CGRER member receives major NASA research grant


Photo by The Knowles Gallery, Flickr.

Thanos Papanicolaou – a Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, and a UI professor of civil and environmental engineering – and his colleagues received a three-year $641,737 NASA grant to research how intense agricultural activities affect carbon emissions.

Intense agricultural activities refer to the practices associated with increased crop production.

Papanicolaou hopes that the research will determine links between CO2 emission, land use-changes and soil organic carbon. From this, Papanicolaou hopes to create better estimates of future CO2 emissions.

For more information, read Papnicolaou’s research proposal here.

UI Engineer gets NASA grant to study Iowa soil erosion


Photo by Irum Shahid

UI News Services Release

With rising commodity prices bringing more farm land under cultivation, a University of Iowa researcher is checking to see whether soil erosion may also be on the rise.

Thanos Papanicolaou, professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a three-year, $642,000 federal grant through the University of Northern Iowa to study agricultural soil erosion and the carbon cycle in Iowa. Papanicolaou is also a faculty research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering with a secondary appointment at the Iowa Public Policy Center.

Thanos Papanicolaou

Funded by NASA, the Carbon Cycle program will test the development of methods and models of carbon budgets at a smaller, regional scale, which will eventually be applied at larger scales. The proposed analysis is a critical component of any system for determining carbon credits that may be developed in the future, according to Papanicolaou.

The project, involving collaboration between the UI, the University of Northern Iowa and the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, investigates how soil erosion may be threatening climate mitigation policies within the state and Midwest.

“Recently, the production of bioenergy crops has surged due to U.S. government policies calling for an increase in locally produced biofuels to lessen United States dependency on foreign oil supplies and help mitigate the burning of fossil fuels,” said Papanicolaou. “For example, there is an increase in corn acreage, as well as cash corn prices, in the Midwest because of its use in ethanol production. Continue reading

UI faculty headed to Gulf Coast to study oil spill effects


From University of Iowa News Services:

Papanicolaou

During the next few weeks, the University of Iowa Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering will bid a temporary farewell to professor Thanos Papanicolaou and two other research staff members.

The three, along with researchers from two other universities, will take off on a 10-day trip to the Gulf Coast where they will search for oil and other hydrocarbons. Researchers hope that by studying these hydrocarbons they may be able to find out what negative effects the BP oil spill in April may have had on the ecosystem….

But this isn’t the first post-spill Gulf Coast visit for those at the University. Last June, CGRER co-founder Jerry Schnoor took a few students there to study how to remedy Louisiana’s marshlands.

See more coverage of that trip.