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Dr Thomas Smith

Dr Thomas Smith

Tom-SmithLecturer in Physical & Environmental Geography


Tel: +44 (20) 7848 2525

Department of Geography 
King’s College London  
K7.47 King's Building 
Strand Campus

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
  • Using remote sensing and fire spread modelling to improve wildfire training within the UK Fire and Rescue Services


Tom joined the Department as a Lecturer in Physical & Environmental Geography in April 2013. Tom’s interest in physical geography developed following a fieldtrip to the Isle of Arran in October 2002 during his A level studies at King Edward VI Aston School in Birmingham. Tom continued to study geography as an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, receiving a First Class BSc degree as well as the Hart Prize in Physical Geography in 2006. He later worked for a year as a teaching assistant at Park View School in Birmingham.

In 2007, Tom was awarded a NERC fully funded studentship and a Mercers Company Educational Grant to embark on the Masters in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Management at King’s, achieving a distinction and the Peter Balchin Prize for the best dissertation. Tom began his PhD at King’s in 2008, supported by a full NERC-ESRC interdisciplinary studentship. His PhD research investigated novel techniques for measuring biomass burning emissions, evaluating these methodologies and applying them to study emissions from fires in Canada, Australia and the UK. Since completing his doctorate in 2012, Tom has continued to explore opportunities to measure biomass burning emissions, extending his scope to the tropical peatlands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. He has given talks at the EGU and at various institutions in Australia, Brunei and the UK.

In addition to biomass burning research, Tom is a keen proponent of Knowledge Exchange activity. Supported by a NERC Knowledge Exchange grant, he has been working closely with Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service and various other Fire & Rescue Services in the UK to incorporate the use of airborne remote sensing and fire spread modelling in wildfire fire fighter training programmes. Tom’s work with Northumberland FRS has been used by numerous FRS’s, including Durham & Darlington, Staffordshire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Northern Ireland, Lancashire, and Dorset FRS’s. Tom has spoken at the Chief Fire Officers’ Association and has presented at wildfire training courses in Denmark, Spain and the UK. He is also qualified in the tactical use of fire. Current work aims to extend this knowledge exchange activity to land management in UK National Parks. When not working, Tom enjoys photography; some of his photos are exhibited on his personal website.

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