Thomas Baird

Thomas Baird

Profile Display Name:
Thomas Baird
E-mail Address:
Start Year

2016 (Cohort 3)

Research interests:
Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title
Sahara Dune Sands: Quantifying Celerity, Dust Production, and Provenance
Research Theme
Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Processes
Primary Supervisor

Pieter Vermeesch

Primary Institution
Secondary Supervisor

Charlie Bristow

Secondary Institution

Fundamental to advancing contemporary understandings of desert landscape dynamics is the need to address the lack of quantification of surface processes (Mayaud et al., 2017). This project seeks to address this issue by combining a range of innovative research techniques and analytical methods. The celerity of dunes within Saharan sand seas will be quantified with the application of COSI-Corr (Ayoub et al., 2009) to Landsat imagery for the years 1985, 1995, and 2005. The scale of this application will be unique in the scientific literature and will identify any contemporary changes in dune migration rates. A provenance study using heavy mineral analysis and U-Pb dating will be conducted on pre-collected Saharan dune sand samples. The provenance of Saharan sand dunes is an understudied area, largely due to the cost of sample analysis. This study will provide information relating to Saharan sand sea supply and desertification history. The dust emissivity potential of these pre-collected samples will be quantified using a saltation chamber. Moreover, benefiting from the geochemical analysis of the provenance study, this experiment will provide further discourse into whether sand dunes are the major source of mineral aerosols in the Sahara (Crouvi et al., 2012).

Policy Impact
Background Reading

Conferences and Workshops
  • Windy Day 2016 (October 2016).
  • Windy Day 2017 (November 2017). Talk: Towards a Dune Celerity Map of the Sahara.
  • Windy Day 2018 (November 2018). Talk: More than a Windy Day: Aeolian features of the Qinghai-Tibetean Plateau.
  • 10th International Conference for Aeolian Research (ICARX) (June 2018). Talk: Towards A Dune Celerity Map of the Sahara.
  • DTP Conference 2017 (August 2017). Poster: Shifting Sands of the Sahara..
  • DTP Conference 2019 (September 2019). Talk: Towards A Dune Celerity Map of the Sahara.
DTP Activities
DTP Activities
Member of the Joint DTP Summer Conference Organising Committee 2018

Social Links
University Departmental Website:
Personal Website:

Stay informed

Click here to subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.

Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

Pearson Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter