Determining the baseline greenhouse gas emissions from different land uses at RAF base in the UK

The following case story is provided by Dr. Caio F. Zani, Dr. Arlete S. Barneze and Prof. David Manning from the School of Environmental Science, Newcastle University. With help of Gasmet’s GT5000 Terra gas analyser, researchers performed a sampling campaign to gain data on soil conditions on the site of RAF base.

In order to assess the efficacy of enhanced rock weathering in terms of carbon sequestration, including its impact on other greenhouse gas emissions, as well as on plants and soil, it is essential to establish a reliable baseline. This is especially pertinent in areas characterised by diverse land uses, soil types, and management practices.

The ViTAL Living Lab Project, a collaboration between Newcastle University and the Ministry of Defence-RAF, specifically within the Carbon Capture work package, has recently conducted an extensive soil sampling campaign and CO2 measurements to establish the carbon baseline of the RAF Leeming base in the UK.

In October 2022, a soil sampling campaign was conducted to measure the baseline soil carbon stock at 165 locations. Undisturbed topsoil samples were manually collected and separated into distinct soil layer intervals: 0-0.10 m, 0.10-0.20 m, and 0.20-0.30 m depths. Similarly, undisturbed subsoil samples were manually collected at depths of 0-0.10 m, 0.10-0.20 m, 0.20-0.30 m, 0.30-0.60 m, and 0.60-0.90 m during sampling, resulting in a total of 960 undisturbed soil core sections.

Since October, monthly measurements of CO2 have also been conducted to determine seasonal soil variations in CO2 fluxes across different land uses and soil types.

In November 2023, we utilised a portable Gasmet GT5000 Terra gas analyser to measure emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane in the runway and urban areas of the RAF Leeming base in the UK (see Figs. 1, 2, and 3).

We are utilising a portable Gasmet DX4040 gas analyser (the predecessor for GT5000 Terra) in the ongoing experiment, which will be conducted at Cockle Park Farm from January 2024, spanning at least two seasons (winter and spring). The aim is to comprehend the potential of utilising enhanced rock weathering to capture inorganic carbon and assess its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, soil, leachates and plant productivity.

Fig. 1 CO2 fluxes at runway and urban areas at RAF_Leeming in the UK.

Fig. 2 N2O fluxes at runway and urban areas at RAF_Leeming in the UK.

Fig. 3 CH4 fluxes at runway and urban areas at RAF_Leeming in the UK.

Fig. 4 Greenhouse gas measurements using portable Gasmet GT5000 Terra gas. Dr. Caio F. Zani, Dr. Arlete S. Barneze from Newcastle University, and Ola Szymon from Gasmet.

In conclusion, the ViTAL Living Lab Project has laid a robust foundation for assessing the efficacy of enhanced rock weathering in carbon sequestration. Gasmet is proud to continue supporting groundbreaking research endeavours with our portable gas analysers. Our commitment to providing comprehensive and reliable data aligns seamlessly with the project’s goals, as we collectively strive to advance the understanding of enhanced rock weathering and its potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions, soil health, and plant productivity.

Our state-of-the-art gas analyzers, GT5000 Terra and DX4015, support customers in reaching their research target in a reliable and cost-efficient manner. As a high-tech company, we recognize the power of technology and believe that our solutions can help provide the key knowledge for climate research.

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