Project title: The Tephra Bag Citizen Science Experiment
Researcher: Dr Kamila Kwasniewska
Climate change is a global-scale challenge for humanity that requires a multilateral solution on a planetary scale. The mechanism by which we can reduce the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere requires some form of geoengineering solution or rapid development and deployment of negative carbon emission technology. Implementation of this technology will only be possible if there is abroad citizen engagement and implementation acceptance of the proposed solution. The aim of this research is to evaluate the plant-enhanced chemical weathering potential of tephra (volcanic ash) that is placed in the local soil together with planted ryegrass. This type of weathering could increase the rate at which the CO2 helps the silicate rocks, which in turn increases the rate at which the carbonates are deposited and stored in the oceans. The second aim is to educate the citizen scientists( in this case primary school children) on potential geological-based solutions for climate change by reducing the greenhouse gasses concentration in the atmosphere.
Hypothesis: A working hypothesis, based on a previous study still carried out/analysed in our group, is that the silicate rock will weather after some amount of time at a certain rate. For that reason the weight of the volcanic ash should change after the experiment period, also the leachate chemical component should differ at the beginning and the end of the experiment.
Objectives and aims: The main objectives of the project are to find the balance between the data collection for the scientific experiment and the engagement and education of the public. For that purpose, we are developing the protocol for this project that equally focuses on both sides of the project aspects. Furthermore, to systematically evaluate the citizen scientists' engagement and education with the subject of climate change, a protocol to design and evaluate the project will be developed.