. 11 p.
Journal article

Wind farm and solar park effects on plant–soil carbon cycling: uncertain impacts of changes in ground-level microclimate
Armstrong, A., Waldron, S., Whitaker, J., Ostle, N. 06/2014 In: Global Change Biology. 20, 6, p. 1699-1706. 8 p.
Journal article

The price of knowledge in the knowledge economy: Should development of peatland in the UK support a research levy?
Drew, S., Waldron, S., Gilvear, D., Grieve, I., Armstrong, A., Bragg, O., Brewis, F., Cooper, M., Dargie, T., Duncan, C., Harris, L., Wilson, L., McIver, C., Padfield, R., Shah, N. 1/05/2013 In: Land Use Policy. 32, p. 50-60. 11 p.
Journal article

Thermal enhancement of natural magnetism as a tool for tracing eroded soil
Armstrong, A., Quinton, J., Maher, B. 11/2012 In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 37, 14, 6 p.

Multi-scale relationship between peatland vegetation type and dissolved organic carbon concentration
Armstrong, A., Holden, J., Luxton, K., Quinton, J.N. 10/2012 In: Ecological Engineering. 47, p. 182-188. 7 p.
Journal article

Effects of soil compaction, rain exposure and their interaction on soil carbon dioxide emission
Novara, A., Armstrong, A., Gristina, L., Semple, K.T., Quinton, J.N. 07/2012 In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 37, 9, p. 994-999. 6 p.
Journal article

Processes controlling the development of a shielding layer on natural soil
Armstrong, A., Quinton, J., Heng, B.C.P., Sander, G.C. 02/2012 In: European Journal of Soil Science. 63, 1, p. 54-64. 11 p.
Journal article

Controls over nutrient dynamics in overland flows on slopes representative of agricultural land in North West Europe
Armstrong, A., Quinton, J.N., Francis, B., Heng, B.C.P., Sander, G.C. 15/08/2011 In: Geoderma. 164, 1-2, p. 2-10. 9 p.
Journal article

The impact of drain blocking on an upland blanket bog during storm and drought events, and the importance of sampling-scale
Wilson, L., Wilson, J., Holden, J., Johnstone, I., Armstrong, A., Morris, M. 11/07/2011 In: Journal of Hydrology. 404, 3-4, p. 198-208. 11 p.
Journal article

Ditch blocking, water chemistry and organic carbon flux: Evidence that blanket bog restoration reduces erosion and fluvial carbon loss
Wilson, L., Wilson, J., Holden, J., Johnstone, I., Armstrong, A., Morris, M. 1/05/2011 In: Science of the Total Environment. 409, 11, p. 2010-2018. 9 p.
Journal article

Modeling the dynamics of soil erosion and size-selective sediment transport over nonuniform topography in flume-scale experiments
Heng, B.C.P., Sander, G.C., Armstrong, A., Quinton, J., Chandler, J.H., Scott, C.F. 10/02/2011 In: Water Resources Research. 47, 2, 11 p.
Journal article

Variability of interrill erosion at low slopes
Armstrong, A., Quinton, J.N., Heng, B.C.P., Chandler, J.H. 01/2011 In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 36, 1, p. 97-106. 10 p.
Journal article

Recovery of water tables in Welsh blanket bog after drain blocking: Discharge rates, time scales and the influence of local conditions
Wilson, L., Wilson, J., Holden, J., Johnstone, I., Armstrong, A., Morris, M. 24/09/2010 In: Journal of Hydrology. 391, 3-4, p. 377-386. 10 p.
Journal article

Applying close range digital photogrammetry in soil erosion studies
Heng, B.C.P., Chandler, J.H., Armstrong, A. 09/2010 In: The Photogrammetric Record. 25, 131, p. 240-265. 26 p.
Journal article

The impact of peatland drain-blocking on dissolved organic carbon loss and discolouration of water : results from a national survey.
Armstrong, A., Holden, J., Kay, P., Francis, B., Foulger, M., Gledhill, S., McDonald, A., Walker, A. 5/02/2010 In: Journal of Hydrology. 381, 1-2, p. 112-120. 9 p.
Journal article

Drain-blocking techniques on blanket peat : a framework for best practice.
Armstrong, A., Holden, J., Kay, P., Foulger, M., Gledhill, S., McDonald, A., Walker, A. 08/2009 In: Journal of Environmental Management. 90, 11, p. 3512-3519. 8 p.
Journal article

Pumped rainfall simulators: the impact of rain pulses on sediment concentration and size.
Armstrong, A., Quinton, J. 07/2009 In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 34, 9, p. 1310-1314. 5 p.
Journal article

A pilot study of the efficacy of residuum lodges for managing sediment delivery to impoundment reservoirs.
Kay, P., Armstrong, A., McDonald, A., Parsons, D., Best, J., Peakall, J., Walker, A., Foulger, M., Clements, S. 03/2009 In: Water and Environment Journal. 23, 1, p. 52-62. 11 p.
Journal article

Fitting concentration and load rating curves with generalized linear models.
Cox, N.J., Warburton, J., Armstrong, A., Holliday, V.J. 01/2008 In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 33, 1, p. 25-39. 15 p.
Journal article

Predicting the future carbon budget of an upland peat catchment.
Worrall, F., Burt, T., Adamson, J., Reed, M., Warburton, J., Armstrong, A., Evans, M. 11/2007 In: Climatic Change. 85, 1-2, p. 139-158. 20 p.
Journal article

The effects of burning and sheep-grazing on water table depth and soil water quality in a upland peat.
Worrall, F., Armstrong, A., Adamson, J. 10/06/2007 In: Journal of Hydrology. 339, 1-2, p. 1-14. 14 p.
Journal article

Short-term impact of peat drain-blocking on water colour, dissolved organic carbon concentration, and water table depth.
Worrall, F., Armstrong, A., Holden, J. 30/04/2007 In: Journal of Hydrology. 337, 3-4, p. 315-325. 11 p.
Journal article