SURF

Yuan Lin

Exploring Methods for Reducing Uncertainty in Determining the Bulk Density of Soils

Human-induced climate change is a modern environmental challenge that poses serious threats to both natural ecosystems and human society as it exists today. As a result, scientists have examined carbon sequestration in soils as a climate mitigation strategy that could lower greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This approach involves quantifying rates of carbon removed from the atmosphere by plants, and rates of plant carbon transferred and stored in soil. A key parameter used to determine soil carbon sequestration potential is soil bulk density, defined as the mass of a given soil sample divided by the volume of that sample. However, current methods used by soil scientists to calculate bulk density are often very inaccurate. My research project aims to build on the existing methodologies for bulk density calculation by finding ways to improve the equivalent soil mass method through a combination of field work and lab testing, as well as simple mathematical modeling.

Message to Sponsor

The Rose Hills Foundation funding that supported my research this summer allowed me to better understand the steps of the research process in their entirety. Because my work was often time-consuming and moved slowly, I learned to be patient and to keep my focus on my research goal, which was to calculate soil carbon stocks. Participating in this project rewarded me with a sense of purpose in knowing that my results will be consequential for evaluating soil carbon sequestration, and thus will provide one piece of the solution to the huge challenge that climate change is today. For all these reasons, I want to thank the Foundation for making all of this possible.
  • Major: Atmospheric Science
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Independent
  • Mentor: Whendee Silver