PRIN PNRR – An integrated modeling approach for mitigating climate CHANge effects through enhanCEd weathering in Southern Italy

The urgent need to take action to combat climate change has led to the development of different kinds of strategies, such as some Carbon Dioxide Removal techniques, which are mostly devoted to sequestering atmospheric carbon and storing it in more stable forms within existing rocks, oceans, vegetation or other terrestrial environments. Enhanced Weathering (EW) is considered one of
the most promising techniques, which consists of amending soils with silicate minerals (i.e., olivine) since they are highly reactive with CO2 and worldwide extensively available.
A key role in the dissolution of these minerals, hence in their reaction rate with CO2, is played by soil water content dynamics, which, apart from rainfall, are affected by soil and vegetation types. EW dynamics are also strongly influenced by soil mineral composition, which affects the pH levels before olivine amendment and, in turn, its dissolution rate. Olivine dissolution and carbon sequestration dynamics are strongly controlled by rainfall dynamics as well as soil processes and crop cycles. Starting from these considerations, the present project aims to understand which of controlling factors are mostly connected to changes in EW time dynamics, allowing us to define the most suitable combined characteristics of climate, soil, and vegetation to host a possible EW intervention in the cropland areas of Southern Italy, where the agricultural sector is a relevant one.
Other than that, the project aims to assess future changes in EW dynamics due to future climatic scenarios, given that these could result in different precipitation patterns. The future climatic scenarios will be defined by the research unit (RU) of the Univ. della Calabria and is part of Milestone 1 (MS1). The large-scale hydrologic modeling, which includes different evapotranspiration models for various crops, will be treated by the Univ. di Napoli Federico II RU (Milestone 2 – MS2). Part of the first two milestones will be used as input to simulate soil biogeochemical processes and olivine dissolution and carbon sequestration dynamics at the scale of the Italian territory under a variety of possible future climatic conditions, by the Univ. di Palermo RU, achieving Milestone 3 (MS3). These reproductions may also be useful for uncertainty quantification of carbon sequestration estimates. Lastly, the Milestone 4 (MS4)
consists of optimizing the crop strategies, considering the differences in terms of climate, soil, and crop types, in the context of EW and will be jointly carried out by all RUs. The same milestone will consist of the evaluation of the total carbon sequestration potential of southern Italy by applying EW to different fractions of the cropland areas; indications of the best olivine amendment strategy that copes with climate change effects, will also be provided.