Prof. Apostolos Voulgarakis

Lab Director, AXA Chair in Wildfires and Climate

Prof. Apostolos Voulgarakis holds the AXA Chair in Wildfires and Climate, based at the Technical University of Crete. He is the Director of the AtmECC lab, a dynamic, growing group studying the nexus between climate change, atmospheric pollution, and wildfires. He is an expert on global atmospheric and Earth system modelling. In particular his work has focused on fire-climate interactions and the role of fire in driving the variability of aerosols and other radiatively important constituents in the atmosphere. Following a BSc in Physics (AUTh, 2002), an MSc in Environmental Engineering (TUCrete, 2004), and a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry (Cambridge, 2008), he held research positions at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University (2009-2012), before moving to Imperial College as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Reader, between 2012 and 2019. In partnership with the UK Met Office, Voulgarakis and his team led the development of the first fire model (INFERNO) incorporated into the UK’s Earth system model (UKESM1), which provides the basis for the UK’s official long-term climate and Earth system projections. He has led and been involved in several other international collaborative research projects variously funded by NASA, the European Commission, the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the British Council, and the UK National Centre for Earth Observation, the General Secretariat of Research and Technology, Greece, involving collaborators from around the world (the UK, US, China, India, Greece, France, Norway, amongst others). He has also held major roles in various global model intercomparison projects, such as the Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Modelling Intercomparison Project (ACCMIP), the Precipitation Driver Response Model Intercomparison Project (PDRMIP), the Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP), and the Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative (CCMI), and was a Contributing Author in two chapters of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

Dr Athanasios Papadopoulos

Tsunami and Coastal Engineering Laboratory Assistant


Manolis Grillakis

Dr Grillakis is currently a post-doctoral researcher, specializing in drought and hydrology research and modeling using land surface models, climate change impacts assessment while recently his research focused on the links between wildfires and climate. He has participated in 14, mostly international (FP6-FP7-H2020, ESA) research projects in the thematic areas of climate change impacts on various fields, land surface modeling, remote sensing, extreme events (droughts-floods), hydrologic modeling, water resources management, wildfires. He has co-authored 45 scientific publications, and more than 50 conferences. He has served as Lead Author in Mediterranean Experts on Climate and environmental Change (MedECC) first assessment report. He has served as an expert evaluator in University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Growth Initiative and expert reviewer in IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Since 2018, he has lectured in Technical University of Crete and Technological Educational Institute of Crete (in Heraklion) various earth and environment related courses.

Konstantinos Seiradakis

Konstantinos Seiradakis holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Technical University of Crete since 2005. Upon his graduation, he has been working as research engineer in several research programs including:  5DARE, Helix, Cascade, ReCare, Impact2C, SimFlood and Hydrate.  
Konstantinos has extended experience in the analysis, design, configuration and implementation of Geographic Information System. Also, as part of his research work Konstantinos has extended the capabilities of those systems by programming and integrating custom modules, to satisfy project requirements that would not otherwise be covered by out of the box GIS platform capabilities. 
To support his research work Kostas is working on streamlining the integration of a reference research environment to support modern DevOps capabilities, Continuous Development / Continuous Integration, covering all necessary security requirements and of course being able to support the resilient and efficient processing of vast amounts of geographic and scientific data supporting all modern big data architectures. The reference environment is based on the integration of several platforms and technologies such as Microsoft Windows, RedHat/Centos Linux, Virtualization, OpenMPI/IntelMPI and multiple custom modules and processes that have been developed during Kostas applied research efforts. 

Irini Boleti

Irini is a Postdoctoral researcher working on the interaction between wildfires and climate as well as the impact of climate change on wildfires. Her work is part of the AXA project (ΑΧΑ chair for wildfires), which focuses on high-altitude fires. She is a physicist with a specialization in atmospheric and climate physics and holds a PhD in statistical modelling of air pollution. She has worked in Switzerland and the Netherlands in universities as well as reinsurance companies before joining TUC. Her experience includes research in atmospheric models for air pollution and statistical models characterizing air pollutants concentrations in relation to meteorology. Finally, in the insurance world she has studied the risk of high impact natural catastrophe phenomena, such as hurricanes and windstorms.

Iulian-Alin Rosu

Iulian-Alin Rosu is an Erasmus+ Trainee Romanian PhD student, specializing in fractal analysis, chaos theory and atmospheric physics. His current research involves the analysis and modelling of wildfires and wildfire scars using fractal and spectral theory, and the development of novel wildfire modelling, risk-assessment and data processing techniques. He has participated in 1 national research project and in a research internship in Turin, Italy, on the subject of atmospheric modelling. He has co-authored 10 scientific publications and has participated in 10 conferences, 6 of which were international.

PhD Students

Anastasios Rovithakis

Anastasios Rovithakis is an environmental engineer focusing on global warming and its effects on wild fire danger.

Research interests include:

 •    Improving thermal insulation of buildings via practical installations.
•    Modeling the indoor air quality of buildings in different types of environments.
•    Modeling and optimizing energy efficient buildings
•    Modeling and impact assessment of wild fires due to global warming

Dimitra Tarasi

Dimitra Tarasi is a geologist with a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. She is currently a PhD student investigating how the present-day atmosphere is influenced by fire emissions from boreal forests and peatlands and exploring how the future of the climate system will be impacted by the changing wildfire regimes at high northern latitudes. Her research, as part of the AXA research program (AXA Chair in Wildfires and Climate), focuses on developing a peatland and thawing permafrost burning modelling capability for the current Earth System Models.

Rafaila Mourgela

Rafaila is an environmental engineer, currently focusing on the wildfire impacts on atmospheric composition and climate.  Specifically, during her PhD, she will study the effect of wildfire emissions on a global scale from the pre-industrial period to the present day and the future, using earth system models. Her research is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I).

Manolis Petrakis

Manolis Petrakis is a physicist with expertise in computational physics, holding a master's degree in geostatistics. His dissertation focuses on developing computationally efficient non-stationary kernels for Gaussian processes using techniques from statistical physics. These kernels have potential applications in extreme event modeling. Previously, Manolis has worked on fracture models to study the distribution of earthquake interevent times and on anisotropy estimation in Gaussian random fields for automatic interpolation of environmental datasets. Currently, he is a member of the Atmospheric Environment and Climate Change laboratory, where his research investigates the impacts of wildfire emissions on atmospheric composition and on the assessment of their role in present-day climate. His research is funded by the Hellenic Foundation of Research & Innovation.

Visiting Members

Dr. Matthew Kasoar

Dr. Matthew Kasoar is a Research Associate in Earth Systems Modelling - Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society

Based at the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, my research involves using state-of-the-art computer models to help researchers across the Centre understand the impacts of wildfire on the atmosphere and air quality, and predict how fire regimes may evolve under a changing climate.

Haleema Misal

Haleema Mishal is a Ph.D. student undertaking research in Economics. Her research focuses on quantifying and monetising damages from wildfires using environmental valuation methods in the European Mediterranean. Her research also aims to investigate the impacts of wildfires on human well-being 

Emmanouil Proestakis