EarthByte Deep Carbon Modeling Workshop, Sydney, Australia

On 29-30 August 2016, the EarthByte group hosted a workshop at the University of Sydney School of Geosciences to bring together data scientists and geoscientists exploring the deep carbon cycle.

At the workshop, the EarthByte team demonstrated their open-source subduction zone and oceanic crust modeling tools, which are best used to visualize data in deep time and to help researchers test hypotheses about the planetary scale deep carbon cycle with a plate kinematic model. 

The project aims to to fill knowledge gaps about carbon cycling between Earth’s interior and the atmosphere. EarthByte’s subduction zone analysis tool is versatile and offers a first approximation of how volcanic arc carbon dioxide emissions influence climate through deep time, using subduction zone length as a surrogate for carbon dioxide flux at subduction zones. The EarthByte tool utilizes the community framework of GPlates, desktop software for the interactive visualization of plate-tectonics, to visually communicate and present open-source data for the purpose of outreach and education.

Geoscientists attended the workshop from Macquarie University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Wollongong, and the University of New South Wales, along with dozens of students and researchers from the University of Sydney. The presentations focused on climate forcing mechanisms – such as silicate weathering and the prevailing Westerlies – as well as carbon sources and sinks over various time scales. Most presentations streamed live on the EarthByte YouTube channel so participants could tune in from around the world (including an EarthByte research assistant who watched the live stream from an airplane!).

On the final day, participants discussed collaborative activities, such as building more complexity into the carbon cycle model and engaging geoscientists with atmospheric-ocean modeling expertise.  Inspired by participant feedback, the EarthByte team is now investigating how to incorporate silicate weathering models and reef development into paleoclimate reconstructions within a plate tectonic framework.


Full workshop schedule (PDF).

Report and photos contributed by Sam Doss and Jodie Pall (University of Sydney, Australia).

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