Climate Detectives Projects 2018-2019

Project topic: Climate change

Project title: Climate Detectives in Cerceda

Team: Ciencia C4

2018-2019   CPI O Cruce   Cerceda   Spain   19 Student’s age: 12-13, 14-15

Summary of the project

Our school has a thermal power plant and a waste management plant nearby. We wanted to find out what their influence on the landscape and climate of the area had been since they were established, about 30 years ago. We thought about analyzing satellite images to see the impact on the flora of the area and physicochemical properties of the soil, comparing them with samples from another control zone. Following the advice of the ESA experts, we decided to also add the meteorological data analysis of the last 45 years downloaded from the AEMET website (state meteorological agency). We downloaded from the AEMET website data on temperatures and rains from 1972 to our days, from the nearest meteorological station. We passed the data to spreadsheets and made several graphs to look for trends in the variations.

Main results

– In the research with satellite images we obtained one per year from 1984 until today, including Meirama, Cerceda and the lake Encrobas. With the images we create several videos ( and gifs ( in which, through the transition of photos, the landscape changes are seen. In the satellite images we observed that although for years the thermal power station made serious damage to the green of the landscape, its environmental plan led it to repopulate the area and convert the basin of the mine into a lake, so the area is now quite recovered. But to our surprise we saw a much more punished area in recent years, that of the industrial estate and the water park that occupies many more square kilometers of surface and has destroyed much more green area without creating any in return. – In the field investigation with soil samples, we take samples in different areas of the town, including the institute and in control zones of similar characteristics. We measure density, humidity, pH, granulometry and composition establishing comparisons between them and relating them to the areas observed in the satellite image. In the soil samples we found that those closest to built areas have a basic pH and the presence of carbonates (instead of acidic pH and only organic matter as is usual in Galicia) also has less humidity and therefore worse characteristics for agriculture and crops . – The result of the meteorological data analysis is the most alarming with an increase of more than one degree in the annual average temperature and a decrease in the considerable annual total precipitation.

Actions to help lessen the problem

On the one hand we are working on a proposal to repopulate with trees or shrubs areas affected by construction processes in the town and, on the other, we work on a series of measures to reduce energy consumption in our center. The idea is also to disseminate the project so that others echo it and become aware of the climate problem and that in our hands is the one that does not get worse.

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