As a student working on projects with this group, you will pursue an intensive research experience in English for a total of 6 credits. To prepare for this experience you will speak with your research mentor before arriving in Spain to begin working on your proposal.
|GRAN RSLW 392S||International Independent Research in STEM Fields||6|
Sierra Nevada National Park is located in one of the highest mountain ranges in Europe. The park is located in southeastern Spain and run parallel to the Mediterranean coast about 40 km away. Its north and west faces are exposed to urban areas. It is especially important the influence of the city and metropolitan area of Granada, located in the northeast skirt of Sierra Nevada at about 20-30 km horizontal distance from the highest peaks. Due to its location and climatic particularities, Sierra Nevada is part of the UNESCO Global Change in Mountain Regions network (GLOCHAMORE) and represents an excellent real-life laboratory for climatic and air quality studies.
A high mountain station will be set up during the next summer for an experimental measurement campaign. Several instruments will be installed for measuring particulate air pollutants (aerosols). The objective of this project is to characterize and quantify the presence of urban pollutants transported from the city to higher altitudes in Sierra Nevada National Park. The student will have a first hand experience with a scientific campaign, using state-of-the-art instrumentation for the characterization of aerosols. Field trips to the high-mountain station will be programmed for instrumental maintenance and calibration. The student will analyze data and draw conclusions about the atmospheric situations that provoque that urban pollutants from the city of Granada are transported to the Sierra Nevada National Park.
In order to achieve a better understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of the complex aerosol distributions on both regional and global scales, the transcontinental transport of different aerosol types is of the special importance and must be understood. Several studies have already been conducted to understand the physic-chemical properties of Saharan mineral dust biomass burning aerosols. However, most of them were performed close to source regions or considering short-range transport, therefore the evolution of aerosol properties during transport is still misunderstood and many examples illustrate the need of a thoroughly understanding on the transcontinental transport of aerosols. In this project, the student will manage different models and empirical datasets, covering both meteorological and aerosol data over several locations in South America, including ground-based instrumentation and satellite. The student is going to be in touch with state-of-the-art instrumentation for atmospheric research routinely operated at IISTA-CEAMA and is going to participate in instrumental activities, such as radiosounding launches and instruments calibrations. As result of this project the student is expected to answer this question: do Saharan dust and African biomass burning affect South American air quality?
Olive orchards are one of the most important agricultural systems in Mediterranean areas due to its environmental, social and economic benefits, representing 35% of the agricultural area. Water scarcity in this agroecosystems has been accentuated in the last decades due to the intensification of summer droughts. On the other hand, rising levels of atmospheric CO2 concentrations demand the shift towards agricultural practices that enhance carbon sequestration potential. In this project, we will evaluate different agricultural practices, such as the presence of herbaceous covers versus the use of fertilizers and herbicides, in combination with different irrigation regimes to determine their suitability to enhance soil carbon sequestration potential. For this purpose, the student will measure soil CO2 fluxes using a portable soil chamber system (Li-Cor 8100, Lincoln, NE, USA) on the different agricultural treatments in a Mediterranean olive grove. In addition, the student will learn to integrate and interpret this information together with data ofvegetation productivity, soil carbon availability and decomposition rates. This will contribute to elucidate the most suitable management for the optimization of water resources and the enhancement of soil carbon sequestration on Mediterranean olive orchards.