Fields of research

Since its origin the development of life on our planet has been continuously accompanied by cyclic climatic changes. These caused substantial changes in ecosystems, sometimes resulting in mass extinction of organisms and, in historical times, contributed to the fall of civilizations. Our research on the causes and effects of climatic change, in both the remote and recent past, permits us to forecast the resultant hazards. We intend, in the very near future, to create an integrated monitoring system for anthropogenic and geogenic hazards, which will include the CO2 content in the atmosphere, a crucial factor in climatic studies, and also CO2 storage in geological structures.

 

Our activities are directed towards limiting the green-house gas emission into the atmosphere

  • We study and indicate the possibilities of CO2 sequestration in geological structures

- We assess the options of CO2 geological storage in brine water-bearing horizons, in hydrocarbon deposits (with possible assistance in their exploitation) and in deep unexploited coal beds (with possible methane recovery)
- The location of underground CO2 storage sites is selected on the basis of geological criteria, impact on the environment and safety reasons
- We draw up plans for monitoring underground CO2 storage sites

 

  • We participate in the implementation of the nuclear power program

- We analyse the geological and environmental conditions at the locations of nuclear power plants, taking into consideration: hazards caused by tectonic movements, geological engineering conditions, access to water resources needed to cool down reactors, and environmental conditions – including the rate and directions of the migration of radioactive contamination in case of an accident
- We assess the possibilities of uranium supplies from domestic resources or importing it from abroad

 

  • We evaluate possibilities of using geothermal energy and other sources of renewable energy

- We study geothermal resources in this country, construct maps and thermal models
- We outline the locations of thermal water intakes and draw up guidelines on the implementation of medium-low temperature geothermal systems (including low enthalpy geothermal systems) and hot dry rock geothermal energy
- We carry out analyses of the geological-engineering conditions of water power and wind power plants
- We evaluate the possibilities of recovering methane from landfill sites

We reconstruct the pattern of climatic changes in the Earth's geological past

  • We build models of climate changes which have taken place in the past 200, 2000 and 20,000 years
  • We reconstruct changes in the level of the Baltic Sea within the past 10,000 years and evaluate hazards resulting from sea level rise due to global warming
    - we outline areas at risk from local flooding and useful aquifers threatened by salt water ingress

We evaluate the susceptibility of the natural environment to climate change – analyzing the possible hazards

  • We monitor groundwater and forecast hazards resulting both from long-lasting droughts and excessive recharge by rain water. Among others, we delineate areas threatened by inundation and indicate sites of possible ingression of pollution, including flood waters, into existing aquifers
  • We describe areas liable to be affected by erosion and steppisation of soils
  • We study erosion of the Baltic coast and the relationship between its rate and the geological structure of the coastal zone
  • We monitor the landslide hazards consequent upon long-lasting and intensive rain fall