Dr Ailish Graham

Dr Ailish Graham


I’m a research fellow in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, where I work in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling Group and Biosphere and Atmosphere Group. I work across two different projects, KaLi and PaCSAC.

KaLi focusses on the air quality impacts of peatland fires in Indonesia. The work is uses observational and model data to improve our understanding of the impacts of fires on people. For the observational work, we deployed a network of small sensors across Central Kalimantan in June 2023 to measure the impacts of peat fires on air quality. The sensors were placed both indoors and outdoors in local peoples’ houses and offices within villages affected by peat fire smoke. This allowed us to measure the impacts of peat fire smoke on indoor and outdoor air quality in the region. We combined this with results from a quesitonnaire on how much time people spend indoors and outdoors to estimate people’s exposure. We plan to deploy a further 100 small sensors across the region in 2024 to continue to measure air pollution. For the modelling work, we use WRF-Chem to simulate the impacts of the fires on people across the region and Indonesia. We hope to improve fire emissions estimates for the region using a combination of satellite data, modelling and observational data analysis. 

The PaCSAC project focuses on the impacts of current and future agricultural emissions on air pollutants (particularly fine particulate matter and ozone) and crop yields in China. In order to identify feasible future agrciultural emissions reductions options the project has worked closely with Chinese stakeholders. The impacts of the identified emissions reductions options on air quality are modelled using WRF-Chem and this allows the impacts on human health and crop yields to also be quanified.

Alongside this work I am also involved in a Met Office Academic Partnership with Ben Drummond who works in the Met Office's Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) team. The project aims to investigate the affect of model resolution on the modelled impacts of wildifres on AQ using the Saddleworth Moor 2018 wildfire as a case-study. We compare simulations for the fires from WRF-Chem (10 km resolution) and two NAME configurations (12 km and 2.2 km resolution).

I was also involved in a University of Leeds outreach project working with 3 local schools. Within the project students designed and carried out their own experiments to learn about their local air quality using low-cost personal air quality sensors. The students were in year 8 and the project will continue to follow them throughout their secondary school years, using different topics each year to show them possible careers in STEM and introduce them to the university. 

Research interests

My main reserach interests are:

  • The relationship between emissions and meteorology and their impact on regional air quality (AQ) (paper
  • Atmospheric modelling of air pollutants (e.g. PM2.5, O3 and NO2)
  • The impact of fires on AQ (e.g. the 2018 Saddleworth Moor fires (observational and modelling) , the Australia megafires 2019/2020 (observational and modelling))
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD: Simulation and evaluation of regional UK air quality using WRF-Chem
  • MRes Climate and Atmospheric Science
  • BSc Geological Oceanography

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science