Trinity researchers involved in new €5 million climate change project, Terrain-AI

Posted on: 15 December 2020

Researchers from Trinity are among a collaborative group seeking to improve our understanding of the impact of human activity on land use and how it relates to climate change as part of a new €5 million project, Terrain-AI.

The project has been co-funded by Microsoft Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and will be led by Maynooth University. Also involved are researchers from Teagasc, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and University of Limerick.

The research will initially focus on test sites in Ireland with the aim of reducing global carbon levels by sharing the insights and models developed with other countries.

Leveraging the latest multimodal sensing technologies, IOT devices and the Microsoft Azure Cloud, the project will build artificial intelligence (AI) models that can inform more effective and sustainable management practices, leading to significant carbon reduction.

Matthew Saunders, Assistant Professor in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, said:

“In this project we will be working to better understand the role of peatlands and wetlands in climate mitigation and will be investigating the influence of land management, hydrology, ecology and climate on the carbon stocks and greenhouse gas dynamics of these ecosystems.

“In collaboration with the University of Limerick, Teagasc, Bord na Mona and Anuland we will combine in-situ measurements with earth observation data and modelling techniques to refine emission estimates from this land cover class and will contribute to developing sustainable management protocols for the conservation and rehabilitation of these ecosystems.”

Brian Caulfield, Associate Professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering, added:

“My research will focus upon developing new ways to estimate transportation emissions. The project will use a powerful cloud computing platform that will bring together remote and static data sources to deepen our understanding of the sources of transport emissions in our country. To achieve this my team will work with Smart Dublin (Dublin City Council), Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority, gathering several sources of data on our mobility to estimate emissions profiles.  

“The transport sector is one of the largest contributors to our overall emissions and the research that will be conducted in this project will demonstrate pathways to meeting our national emissions targets in transport.”

Previously, much research in the general climate change assessment area has focused on individual land use types, or activities relating to a specific sector. However, Terrain-AI will integrate insights and data from multiple land types and multiple sectors into a modelling framework that will inform more effective policies to reduce carbon emissions.

It will also help to inform future land use practices that will achieve reduced carbon outputs such as, precision farming, carbon sequestration of grassland, and new approaches to public transport, or even tree planting in urban areas.

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