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Professor Heiko Balzter

My research

My research uses satellite Earth observation and field survey methods to map and monitor the impacts of humans on Earth. Using space data, I have discovered how forest fires in Siberia are on the increase due to climate change and human pressures, how algal blooms in Europe’s largest lake, Lake Balaton, develop over time, and how satellites can be used to monitor and protect the world’s forests. As a physical geographer I travel a lot and I have seen remote and exciting places including in South Africa, Iraq, the Congo, Brazil, Thailand, Japan and the Swedish arctic.

My journey

My family has been very supportive of my career, and they benefited by accompanying me to beautiful and interesting places e.g. Lake Maggiore and Lake Balaton. It has not always been straightforward, though. When I got the Chair at Leicester, I tried commuting from Cambridgeshire. Eventually, we had to move which was tough. It took years for everyone to get settled again. Travelling means I sometimes miss out on family life and parenting. I am the main breadwinner and Judith is the primary carer for our kids, which is a division of responsibilities neither of us wanted.

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