Scientific challenge: 

Like other Future Earth global research projects, iLEAPS is a network to link involved scientists to key societal challenges related to health, biodiversity, climate, food and fuel security and ultimately the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

iLEAPS aims:

  • Act as a communication hub and coordinator of worldwide scientific research in the field of ecosystem-atmosphere exchanges and the impact of those exchanges on key societal issues.
  • Promotes scientific excellence through developing multi-disciplinary, international, science initiatives; bringing together the modelling community with satellite, experimental and field observational experts by enabling communication and networking on an international level.
  • Promotes leadership in science through capacity building in developing countries, as well as through their Early Career Scientists network.

Project overview: 

iLEAPS Science underpins 3 Future Earth challenges:

Mitigation of climate change

  • How will greenhouse gas emissions from vulnerable and marginal ecosystems (e.g., semiarid, polar) and vegetation in extreme environments be affected by changes in climate?
  • How does changing land-use, farming and forestry practice in rural environments affect trace gas and particle emissions and thus the atmospheric chemistry, air quality and climate?
  • What are the ecosystem processes that control the emission or uptake of atmospheric trace gases (including volatile short-lived carbon compounds, methane and carbon dioxide) in a changing climate, and what is the subsequent impact on the atmosphere and climate?

Environmental response to changes in climate and air quality

  • How is water security affected by changing clouds and precipitation as driven by changes in aerosol concentration and chemistry?
  • How do anthropogenic changes in atmospheric chemistry (e.g., O3, aerosols) affect food security and ecosystem services via plant productivity and biodiversity (e.g., ozone damage to vegetation) and evapotranspiration?
  • How will vulnerable and marginal ecosystems (e.g., semi-arid and polar) and vegetation in extreme environments will be affected by changes in climate

Secure and improve human health and wellbeing in rural and urban areas

  • How does urbanisation and greening of the urban environment affect the urban atmosphere and thereby human health?
  • How can we secure and improve agriculture and forestry through sustainable land-use, farming and forestry practice in rural environments in response to changing atmospheric chemistry, air quality and climate?

Method: 

To reach its goals, iLEAPS addresses a wide-ranging set of more detailed scientific issues. You can read more here about some of the projects which iLEAPS is involved with.

iLEAPS scientists try to answer the following questions:

1.a. Quantify CO2, N2O and Methane (greenhouse gases) emissions from agricultural and forestry systems under changing conditions such as climate change including extremes, changing land use management (fertiliser, irrigation, drainage, tillage, grazing) and atmospheric composition (O3 and CO2)

1.b. Quantify CO2, N2O, black carbon and methane sources and sinks from natural ecosystems such as wetlands and fire under changing conditions such as climate change including extremes and changing atmospheric composition

2.a. Understand and quantify the impact of climate and environmental change (including extremes) on the resilience of agricultural and natural ecosystems for

2.b. Understand and quantify the impact of air chemistry (CO2 and O3) changes on food and fuel production and water resources through changes in vegetation productivity and evapotranspiration

2.c. How is water security affected by changing clouds and precipitation due to changing aerosol concentration and chemistry?

3.a. Understand and quantify the role of land use management (fertiliser, fire, crop choice) on air

3.b. How urbanisation and greening of the urban environment (trees, more people, cars) affect the urban atmosphere, which affects human health and wellbeing.

You can read more about the iLEAPS Science plan here.

Early Career Scientist Network

Our network is run by Early Career Scientists for Early Career Scientists engaged in iLEAPS-related research. You can read more here.

Our goal is to establish a strong community of researchers across disciplines, institutions and geographical locations by providing opportunities to meet and engage with other members of the community. We do this via workshops and training events, and via our Regional Network pages which can be found here.

The Early Career Scientists' Network is also a great way to connect with established scientists from iLEAPS disciplines, who are also actively involved in our activities.

Funders: 

  • Natural Environment Research Council