Hello lovely people,
I am a Belgian Ph.D. candidate in the water systems and global change group and NOBV (Onderzoeksprogramma Broeikasgassen Veenweiden). Although I have spent most of my life in Wallonia; I dedicate mainly my free time to hiking in the middle of nowhere, looking for exciting plants/birds/insects to observe, or in geeky activities.
I started my studies as a civil engineer at the University of Liege, specializing in Physics Engineering. Then, I graduated from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech as a Bioscience engineer in Environmental Sciences and Technologies.
My research subject is (currently ;-) ) entitled "Data-driven compilation of Greenhouse gas balances of fen meadow landscapes in the Netherlands".
Why is this subject relevant?
Fen-Meadows cover around 15% of dutch agricultural landscapes while causing approximately 25% of annual GHG emissions in the agriculture sector, equivalent to 1.7M annual car emissions. The most crucial drivers are water table level and soil temperature: peat decomposition splits into two main classes of phenomena, anaerobic peat decomposition by methanogens and aerobic peat degradation by oxidation. Landscape managers face a trade-off between a slow decay whose final product is methane and fast CO2 production. Although recent studies have been conducted locally, the effect of global management practices on draining strategies, grazing, and mowing influence is still to be quantified.
How are GHG fluxes measured?
Those recent years, NOBV has collected GHG flux measurements based on gas chambers and Eddy-Covariance (EC) techniques around the Netherlands. My thesis focuses mainly on EC datasets; EC relies on high-frequency measurements (10Hz) of gas concentrations and vertical wind speed, allowing extracts turbulent transfer variables of these signals.
Three different types of EC setups; each of them has a different purpose.
- Describing long-term fluctuation and capturing synoptic climatology variations effects is done using permanent towers at reference locations.
- Comparing local responses to short-term responses of different areas is practically implemented with mobile EC towers; by displacing periodically smaller and lighter setups in a given set of locations, the objective is to highlight similarities and differences in flux responses.
- Spatial heterogeneities of flux are also characterized using an aircraft EC system. Flux is measured along the flying paths to evaluate the landscape's regional response while highlighting the landscape heterogeneities effect.
The two first types of measurements are aimed at a bottom-up approach, calibrating models locally, and applying them to the components of a larger spatial unit to evaluate annual GHG budgets. The Third type suits a top-down approach by isolating the influence of spatial units exhibiting different characteristics; the objective is to retrieve the local flux from a model calibrated using regional measurement datasets.