Research Associate - Earth Observation and Wildfire

London (Greater)
£38,304 - £39,345 per annum including London Weighting Allowance
07 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
15 Jan 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The postholder will work collaboratively with others in the Earth Observation and Wildfire Research Group at King’s College London, primarily on projects involving the remote sensing of biomass burning from Earth Observation satellites. The specific project that will form the bulk of the work is the ‘Pollution and Climate Smart Agriculture in China (PaCSAC)’ project, which is a collaboration between University of York, University of Leeds, STFC-RAL and King’s, together with overseas partners in China and elsewhere. The PaCSAC project is funded through the STFC Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) programme and is focused upon the two-way interaction between agriculture and air pollution, with a focus on China but also application elsewhere.  King’s role includes the generation of an agricultural emissions inventory that will be used within AQ modelling that will be conducted within the programme, and one aspect of this inventory will be to exploit and evaluate new methods of assessing agricultural fire emissions of gases and particultes – including the use of satellite fire radiative power observations and potentially high spatial resolution burned area data as well. This inventory will be combined with those from other sectors (e.g. industry) to be generated by other partners or provided from other sources in order to inform the air quality modelling. Other aspects of work at King’s involve generating new emissions factors measurements for Chinese agricultural biomass burning, through the deployment of instrumentation in the field at the time of the fires but also through experiments in the groups ‘wildfire testing (combustion) chamber”, which is based just outside London.  Finally there will be work looking at the spatio-temporal patterns of aerosol concentrations at the time of fires using networks of small sensors, and using this to evaluate models. The postholder can get involved in all aspects of the work depending on their skill-set and the time available, but the satellite remote sensing aspects will be their primary focus.  The postholder will also be expected to get involved with other aspects of satellite remote sensing within the group that strong complement the PaCSAC project activity.

Key responsibilities

  • Support use of satellite remote sensing in providing fire emissions estimates, both the the PaCSAC project and to wider activities within the Earth Observation and Wildfire Research Group, 
  • to lead day to day work on the ‘emissions inventory’ development for PaCSAC, brining together the agricultural fire emissions inventory to be developed by King’s with existing inventories from other sectors and with new information on gaseous and particulate emissions to the atmosphere generated by the project partners 
  • Contribute to undertaking lab-based and field-based measurements of smoke and fires to be undertaken within PaCSAC as required, and to the analysis of these data. 

 The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  • PhD in relevant science subject or awaiting award of PhD
  • Experienced in the manipulation of satellite remote sensing and other geographical and time-series data in Python  
  • Ability to produce publication quality research and to communicate this effectively 

Desirable criteria

Experience of work related to biomass burning, air quality and/or emissions inventories and links to atmospheric modelling

*Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 18 months.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.

The post will be based in Bush House, on King’s Campus in Central London. Remote working from home is currently in operation. Meetings and fieldtrips in China are a possibility later in the project.

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.