Understanding and Mitigating Hazards

PhD opportunity

Key Topics:

Project Status:

PhD: Dynamics of trace gas emissions from fires

Supervisors:

Dr Malcolm Possell and Prof Mark Adams Research location: Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Sydney, Centre for Carbon, Water and Food

Gaseous emissions during bushfires are a significant component of the smoke generated. Understanding the controls on the composition of gases in smoke generated by the burning of vegetation is crucial to being able to predict the effect smoke has on atmospheric chemistry and the consequences this may have on the global C budget and human and plant health. Our current understanding of how trace gas emissions such as CO2, CO, and volatile organic compounds are affected by fuel condition is restricted to simple empirical descriptions. These descriptions do not capture the dynamics in trace gas emissions that are observed during burning and are not linked to known physical and chemical combustion processes. As the incidence of bushfires and the need for hazard reduction burns in or near urban areas grows, there is a need for incident controllers and planners to be able to assess the impact smoke will have with some accuracy. Therefore, there is a crucial need to be able to model the smoke composition from fires in different vegetation types under different environmental conditions.

Despite of the significance of trace gas emissions on atmospheric chemistry, the process-based understanding of the dynamics of trace gas emissions from vegetation fires is still poorly understood. In order to assess the impact a smoke plume could have on plant and human health downwind of a fire, accurate predictions of the gases in the smoke plume are needed. This project will develop an understanding of the physical and chemical mechanisms by which trace gases are formed temporally during combustion and use this knowledge to develop a predictive model. The student will gain analytical skills in trace-gas analysis such as mass-spectrometry, and will develop skills in numerical modelling. The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food at the University of Sydney has world-class facilities and capabilities for analysis of trace gases that are not available elsewhere in Australia. In the recent ERA ranking process, the University of Sydney had maximum scores in the fields of Soil Science and Plant Biology and currently boasts five Future Fellows.

Send an enquiry

More information

Lyndsey Wright

Contract Research and Education Manager, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Phone: 03 9412 9600
Email: lyndsey.wright@bnhcrc.com.au

Level 5 / 340 Albert Street
East Melbourne, Victoria 3002

Postgraduate Scholarships Application Process

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC postgraduate scholarships are available for students pursuing research higher degrees in the bushfire research fields, in line with Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC projects.

Both Full and Top Up scholarships and project support funding are available for outstanding students, with preference given to the provision of top up scholarships.

Current funding amounts are:

  • Full Scholarships of up to $28,000 per annum for three and a half years.
  • Top Up scholarships of $10,000 per annum for three and a half years to holders of Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) and University Research Scholarships.

Bushfire & Natural Hazard CRC Scholarship Application Kit

You are welcome to submit enquiries using the form on this page. However, you must complete this form to make an application.

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Prescribed burning PhD: Locating weeds from space: documenting the distribution of invasive ‘fire weeds’ using remote sensing Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield Charles Darwin University
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All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Research clusters