Modelling Greenhouses gas exchanges in the soil and atmosphere

Summary

Methane and nitrous oxide are two of the most important greenhouse gases (GHG) , which are produced in the soil from microbial processes. Mitigation strategies to these GHG emissions from Australian agricultural soils are required for the sustainability and long-term productivity of agricultural practices. This project will focus on understanding the fundamental processes governing the exchanges of Nitrous oxide and methane between agricultural systems and the atmosphere.  Existing models on soil nitrous oxide and methane mostly consider the biological processes on the top layer of the soil. Meanwhile soil physical properties mostly govern the fate and transport of these gases in the soil. The project will develop  a new mechanistic model of gas exchange in the soil and the atmosphere considering the soil water, heat, solute, and gas transport.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Budiman Minasny

Research Location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

This project will investigate the fundamental processes governing the exchanges of greenhouse gases between agricultural systems and the atmosphere.  The project will develop a mechanistic model of gas exchange in the soil and the atmosphere. The model will be calibrated against field data using a Bayesian approach, which will provide scenario modelling. Furthermore, this project will build pedotransfer functions and soil inference system will be used to parameterise the model biochemically and physically, based on soil texture, structure and measured carbon pools.  The project will also collect data from the field, with observations at several scales, point observations and field scale observations. They need to be linked in a scaling framework which will allow us to estimate spatial scaling parameters a for model parameters which will allow us to predict emergent behaviour over larger spatial scales using observed and remotely-sensed data of landcover, soil and topography.   This project involves field, and modelling work. Essential criteria is the knowledge in mechanistic modelling and computer programming. The student will acquire valuable knowledge and skills in the areas of soil modelling. The student will also be expected to further develop skills in modern statistical and spatial data analysis and scientific publication.

Additional Information

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

Soil carbon, methane, nitrous oxide, DNDC

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1707

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