About Kelly Gunnell

Kelly is an environmental scientist and ecologist, currently undertaking a PhD in the King's Geography Department researching how cities are protected from flooding by their upstream ecosystems and how that will change under future climate change and urban growth.

Characterising Gas Flares From Single Channel SWIR observations

By Dr Daniel Fisher, KCL Geography 

Gas flaring, the combustion of associated natural gas produced during oil extraction, is a significant global issue.  So much so that the World Bank has launched a number of programmes to tackle this undesirable activity, the latest being the ‘Zero Routine Flaring By 2030’ [1] initiative launched in April 2015.  Various indicators [1] point to the need for such initiatives: in 2014 around 145 billion cubic meters (bcm) was flared from a total production volume of 4306 bcm; representing $20 billion (USD) worth of fuel, or 750 billion kWh of electricity – enough to power the African continent for an entire year; the flaring of associated gas also contributes to climate change and constitutes ~1% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (2014 data).  Such flaring reduction initiatives are therefore clearly necessary. However, the question then arises: how can such initiatives be measured in their effectiveness at tackling the reduction of global gas flaring activity? Continue reading

New EOES PhD student publishes article on Earthworms for The Independent

Sarah Johnson has just this month joined the KCL Geography Department as a PhD student supervised by Dr Emma Tebbs. This week an article she wrote for The Conversation was republished by The Independent on why “Earthworms are more important than pandas (if you want to save the planet)”. See it here.
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I spoke to her about how it all came about.
  • Q: What prompted you to write for The Conversation?
  • A: I’m a student of the London NERC DTP, and the blog article was originally written as part of the DTP training programme. The article was then selected by The Conversation for publication and then picked up by The Independent. The independent have a syndication deal with The Conversation and promote some of their articles.

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A comparison of greenspace loss and urban expansion over time in London and Nairobi

by Mary Langsdale, PhD student in the Department of Geography, KCL

On the 2nd March at the Earth Observation and Environmental Sensing (EOES) Research Hub meeting, I presented my recent research into urban land use and land cover changes (LULCC) in London and Nairobi, with a particular focus on urban greenspace. The work had been conducted for my MSc Climate Change dissertation at King’s and motivated by the increasing awareness around the important ecosystem services greenspace provides in urban areas. These include (but are not limited to) mitigating the urban heat island (UHI) effect, improvements to local biodiversity and stormwater retention.

To analyse LULCC, I classified Landsat imagery of both locations between 1988 and 2016 using a supervised classifier (Random Forest). Results for London and Nairobi are shown in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. In London, my results suggested densification and industrial development between 1990 and 2016 accompanied by an overall increase in urban areas by 4% and a corresponding decrease in vegetated areas by 4% in that same period.

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Figure 1. Supervised classification of London in a)1990, b) 2002 and c) 2016 using the Random Forest Classifier.

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Assessing Ecosystems from Space: Satellite remote sensing and the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

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This piece is part of a series by the King’s EOES group reporting on the ‘Space – the final frontier for biodiversity monitoring?’ Symposium hosted by ZSL on Friday 29th April 2016.

By Kelly Gunnell

The role of satellite remote sensing in ecosystem risk assessment, particularly in how it is used as part of the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE), was discussed by Dr Emily Nicholson, from Deakin University in  Australia, at the ZSL Symposium on Remote Sensing for Biodiversity. Continue reading