Thomas Smith

Research Associate

Research Interests:

  • Biomass burning emissions from Australian savanna and UK moorland ecosystems
  • Open-path and solar occultation FTIR field spectroscopy
  • Automatic classification of cloud cover and cloud type from LIDAR ceilometry
  • The influence of clouds and aerosols on atmospheric transmissivity

Qualifications:

  • BSc (University of Sheffield) Geography
  • MSc (King’s College London) Environmental Monitoring, Modelling & Management
  • PhD (King’s College London, in progress) Wildfire Emissions

Research:

Alongside the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the combustion of biomass in open vegetation fires is one of the key pathways by which humans directly affect Earth’s atmosphere. The gases and particulates released in biomass burning plumes have substantial short- and long-term chemical, radiative and climatic impacts, and proper assessment of their effects generally requires spatio-temporally resolved data on the makeup and magnitude of emissions sources.

The focus of my PhD is on improving our knowledge of the precise makeup and magnitude of biomass burning emissions. The initial focus of my research was on establishing the accuracy of an open-path infrared spectroscopic methodology for determining trace gas concentrations. After confirming the reliability of the method (in Smith et al., 2010), measurements made at fires during field excursions to Alberta (Canada), Northern Territory (Australia) and Northumberland (UK) have been used estimate emission factors for a variety of trace gases. My current work includes modelling total gaseous emissions from UK moorlands, establishing a method for estimating emission factors from solar occultation spectra, and linking aerosol optical depth of smoke plumes with gaseous emissions.

Publications

In Preparation:

2011

  • Smith, T.E.L., Davies, G.M., Allen, Marrs, R., Harris, M., Dold, J., and Wooster, M.J., Emissions of greenhouse gases and selected volatile organic compounds from UK moorland burning estimated using open-path FTIR spectrometry and burnt area measures.
  • Smith, T.E.L., Young, D.T., and Grimmond, C.S.B. Ceilometer observations of aerosols and clouds over London and their relationship to atmospheric transmissivity.
  • Young, D.T., Smith, T.E.L., and Grimmond, C.S.B. Mixing layer height climatology over London.


Accepted/In press:

2011

  • Wooster, M.J., Freeborn, P.H., Archibald, S., Oppenheimer, C., Roberts, G.J., Smith, T.E.L., Govender, N., Burton, M., and Palumbo, I. Field determination of biomass burning emission ratios and factors via open-path FTIR spectroscopy and fire radiative power assessment: headfire, backfire and residual smouldering combustion in African savannahs, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 11: 3529-3578, 2011.
  • Loridan, T., Grimmond, C. S. B., Offerle, B. D., Young, D. T., Smith, T. E. L., and Järvi, L. Local-scale Urban Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS): Longwave radiation parameterization and seasonality related developments, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 50(1): 185-202, 2011.

2010

  • Smith, T.E.L., Wooster, M.J., Tattaris, M., and Griffith, D.W.T., Absolute accuracy and sensitivity analysis of OP-FTIR retrievals of CO2, CH4 and CO over concentrations representative of “clean air” and “polluted plumes”,Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 4: 97-116, 2010.
  • von Bobrutzki, K., Braban, C. F., Famulari, D., Jones, S. K., Blackall, T., Smith, T. E. L., Blom, M., Coe, H., Gallagher, M., Ghalaieny, M., McGillen, M. R., Percival, C. J., Whitehead, J. D., Ellis, R., Murphy, J., Mohacsi, A., Pogany, A., Junninen, H., Rantanen, S., Sutton, M. A., and Nemitz, E.: Field inter-comparison of eleven atmospheric ammonia measurement techniques, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 3: 91-112, 2010.

Talks and Proceedings:

2011

  • Smith, T.E.L. Not just recycled sunlight: Biomass burning and its influence on global climate change,Environmental Physics Day, Institute of Physics, London, 25 May 2011.
  • Smith, T.E.L., Allen, K., Marrs, R., Harris, M., Dold, J. and Wooster, M.J. Emissions of greenhouse gasesand selected volatile organic compounds from UK moorland burning estimated using open-path FTIR spectrometry and burnt area measures.Geophysical Research Abstracts13, EGU2011-10782-1, 2011, EGU General Assembly 2011, 2011.

2010

  • Smith, T.E.L., Wooster, M.J., and Tattaris, M. Quantifying gaseous emissions from biomass burning using open-path-FTIR spectroscopy. Molecular Spectroscopy Facility Users’ Meeting, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Hanwell, 24 November 2010.
  • Smith, T.E.L. Ground-based remote sensing of savanna fires: Arnhem Land, July & October 2009. Science and technical programme workshop, Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), Darwin, Australia, 21 October 2010.
  • Smith, T.E.L. Ground-based remote sensing of rural fires: Northumberland, March 2010. FIREMAN workshop, Peak District National Park, 20 July 2010.
  • Smith, T.E.L., Wooster, M.J. and Tattaris, M. Open-Path FTIR spectroscopy of CO2, CH4 & CO: Experimental accuracy evaluation for ambient to highly polluted concentrations. Proceedings of the remote sensing and photogrammetry society conference. Remote Sensing and the Carbon Cycle, Burlington House, London, 5th May 2010, 2010.
  • Smith, T.E.L., Young, D.T., Loridan, T., Grimmond, C.S.B. QuiNimbus: Cloud Statistics for Urban Micrometerology. Adapting our cities for future climates, Royal Meteorological Society, London, 17 Febraury 2010 (poster).
  • Tattaris, M., Wooster, M.J., Smith, T.E.L., and Paugam, R. Quantifying gaseous emissions from tropical savanna fires in northern Australia using UV-DOAS and FTIR remote sensing. Proceedings of the remote sensing and photogrammetry society conference. Remote Sensing and the Carbon Cycle, Burlington House, London, 5th May 2010, 2010.
  • Dold, J., Tsitsopoulos, V., Khan, I., Scott, K., McMorrow, J., Lowe, E., Danson, F.M., Ramirez, A., Doerr, S., Bryant, T., Harris, M., Tollitt, T., Allen, K., Paugam, R., Freeborn, P., Smith, T.E.L., Davies, H., Wooster, M., Legg, C., Gibson, S., Elliott, A., Yearsley, S. Report on field experiments in Northumberland, March 2010.Proceedings of the VI International Conference on Forest Fire Research, Viegas, D.X. (Ed.), 2010.
  • Loridan, T., Grimmond, C.S.B., Offerle, B.D., Young, D.T., Smith, T.E.L., Jarvi, L., and Horn, J. LUMPS NARP an urban land surface scheme: evaluation and development of a new longwave parameterization. Adapting our cities for future climates, Royal Meteorological Society, London, 17 Febraury 2010 (poster).

2009

  • Smith, T.E.L., and Wooster, M.J. Emissivity Measurements with a Portable FTIR Spectrometer. Exploration Remote Sensing – The 20th Annual Meeting of the Geological Remote Sensing Group (GRSG), 15-17 December 2009, The Geological Society of London, 2009.
  • Beevers, S., Grimmond, C.S.B., Klostermann, J., Kotthaus, S., Smith, T.E.L., Young, D.T. Sustainable Urban Planning in London: Communities of Practice meeting in London #1 – 24 August 2009, King’s College London, 2009.

Outreach:

2011

  • Institute of Physics Environmental Physics Group essay competition: Joint Winner
    Essay title: “Not just recycled sunlight: Biomass burning and its influence on global climate change”

2010

  • Letter featured in the New Scientist book (p.182) ‘Why Can’t Elephants Jump?: and 113 more science questions answered’: ‘Apple Melt’. Published December 2010.

2009

  • Fieldwork featured on ABC Television programme Catalyst: ‘In the line of fire’, broadcasted on 29 October 2009.
  • Fieldwork featured on ABC News television programme Landline: ‘Fighting fire with fire’, broadcasted on 28 September 2009.
  • Letter featured in New Scientist 8 August 2009 (p.65): ‘The last word: Apple melt’.
  • Radio interview for ABC Radio Country Hour: ‘Ghostbusting in Arnhem Land’, broadcasted on 20 July 2009.
  • Presentation to explain the purpose of fire fieldwork to village elders and West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement stake holders, 31 July 2009.
 
E-mail: thomas.smith@kcl.ac.uk

Tel: 0207 848 1623

Fax: 0207 848 2287

Address: Department of Geography

 

CV available here