Project "Aérologie Cavités Gardéchoises"
This project aims to find an explanation for the increase of underground carbon dioxide concentrations, in order to contribute to a scientific knowledge on which depend health and safety conditions of speleologists, researchers, and also a public of tourist cave visitors.
Technical knowledge and scientific expertise of a partnership between speleologists and researchers will permit to develop a network of affordable monitoring instruments within specified conditions.
There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
(Herbert Marshall McLuhan)
Linked to global warming and human activity, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are increasing. As a matter of fact, CO2-levels in underground cavities are also increasing. Several years without frost have seen carbon dioxide accumulating underground, instead of being evacuated during winter, which has inevitably lead to very high concentrations of CO2 in caves.
Amongst several thousands of known caves and karstic phenomena in the Ardèche and the Gard departments of Southern-France, we are actually monitoring CO2-levels in various types of caves, in order to understand the mechanism of actual carbon-dioxide accumulations, its effects on our environment, and the influence of global warming.
However, due to the specific environment of caves and because of the complexity of cave instrumentation equipment, this project cannot be carried out by traditional scientific channels, who are dependent on a tremendous payload of budgets and bureaucracy, resulting in high operational cost and low sampling frequencies.
Instead, a unique partnership with speleologists who are coordinating the project on associative level, permits the achievement of multiple goals. Our technical and scientific knowledge and expertise are used to build a network of affordable air-quality monitoring devices within specified conditions. Speleologists are executing the follow-up of the instruments after installation, and collect the data which can't be acquired by traditional wired or wireless communication techniques.
This project aims to find an explanation for the increase of underground carbon dioxide concentrations, in order to contribute to a scientific knowledge, on which depend health and safety conditions of speleologists, researchers, but also a public of tourist cave visitors.
Since several years, we have been regularly following-up the climatological and meteorological conditions in a number of caves in the area and at the surface above them. Actually, we are monitoring carbon dioxide levels and related parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity, acidity, oxygen, radioactivity,...) in some representative cave systems, in conjunction with surface parameters.
To be continued...
Cave climate monitoring station in Aven d'Orgnac (Ardèche, FR, 2018)
Prototype 9.0.4 of Co2vKing, our smallest CO2-meter, waiting for its 3D-printed jacket before its departure underground in 2016...
Co2vKing-Alti, prototype 2015 for detecting layered CO2-beds in vertical caves.