Stavroula Stolaki - CO2 Lab

University of Thessaloniki, Greece

 

Since the beginning of my internship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, I have been working on analyzing CO2-flux and concentration measurements, accumulated during an ongoing 15-year project on salt marsh responses to elevated CO2. I read some literature concerning topics related to the research conducted here, studied the basics about using simple procedures of the SAS software and generating graphs in Sigmaplot, knowledge which proved to be essential and useful for my project.

Under the supervision of Bert Drake and the guidance and help of Daniel Rasse, I began my project regarding the change of CO2 concentration at a level 3-m above the ground. The data I used were measurements collected at the research site from 1990 to 2000 between May through September of each year. I have been studying the changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and its correlation with meteorological variables such as the photosynthetic flux, the temperature, the precipitation and the wind. My data analyses revealed that the CO2 concentration steadily increased during the 11-year period as indicated by the average of the 9am-3pm July measurements. This increase paralleled that of the Mauna Loa atmospheric measurements for the same 11-year period. For each year, it turned out that the 9am-3pm averaged values were highest in May and September and lowest in July. Moreover, I found that the daily pattern of the CO2 concentration displays a sharp drop shortly after dawn and that daytime and nighttime CO2 concentrations differ a lot. 

In general my internship has proved to be a unique and rich life experience during which I have acquired knowledge and skills that will be useful and important for my career.

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