Project title: The regular four seasons, deforestation, and rainfalls
Team: Vianu Climate Detectives
2019-2020 Tudor Vianu National College of Computer Science Bucharest Romania 11 Student’s age: 12-13, 14-15
Summary of the project
Considering that the usual four seasons typical for a temperate climate seem to gradually turn into just two, with sudden temperature changes instead of moderate transitions, we have investigated whether there is any connection between the aggressive deforestation, the precipitations, and the modifications of the seasons. In our project last year, we felt the limits of processing only with Excel. We realized that the 20-year interval was not enough and collected information from a single weather station. Now, the data processing was done with a C ++ program made by our team and the charts facilities offered by Excel. Using our script, the analysis has a high degree of generality and can be applied to other countries. Within the project, generality is important considering that the data collected from the nearby countries can be analysed in order to see other causes of internal phenomena. In addition, we created our own website at https://vianuclimatedetectives.com/ where we shared the gathered data, processing and results. All the processing will be available for the public from the 26th of May 2020. Moreover, we extended the period to 60 years, processed data from all 26 meteorological stations in Romania and dedicated a special chapter to data quality, eliminating 7 stations that did not pass the quality test. Also, we wanted to measure the temperature accurately, so we used a sensor, inspired by our participation in the Astropi Mission Zero project where we measured the temperature on the ISS with the sensors there. We installed the temperature sensor on a “minirover”, so that we could measure temperatures in our schoolyard daily. We explored a technical area of climatology, which was a great gain. The sensor was useful especially in the preliminary stage when the latest meteorological data posted by the weather stations was not available.
We studied deforestation dynamics, structure at subnational level 2, and recent images captured by the Sentinel 2 A Satellite in the top 11 counties with the biggest tree cover loss. We improved the use of advanced tools such as Sentinel EO Browser and want to participate in the Sentinel HUB Custom Script Contest in the field of analysis of this project. What’s more, we made schemes based on the theoretical explanations of the effects of deforestation on the climate. We plotted the average annual temperature between 2001 and 2019 compared to the average of the period 1961-1990 into charts. We observed a significant rise in temperature starting from the year 2007 with the biggest deforested areas. Thus, there is a correlation between the rising temperature and massive deforestation. Then, we analysed all the months that involve transitions between two seasons: February-March, May-June, August-September, November-December. We observed important changes for the Summer-Autumn transition and concluded that, recently, the average temperature of the first half of September exceeds the average of the second half of August from the reference period (1961-1990). Therefore, we could be witnessing an extension of Summer with 15 days, the seasons no longer being the classical ones. Also, we analysed the rainfall amount from the nearest meteorological station to the county with the biggest deforested area in Romania. Our analysis shows that after 2007 the difference between the quantity of precipitation in August and September is obviously smaller than in 1961-1990. This evolution is captured in the radar chart showing a concentration of the monthly precipitation in the ring corresponding to the amount of 80 mm whereas the maximum amplitude of a ring in 1961-2019 is 180 mm. Thus, there is an extension of Summer with 30 days using the monthly amount of precipitation as a criterion.
Actions to help lessen the problem
Noticing the huge impact of deforestation on the climate, we knew that we needed to take action. Firstly, we are going to contact sponsors from the companies that are directly affected by the climate changes caused by the aggressive deforestation, such as the insurance industry, agriculture, the energetic industry, and many more. Then, together with non-profit organisations, we will continue our “Save the forest” campaign initiated last year, plan tree planting events that will be advertised on our website, as we have already created a blog component where we promote our events and interact with interested people. Moreover, we are planning a special day in our high school every year on Earth Day (the 22nd of April) when we are going to invite important climatologists and meteorologists. However, this year, due to the pandemic, our event was moved online, as we had a Zoom conference, also posted on our Events blog, where we raised awareness about the current major climate issues and discussed how we can preserve the environment. Lastly, we could organize fun games and make lemonade stands to make everything look more appealing and fun and organize a charity ball in our high school as a fund-raising campaign. All the leftover funds from our activities are going to be donated to associations that help save our planet by planting trees. Please feel free to visit our website for the detailed analysis, as well as upcoming events.
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