Post-doctoral opportunity: Research Associate in Wildfire Smoke Analysis / Infrared Spectroscopy

Post-doctoral opportunity: Research Associate in Wildfire Smoke Analysis / Infrared Spectroscopy

 £40,386 – £47,414 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
 Social Science & Public Policy
 Department of Geography
 Martin Wooster,
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Job description

The researcher will join the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires Environment and Society  and be based within the vibrant, multi-disciplinary Earth Observation and Wildfire Research Group at King’s College London.  They will work primarily on the measurement of smoke from landscape fires, using for infrared spectroscopy to probe the gases contained in smoke and aerosol measurements of the particulates e.g. from peatland burns, agricultural burning, boreal forest fires and others.  This will be conducted using a combination of fieldwork, laboratory combustion chamber burns with FTIR spectrometers, airborne measurements, and use of satellite products for example those relating to atmospheric aerosols from MODIS, SLSTR and VIIRS and trace gases from Sentinel-5P. We also have a TELOPS Hypercam system to deploy on this topic. The aim is to provide updated smoke emissions factors for some of these fuels and biomes, to understand how these may change over time and space, and to then use these data along with other information to quantify the impact that fire emissions may have. Optimisation of the retrieval process for different chemicals within the smoke using the Telops, Bruker Matrix and Bruker EM27 FTIR systems and their associated retrieval software will be one early focus. Collaboration with other members of NCEO and also international collaborators is essential, and there are opportunities to contribute to research being conducted by other group members within King’s. Some of the work can take place in our Central London office, but some will be confined to our labs at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden).
This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract for 24 months.

Key responsibilities

  • Evaluation and improvement of the infrared-retrievals made using the Telops and Bruker FTIR systems of the trace gases present in smoke (hardware and software exists but the latter’s parameters need optimisation and testing)
  • Utilization of satellite products related to fire impacts on atmospheric composition and chemistry
  • Preparation of equipment for laboratory and field campaigns related to fire emissions and participation on those campaigns
  • Analysis of ground-based in situ, airborne remote sensing and airborne in situ data related to wildfire smoke (trace gases and aerosols)
  • Collaborating on wider group science and associated activities related to wildfires, and the development of new science areas related to landscape fire smoke
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
1.       PhD* involving Earth Observation and/or atmospheric science, ideally including atmospheric chemistry and IR spectroscopy
2.       Some understanding of wildfire smoke composition and its variability
3.       Good computing skills, ideally including Python
4.       Experience using scientific instrumentation in a laboratory and/or field setting
5.       Ability to write scientific papers
Desirable criteria
1.       Experience on international collaborative projects
2.       Ability to work both individually and in a team
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.
The selection process will include providing example of your written scientific work (e.g. report or paper), an interview and presentation, and a small coding task.

King’s College London is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, Disability Confident Level 1 Committed and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.