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Team UBoC: Good News x2

Two good news items have hit the blog desk this week:

The first is that UBoC’s first fully-funded doctoral student has graduated, following the submission of his thesis on “The Impact of changes in anthropogenic air pollutants on particulate air quality and the attributable burden of disease” – so, congratulations to Dr Ed Butt!

Dr Ed Butt

Says Ed, “I stared working with UBoC back in 2010 and became their first funded PhD student in 2013. Since then UBoC has grown considerably with (soon) 11 other PhD students now working on all kinds of exciting research projects relating to the world’s forests and trees.

I would like to thank UBoC for providing me with the opportunities and skills needed to successfully complete my PhD project. It has been a real pleasure working with everyone over these past years.

However, I won’t be leaving Leeds or involvement with UBoC now that my PhD has come to an end. I have just taken up a postdoctoral position on the DECAF project, which seeks to understand climate and air quality impacts associated with tropical deforestation. My role will be looking that local climate impacts.”

The second good news story is that UBoC has appointed a Tree Officer: Anna Gugan.

Anna Gugan

Anna explains: “I first encountered UBoC when studying for my Masters in Landscape Architecture at Leeds Beckett. Initially I volunteered for the University of Leeds I-Tree survey in the summer of 2017, and then used I-Tree as part of my Major Design submission, which focused on Harrogate.

When UBoC’s i-Tree researcher, Dr Hannah Walker, left to take up a post in Antarctica, I helped finish the tree survey and data processing. Being appointed to the new post as UBoC’s Tree Officer is a great privilege, and I’m looking forward to working further with i-Tree and other natural capital valuation tools, as well as helping with the development of UK planting projects, especially the White Rose Forest, which forms the Yorkshire section of the Northern Forest.




How smoky are peat fires?

Deforestation in Equatorial Asia has been increasing in recent decades, as oil palm plantations spread out into the tropical forests of Borneo and Indonesia [1]. And as UBoC PhD student Laura Kiely has found from her research, while loss of habitat from this encroachment is often shown in the media, deforestation can have other, less well known impacts on the air quality and climate.

Fires are used to clear land for plantations, and the land is then drained, so it becomes more susceptible to future fires. [2]

Continue reading How smoky are peat fires?

Bodeker Scientific fly carbon neutral

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New Zealand-based atmospheric research company Bodeker Scientific have again pledged to ensure that all company-related travel is carbon neutral.

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Bodeker work with both local and international research organisations, such as the German Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve our understanding of the atmosphere and climate – which can involve a lot of air travel. Continue reading Bodeker Scientific fly carbon neutral

Increased deforestation and the Amazon basin rainfall

UBoC’s Dr Dominick Spracklen and his colleague, Dr Luis Garcia-Carrerasalso from School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, report that continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest could diminish rainfall levels in the Amazon River basin – which may impact the region’s climate, ecosystems and economies.

A new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that by the middle of the century annual rainfall in the Amazon could be less than the yearly amount of rain the region receives during drought years if deforestation rates revert back to pre-2004 levels.

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Continue reading Increased deforestation and the Amazon basin rainfall

The potential for solar cooking

Using wood for cooking leads to deforestation and air pollution that can cause or exacerbate health problems. For many poor people, obtaining wood is either time-consuming or expensive. Where conflicts have led to displaced people, wood shortages can become acute, leading to often violent clashes between locals and refugees. For many refugee women this makes collecting wood a high-risk activity.

Continue reading The potential for solar cooking