Dr Nicolas Younes is a postdoctoral researcher at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Nicolas is a remote sensing and geospatial scientist and he is currently part of the team developing the OzFuel satellite mission. OzFuel is an Australian-made satellite mission that aims to improve Australia’s pre-fire monitoring of vegetation, fire prediction, and response. It will help determine the places and times where our forests are more likely to ignite.

Nicolas uses remote sensing (e.g. satellite imagery) to monitor the state of vegetation in Australia and elsewhere. His current research involves using hyperspectral imagery to examine changes in the leaf biochemistry (for example water). Less water in the leaves means they are more likely to be ignited by a fire; likewise, if leaves have more water content, they are less likely to burn, and there are similar patterns with other chemical compounds in the leaves. His research focuses on Australian eucalypt forests and in the detection of small changes in leaf chemistry content using the spectral reflectance of leaves and their biochemical components.

Why is this important? Monitoring changes in leaf chemistry is important because if we can create better predictions of fire spread, intensity, and severity, we can save lives, properties, and livelihoods.

Nicolas earned his PhD in Environmental Sciences from James Cook University in Queensland in 2020 where he investigated and modelled the phenology of mangrove forests using satellite imagery. He studied environmental engineering and has more than 15 years of professional experience in industry and academia.

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