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Dr Michael Bennett

Since obtaining a PhD in theoretical physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge in 1978, Dr Bennett has worked on the dispersion of atmospheric pollution, initially with the electrical generation industry and, for the last 20 years, in academia. Having started with theoretical approaches to calculating environmental impact, he became increasingly involved with the acquisition of field data to validate regulatory models. Since the late 1980’s he has been involved with the application of remote sensing (Lidar, Sodar) to these issues.

In a series of papers in the early 1990’s, was able to define precisely the parameters involved in describing buoyant plume rise from an industrial source.  These data were used in validating the UK regulatory dispersion model.  Since 2005, he has applied these techniques to the modelling of air quality around airports, in particular in a series of Lidar field trials at Heathrow, Manchester and Cranfield airports.

He now has 70 academic publications. These include recent reviews of air quality and its management around European airports.

Work Experience

Dates December 2007 – present
Position held Reader in the Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment
Name of employer Manchester Metropolitan University
Dates 1992 – 2007
Position held Lecturer in the Environmental Technology Centre
Main activities and responsibilities Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Name of employer University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
Dates 1978 – 1991
Position held Research Officer
Name of employer Central Electricity Research Laboratories

Education and Training

Dates 1965 – 1972
Title of qualification awarded A-levels
Principal subjects/occupational skills covered Royal Scholarship to Imperial College
Name and type of organisation providing education and training Salvatorian College
Dates 1972 – 1975
Title of qualification awarded BSc
Principal subjects/occupational skills covered Physics (1st class hons), Governors’ prize
Name and type of organisation providing education and training Imperial College
Dates 1975 – 1975
Title of qualification awarded Zertifikat
Principal subjects/occupational skills covered Deutsche als Fremdsprache
Name and type of organisation providing education and training Goethe Institute
Dates 1975 – 1978
Title of qualification awarded Doctorate
Principal subjects/occupational skills covered Theory of Condensed Matter Group. Thesis ‘Self-energy effects in semi-conductors’
Name and type of organisation providing education and training Cavendish Laboratory

Additional Information

Research I now have more than 70 publications, mostly in the field of atmospheric dispersion and remote sensing.While in the electricity industry, I assisted D J Moore in the development of the CEGB’s model (ALMANAC) of near-field dispersion for use in environmental impact statements. I also applied this model in preparing environmental impact assessments for National Power and for other power station operators. Increasingly, I then worked to acquire observational data to validate such models, thus:

  • Interpretation of ambient air pollution data.
  • Involvement in field measurement campaigns (London, Ghent, Yorkshire etc.).
  • Meteorological measurements (e.g. the maintenance of the facility on the 389 m Belmont TV mast).
  • Operation of Sodars (Remtech A0 and PA1 Doppler Sodars).
  • Interpretation of Lidar data. (In particular, the direction and analysis of campaigns at Fawley and Drax in 1989 and 1991 which led to substantial improvements in the accuracy of plume rise modelling).

The mobile Rapid-Scanning Lidar (RASCAL) developed by the CEGB has followed me via UMIST to MMU, enabling me to make further studies of plume rise; plume break-up; concentration fluctuations and intermittency; validation of dispersion models etc. (field campaigns at many UK sites and also in Denmark). Since 2005, RASCAL has been made eye-safe by converting it to operate in the UV-A, rather than in the visible. We have now used it in seven field campaigns to monitor the dispersion of smoke from commercial aircraft at Heathrow, Manchester and Cranfield airports. A current project is to attempt to alter the flow of the exhaust jet over an airfield through the deployment of aerodynamic baffles. A field trial to test this concept took place using the Lidar at Cranfield in September 2011.

I have also developed a relatively low-cost Doppler Lidar for boundary-layer studies. This has now been applied at field campaigns in Italy, Manchester and Cranfield.

Teaching Undergraduate: Laboratory methods; environmental statistics; air pollution monitoring; atmospheric dispersion; process safety, waste management etc.

Postgraduate: Environmental sampling; emissions monitoring; sample statistics; pollution modelling etc.

Consultancies For HMIP (i.e. the former environmental regulator), BNFL, NW Water, National Power and others. Tasks have included: dispersion calculations for use in environmental impact statements. Analysis of meteorological statistics; preparation of database. Analysis of Lidar databases (for HMIP). Dispersion field work. Advice on dispersion of odours from landfill. Appraisal of dispersion models.
Selected publications
  • Bennett M, Christie SM, Graham A, Thomas B S, Vishnyakov V, Morris K, Peters D M, Jones R and Ansell C (2011) ‘The composition of tyre smoke from landing aircraft’, Environ. Sci & Technol., 45, 3533-3538.
  • Bennett M and Raper D (2010) ‘Impact of airports on local air quality’, in Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering, R Blockley and W Shyy (eds). John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 3661-3670. DOI: 10.1002/9780470686652.eae350.
  • Bennett M and Christie S (2010) ‘An application of backscatter Lidar to model the odour nuisance arising from aircraft tyre smoke’, Int. J. Environ. & Poll., 44, 316-328.
  • Bennett M, Christie S, Graham A, and Raper D W (2010) ‘Lidar observations of aircraft exhaust plumes’, J. Oceanic & Atmos. Technol., 10, 1638-1651, DOI: 10.1175/2010JTECHA1412.1.
  • Bennett M and Hoolhorst A (2010) ‘Control of Local Air Quality at European Airports’, Report to European Commission, ECATS/D5000.02.365.
  • Bennett M and Christie S (2007) ‘Application of a Doppler optical coherence technique to boundary layer sounding’, Meteorol. Zeitschrift, 16, 469-477.
  • Bennett M, Edner H, Grönlund R, Sjöholm M, Svanberg S and Ferrara R (2006) ‘A joint application of Doppler Lidar and differential absorption Lidar to estimate mercury flux from a chlor-alkali plant’, Atmos. Environ., 40, 664-673.
  • Bennett M (2004) ‘Fast algorithm for detecting a small signal in the presence of normally distributed noise’, IEE Proc. – Vis. Image Signal Process., 151, 264-270.
  • Bennett M, Sutton S and Gardiner D R C (1992) ‘An analysis of Lidar measurements of buoyant plume rise and dispersion at five power stations’, Atmos. Environ., 26A, 3249-3263.Bennett M (1995) ‘A Lidar study of the limits to buoyant plume rise in a well-mixed boundary layer’, Atmos. Environ., 29, 2275-2288.

Contact Details

Centre for Aviation, Transport, and the Environment (CATE-E436)
Manchester Metropolitan University
School of Science & the Environment
John Dalton East Building, Chester Street
Manchester M1 5GD
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)161 247 6727