Megan L Poole

Megan L Poole


I completed my BSc (Hons) from the Royal Holloway, University of London where I studied Digital Geoscience. During my final year, I conducted a research project entitled ‘Semi-Automated Interpretation of Sub-Seabed Shallow Geology, Using Sub-Bottom Profile Data and Q Factor Analysis’. After this project, I became interested in other ways in which computational methods could be applied to Earth Science research, and consequently went on to undertake a MSc Earth Science by Research at Royal Holloway entitled ‘Characterising BDRF of Desert Sands: An Experimental and Modelling Study’.

For my master’s thesis, I investigated the optical properties of sand and the application of such data for vicarious calibration to support the remote sensing community. I used a combination of laboratory and computational techniques to follow my own independent lines of enquiry which I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to apply to my PhD project. Throughout my time at Royal Holloway, I gained an insight into the research community, and I found my home within in it. Also, it is my personal goal to contribute to a meaningful area of research, and for me that is climate science. It is these reasons that I am pursuing a PhD oxidation of organic material on atmospheric mineral aerosol with regards to radiative forcing at Royal Holloway.

PhD title: Does the oxidation of organic material on atmospheric mineral aerosol change the solar radiative forcing of mineral aerosol?

The atmosphere of the Earth is an oxidizing medium and effectively acts as a low temperature, dilute fuel, combustion system, oxidizing complex compounds and returning them to the surface of the Earth via cloud water and dry deposition. The chemical composition of particulate matter affects climate directly, by scattering and absorbing solar radiation, and indirectly, owing to its ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei, leading to a change in cloud formation rainfall patterns. Cloud processing of atmospheric particulate matter changes the optical properties of clouds.

Atmospheric mineral particulate matter contains organic films that affect the reactivity of the particles and their potential to act as cloud condensation nuclei. My project will explore the optical properties and kinetics of atmospheric oxidants reacting with organic films on mineral aerosol. The kinetics will give an atmospheric lifetime and the optical properties will enable calculation of the change in climatic radiative forcing.

Using laboratory methods, I will extract organic material from atmospheric aerosol, place it on spheric mineral particles and subject it to atmospheric oxidation whilst held in a laser trap. Neutron reflection studies will determine the morphology and thickness of the organic material, allowing an assessment of its atmospheric lifetime.  Laser tweezer studies will determine the refractive index of the material during oxidation allowing the estimation of a change in radiative forcing due to atmospheric oxidation


    C. R. Barker, M. L. Poole, M. Wilkinson, J. Morison, A. Wilson, G. Little, E. J. Stuckey, R. J. L. Welbourn, A. D. Ward and M. D. King, Environ. Sci.: Atmos., 2023, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D3EA00005B


Awards and prizes

  • 2021) Best Digital Geoscience Project, Department of Earth Science, Royal Holloway
  • (2022) Kirsty Brown Award

Other information

Higher-Education Teaching:

(2022) Demonstrator at Royal Holloway, University of London: Statistics, Engineering Geology.


(2022) PGR Student Representative, Department of Earth Science, Royal Holloway

(2022) PGR Conference Coordinator, Department of Earth Science, Royal Holloway

(2022) Treasurer, Lyell Geoscience Society, Royal Holloway

(2021) President, Lyell Geoscience Society, Royal Holloway

(2020) Media Officer, Lyell Geoscience Society, Royal Holloway


(2021-2022) Geoscience taster sessions, to introduce the subject to year 7-13 students at local schools. Delivered in my role as Student Ambassador for Royal Holloway.