Network Organising Committee

Kirsti Ashworth: Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK.

Chair of iLEAPS ECSN

Kirsti’s research focuses on interactions and feedbacks between the biosphere, atmosphere and society. She aims to bring a fundamental understanding of the complex processes involved in the exchange of trace gases and particles between the land surface and the troposphere to model simulations at a range of spatial and temporal scales. She develops 1-D canopy exchange models to explore and improve our knowledge of how these processes interact, and applies this knowledge to improve 3-D models. She uses these to investigate the impacts of future change, in particular changes in land use and land cover, on air quality, climate, and society.

She is an active participant in international conferences, her work has been published in top-ranking journals including Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change, and she also presents her research to lay audiences. She is a member of the Canopy Exchange Model Intercomparison Project (CanExMIP) Science Steering Committee. When not chained to her computer, Kirsti is to be found running in the hills or exploring the underground world beneath.

Kerneels Jaars: U. South Africa

Head of sub-Saharan Africa Network

Kerneels is an early career scientist at the North-West University (NWU), South Africa. He obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the NWU in 2010. His postgraduate research focused on measurement and analyses of volatile organic carbons (VOCs), which include anthropogenic and biogenic, at a grazed savannah-grassland-agriculture landscape in South Africa. He is interested in the interactions and feedbacks between savannah-grassland-agriculture ecosystem and atmospheric chemistry. In addition, the reactive atmospheric chemistry of VOCs and their role in health, ozone and aerosols. However, he is also co-responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Welgegund station, which is likely the most comprehensively equipped long-term continuously operating atmospheric research station in the South African interior.

Vinod Kumar: Indian Institute for Science and Education Research, Mohali, India

Head of South Asia & Middle East Network

Vinod is a graduate research student in Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at IISER Mohali, India. His current research interest is in OH Reactivity using comparative reactivity method (CRM), Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) and Multi Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer (MAX-DOAS) as tools to probe oxidant chemistry and the budget of reactive compounds in the troposphere. He also focuses on the analysis of long term measured dataset using these tools to quantify the effect of anthropogenic perturbations (crop residue fires in particular) on the change in reactive pollutant loading and ozone formation potential in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

Vinod was awarded Best Student Paper by International Journal of Mass Spectrometry for the year 2015.

Will Porter, Ph.D.: Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Head of North America Network

William explores questions related to air quality and climate, most recently focusing on identifying and comparing the meteorological drivers of extreme air quality episodes. By integrating chemical transport models with observations using novel applications of statistical methodologies, William works towards an improved understanding of the mechanisms behind pollutant formation and transport. Other topics of interest include the atmospheric impacts of anthropogenic land use change, the environmental consequences of energy policy decisions, and the ongoing improvement of earth system modeling. William received his Ph.D in physics from Portland State University, where he studied the atmospheric consequences of bioenergy crop cultivation, and is currently completing a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Civil and Engineering.

When not analyzing model output, William enjoys reading statistics blogs, promoting science literacy through outreach education, singing karaoke, and throwing frisbees.

Amos P. K. Tai, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor, Earth System Science Programme, Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Head of East Asia & Pacific Network

Amos specializes in atmospheric chemistry, climatology, and atmosphere-biosphere interactions. His research combines high-performance Earth system modeling and multivariate statistical analysis of observations to examine the complex interactions between atmospheric composition, climate and the biosphere, focusing on aspects of societal relevance such as air pollution, climate change, agriculture and food security. His work has been published in top-ranking journals including Nature Climate Change. In recent years, Amos has received the WMO Research Award for Young Scientists, RGC Early Career Award, and Croucher Fellowship for Postdoctoral Research for his postdoctoral work at MIT, where he also obtained his B.Sc. degree in Environmental Engineering Science. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from Harvard in 2012.

Born and raised in subtropical Hong Kong, Amos is also an insect enthusiast and hopes to become an amateur entomologist. He also takes great delight in communicating science to non-scientists and the general public on topics such as the impending food crisis, climate change, environmental conservation, and integration of faith and science. In his spare times, Amos hikes, plays music, and reads about life sciences, linguistics and economics, among other topics.

Ditte Taipale: Postdoctoral researcher, U. Helsinki, Finland & Estonian University of Life Sciences

Head of Europe & Mediterranean Network

Ditte’s research focuses on the interaction between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Her mission is to improve our prediction of the future climate. She tries to obtain this by gaining new insights into how various types of vegetation affect the atmosphere and discover unidentified chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Her preferred tools are the biosphere-atmosphere exchange models that she develops and utilises in strong connection with field observations. In her free time, Ditte enjoys doing lots of sport.

Ana Maria Yañez-Serrano: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany

Head of Latin America Network

Ana’s research is based on the interactions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within and above a central Amazonian tropical rainforest, currently, at Freiburg University (Germany) she is to try to find out how much carbon is emitted by plants through secondary plant metabolism from tropical plants. She is interested in the interaction between forest ecosystems and the atmospheric chemistry. Forest can react very quickly to changes in environmental factors, and up to date, not all processes have been described or elucidated. As global temperatures increase and climate change exacerbates it is important to understand how forested areas will react to such changes, as the impact in atmosphere can be very large, from direct global warming via aerosol and carbon dioxide production, increase the atmospheric lifetime of pollutants, or even alter rain distribution locally. These studies aim to provide better information for modelers, so they can constrain the processes governing the forest atmosphere interactions so better guidelines on mitigation and adaptation strategies can be suggested to policy-makers.