News archive 2008
Knowledge Transfer first for King’s08 Dec 2008, PR 260/08
A team from the King’s Department of Geography have won the Environmental Sciences Award of the first-ever London Knowledge Transfer Awards, sponsored by the London Development Agency, for a project estimating biomass burning smoke emissions from geostationary satellites.
Supported by the London Development Agency (LDA), the Awards seek to recognise London’s innovation in the business arena and are open to all businesses and knowledge base organisations located within the City.
The successful King’s College London team includes Professor Martin Wooster, Chair of Earth Observation Science, and King’s researchers Dr Gareth Roberts, Dr Weidong Xu and Mr Patrick Freeborn, together with scientific computing specialist Dr Jiang-Ping He.
The external knowledge transfer partners were based at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) and the Met Office, with major inputs from the satellite operator EUMETSAT and their Land Surface Analysis Satellite Applications Facility.
Real time product
Professor Wooster comments: ‘The award was based on the realization of our original Natural Environment Research Council-funded idea to generate biomass burning emissions information from geostationary meteorological satellites, and then more recently in turning that into a real time product to help with operational and pre-operational atmospheric forecasting services for the public run by the ECMWF and the Met Office.
‘These include health-related services based on providing short-term forecasts of air pollution in Europe due to forest fires, such as those that ravaged parts of Greece in the summer of 2007 and which affected tens of millions of Europeans in terms of significantly decreased air quality.’
The approach developed by this project provides the first estimates of biomass burning smoke emissions over Europe and Africa available in almost real-time, and its commencement to other areas (America’s and Asia) will follow using data from US and Asian satellites that cover those regions. Furthermore, providing forecasting organizations access to real-time smoke emissions data within an hour of a fire’s commencement provides the means to include biomass burning effects in operational schemes predicting the chemical state of the atmosphere, which up to now have more concentrated on industrial pollutant emissions and have mostly included fire emissions from historical inventories only.
Dr Alison Campbell, Managing Director, King’s College London Business Ltd, notes: ‘This award demonstrates that innovation is firmly embedded within King’s and reflects the exciting and relevant research undertaken within the School of Social Sciences & Public Policy.’
In August this year, research led by Professor Wooster into forest fires and a smoke pollution monitoring system for Asia won funding from Innovation China-UK (ICUK).
The Award Ceremony was held at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington on Friday 5 December. There were six individual categories. For more information visit the London Knowledge Transfer Awards website.
The Environmental Sciences Award was established to acknowledge successful activities in the arena of the environmental sciences including: climate change, environmental influences on human health, and the genetic make-up of life on earth.
Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the application had to demonstrate the influence of the knowledge transfer in as broad a sense as possible to include the economic impact, any impacts upon quality of life for users.
[Image: Fire affected areas, southern Greece, August 2007]
Notes to editors
Professor Martin Wooster
Professor Wooster has led the study of wildfires and other global biomass burning using new satellite-based approaches in order to better quantify fire-related emissions of carbon, trace gases and aerosols to the global atmosphere. He was the King’s College London Young Researcher of the Year for 2007.
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has 19,700 students from more than 150 countries, and 5,400 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of approximately £450 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – a total unsurpassed by any other university.
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