Leng, Yang win National Science Foundation award to investigate climate change
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Qin Leng, Ph.D., and Hong Yang, Ph.D. (below), Professors in Bryant's Science and Technology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, to receive a $471,370 award to fund a research project that looks to the ancient past to better predict climate change generated by human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The three-year award also will support the research and training of numerous students at Bryant, helping to produce tomorrow's top scientists and engineers.
“This is a tremendous achievement and opportunity for our students, and it is an honor for Bryant. We congratulate Professors Leng and Yang in securing such a competitive and prestigious grant,” said Bradford Martin, Ph.D., Dean of Bryant’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Geological Oceanography Yige Zhang, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University will be Leng's and Yang's co-collaborator. The award will be shared by the team members of the two institutions.
Their project, "The consumption rate of a CO2 pulse: Lessons from the middle Miocene," will investigate the timing, scale, and biological impact of CO2 release 15 million years ago by intensive volcanic activities, resulting in the Columbia River Basalt in northwestern United States. Building upon their previous research published in a March 2017 issue of Geology, they will analyze the impact of the CO2 release by examining plant fossils and sediments in an ancient lake – the Clarkia Miocene Lake – in northern Idaho.
According to the NSF, the sophisticated methods to be used in this project demonstrate a “robust strategy with direct relevance to our projections of future climate change under scenarios of increased CO2. […] The potentially transformative impact of this work is palpable."
The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress that funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. The organization receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year, of which 11,000—or only 25 percent —are funded.