Project title: Extreme weather and the deforestation
Team: Vianu Climate Detectives
2018-2019 Tudor Vianu National High School of Computer Science Bucharest Romania 20 Student’s age: 12-13
Summary of the project
On one hand, in the last few years, in Romania, there has been massive deforesting. On the other hand, there have been extreme temperatures in summer as well as in winter and massive rainfall fluctuations. Thus, our main idea is to establish if there are measurable effects on the Romanian climate due to the massive deforestation in the last few years. For this purpose, we have analyzed the daily temperature and the rainfall amount for the last 20 years in January, April, July and October by creating tables and graphs, as well as images and reports regarding deforestation. The task of this project, as well as the detailed feedback we received after the first step, pursued us further studying the theoretical aspects behind climate. We used archived data and our own measurements of temperature and precipitation (for January 2019), as we built our own rain gauge. We plotted the daily temperature for each month of January, April, July and October between 2000 and 2018, and for January 2019. We also used images taken by the Sentinel 2 satellite to follow the illegal deforestation in Romania. In order to compare the average values of temperature and rainfall amount as well as the fluctuation of the average values, we analyzed the data by plotting it into charts. Taking part in this project gave us the exciting opportunity of acting like real scientists by analyzing the data, as well as images received from satellites. While working on this project, we were being deeply impressed by the dramatic disappearance of a large area of forest in our country (336.000 ha between 1990 and 2011). In order to help the environment, we are started a campaign, “Save the forest”, which began by planting a magnolia in our schoolyard and will continue with a yearly tree planting day.
To begin with, we documented the years during which there have been massive deforestation in Romania. Afterwards we collected the previously mentioned data and we analyzed the plotted daily temperature recorded for each month of January, April, July and October between 2000 and 2018, and for January 2019. Finally we studied the images taken by the Sentinel 2 satellite of the illegally deforested areas in Romania and the adjacent data. By studying the correlation between the average values of temperature and rainfall amount as well as their fluctuations, the taken photos and the plotted data, we noticed that, compared to the year 2000, the temperatures in January, April and October 2018 are significantly larger. Nevertheless, we cannot conclude that we are witnessing a heating phenomenon, as there is no observable tendency of temperature increase, but rather visible fluctuations. As for precipitations, there are massive fluctuations from one year to the next (especially after the deforestation took place), whereas the average rainfall amount is decreasing (with the exception of the months of July 2014 and 2015). We conclude that there is not any correlation between climate change and massive deforestation for the local climate (as the temperatures fluctuated, without presenting a clear growing trend), but it may be possible such an interrelation between rainfall amount and deforestation. Also, the evidence shows the tremendous role that forests have in balancing the local climate, affecting the water cycle (after the deforestation, the fluctuations of the rainfall amount increased).
Actions to help lessen the problem
Our purpose is to raise awareness about this subject and convince authorities to invest in further research. We consider that educating people with respect to the factors that cause climate changes is the first step of countering the threats to life on Earth. In order to help the environment, we are started a campaign, “Save the forest”, which began by planting a magnolia in our schoolyard and will continue with a yearly tree planting day. As we wish to save the Romanian forests, at Tudor Vianu National College of Computer Science we are going to have a “Forest day”, initiated by us, in April and October, where we will participate along with other associations and plant trees in the abusively deforested areas. Our further aim is studying the general tendencies of climate change in several major cities of Romania. So far, Bucharest is considered in a humid region, but this may change in the future if the tendency we have spotted during this project continues. Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity!
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