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Dr Tianran Zhang is a Research Associate, who joined the Department of Geography as a PhD student from 2013 to 2017. Her thesis was supported by the ‘King’s China Award’ from the King’s Graduate School and was entitled 'Smoke emissions from eastern China's agricultural residue burning assessed using remotely sensing and in situ measurement'.

During this thesis project, Tianran explored the capabilities of satellite instruments, such as the new NASA/NOAA/DoD VIIRS sensor, for enhancing current estimates of such agricultural fire emissions, alongside making field-based measurements of smoke chemical and particulate makeup during the burning season.

Tianran has a BSc in Environmental Science from Ocean University of China (OUC). She was one of the few undergraduate students (less than 1%) at OUC to complete the degree in three years, rather than the usual four. She then obtained her MSc from OUC in 2013.

Her research on aerosol iron solubility was presented on Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) was presented at a scientific conference and was prized as one of the best posters.


  • Remote sensing/Earth observation
  • Biomass burning/agricultural fires
  • Air quality/PM2.5
  • Deep learning application in remote sensing

Tianran is working on the development of a Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS), which is an essential input for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). Currently, the main developments involve enabling new satellite FRP data streams to be used within CAMS, from both polar-orbiting (SLSTR, VIIRS etc) and geostationary (eg Meteosat and GOES) systems.

Further details

See Tianran's research profile