Levels of nitrous oxide are difficult to measure in agricultural sites across Australia due to their scattered nature. So scientists from the Queensland University of Technology have created “Semaphore,” a computer program that aims to help farmers and landowners track their greenhouse gas emissions. By measuring the amount of nitrous oxide produced by fertilizers, soils, and varying temperatures, researchers can work with the industry to suggest climate-friendly alternatives.
Semaphore uses a cloud-based model of biochemical tools that simulate the fluctuations of carbon and nitrogen in the atmosphere. Initiated by Professor Peter Grace of the National Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Research Program, the software has the advantage of combining data from 15 sites across Australia.
In addition to aggregating and processing large amounts of information, the program allows researchers around the country to bring their findings to a single place. Semaphore also makes it easy to sidestep costly and time-consuming transactions with international investigators. Once information is processed, the computer models will let researchers and farmers test their climate reduction strategies more quickly. The program developers estimate that simulations could cut down testing time from five days to nearly none.