CZ-related sessions at AGU 2018

12 Jun 2018

Abstract submissions are due by 1 August 2018 at 23:59 ET (11:59 P.M. EST).

National | Boulder | Calhoun | Catalina-Jemez | Eel | IML | Luquillo | Reynolds | Shale Hills | Sierra |

The 2018 AGU Fall Meeting marks the start of AGU's Centennial celebration. The Centennial and this Fall Meeting will celebrate the past, present and future of the Earth and space sciences, and will demonstrate how our science is strong, vibrant, global, and essential in many ways to society. The theme of the 2018 meeting is:
What science stands for.

Important Dates:

Consider submitting an abstract to some of the CZ-related sessions at AGU 2018 listed below. A comprehensive CZO agenda will be available closer to the meeting. Contact Sarah Sharkey ( to add a session to this list.

CZ-Related Sessions at AGU 2018

B008: Beyond Ecosystem Boundaries: Integrating Terrestrial and Aquatic Processes to Advance Catchment Biogeoscience

Session Description: In-stream nutrient dynamics, watershed biogeochemical budgets, or hydrologic mobilization of nutrients are often analyzed and interpreted independently from the spatial distribution of relevant processes such as terrestrial primary productivity, decomposition, or respiration. However, the propagation of energy, water, and biological processes are manifested as emerging patterns across the terrestrial-aquatic interface, and truly integrating these processes is a critical next step for catchment biogeoscience. We invite contributions of studies that cross traditional terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem boundaries by using state-of-the art measurement and modeling techniques to better quantify catchment-scale transport, transformation, and fate of water, carbon, and nutrients. Studies with a synthetic view of terrestrial-aquatic connections are particularly encouraged, as are field-based or modeling studies whose experimental design specifically targets these connections.

Primary Conveners: Diego A Riveros-Iregui, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B020: Comparative Organic Geochemistry of Soils and Aquatic Sediments: A New View in the 21st Century

Session Description: The benchmark paper by Hedges and Oades (1997), entitled “Comparative Organic Geochemistries of Soils and Marine Sediments”, in part concluded that “the time is ripe for increased interaction among chemists studying the parallels and contrasts of organic matter in soils and sediments.”  So where are we now in the 21st century in bridging the gap between soil and sediment biogeochemical dynamics, two decades after this paper was published?  This session will focus on new paradigms and novel analytical techniques that have allowed for improved comparisons across soil and aquatic sediment systems. We invite papers that address all aspects of organic geochemical/biogeochemical processes in soils and aquatic sediments that expand our understanding of organic matter characterization, rates of decay, linkages with new “omics” techniques and microbial processes, new biomarker applications, and priming, to mention a few, that will help to better constrain carbon burial rates and turnover in a warming climate.

Primary Convener: Thomas S Bianchi, University of Florida

B083: The Role of Microbes in Terrestrial Biogeochemical Cycles: Linking Responses to Ecosystem Processes and Environmental Change

Session Description: Microbes play critical roles regulating terrestrial biogeochemical cycles. Linking processes controlling nutrient transformation and storage with disturbance responses and feedbacks to climate change is a global research priority. Studies that integrate biogeochemical approaches focused on nutrient pools and fluxes with microbial ecology approaches examining community physiology, traits, and structure reveal the complexity of interactions influencing ecosystem responses. How do individual microbial traits influence community stability and response to disturbances? How does microbial community structure change across gradients and influence vegetation dynamics? How can we use this information to predict large-scale fluctuations in soil carbon and nutrient storage? Although advances in molecular and genetic tools are improving our understanding of how microbial processes influence ecosystems, questions surrounding the level of detail appropriate to best predict environmental response to change remain. We invite cross-disciplinary studies that investigate microbial-driven responses along environmental gradients, to disturbance, and/or in the context of climate change.

Primary Convener: Dawson Fairbanks, University of Arizona

EP014: Evaluating the influence of geomorphology on carbon cycling

Session Description: Geomorphology exerts a first-order control on carbon cycling in many systems, including coastal, terrestrial, and arctic environments.  Landscape evolution influences chemical weathering, sediment transport, and the production and decomposition of organic carbon, thus critical zone processes can dictate carbon storage in rock, water, soils, and vegetation.  Ecogeomorphic feedbacks between plants and soil influence rates of carbon accumulation as well as the size and fate of carbon rich ecosystems.  Erosion and deposition of sediments are known to alter carbon storage pathways, and geomorphic changes along landscape boundaries determine how carbon is transported within and across ecosystems. This session welcomes submissions that explore the impacts of geomorphic processes on carbon cycling in any ecosystem, or the transport across systems.  These include field investigations that examine surface processes in the context of carbon storage and transport as well as modeling studies that simulate carbon cycling with respect to landscape evolution.

Primary Convener: Ethan J Theuerkauf, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EP028: Modeling the Critical Zone: Integrating Processes and Data Across Disciplines and Scales

Session Description: The Critical Zone (CZ) is the Earth’s skin where climate, geology, ecosystems, and human activities converge. The evolution and function of the CZ are governed by multiple processes (e.g., meteorological, hydrological, pedological,  geochemical, geomorphological, and biological) over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. This session aims to showcase contributions that highlight recent model development and applications to develop a predictive understanding of CZ.  We invite abstracts that: 1) demonstrate the synergy between field experiments, observations and modeling efforts; 2) elucidate underlying processes at and across multiple scales; 3) reveal new understanding about the CZ response to changing climate and land use; and 4) synthesize data or test hypotheses across multiple study sites.  The session is intended to serve as an exploration of the breadth of CZ sciences and to facilitate comparison across different sites. We encourage submissions from modeling endeavors within and across disciplines.

Primary Convener: Li Li, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

EP030: Place-based Observatory Science in Service of Society

Session Descripton: Integrated monitoring and experimentation in field observatories have played a critical role in developing ideas about soil function, hydrologic processes and ecological systems. In this session we highlight contributions from soil observatories (e.g., Rothamsted, Calhoun), the USGS Hydrologic Benchmark Network (HBN) and Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) network, experimental forests, NSF-funded field observatories (e.g., LTER sites, CZOs, NEON), and other observatories world wide. Deeply integrated measurements and long-term observations in a fixed location yield insights that often could not have been predicted at the outset. Long-term soil study at Rothamsted connects soil nutrient status to human health. The USGS HBN and WEBB networks reveal long-term trends in stream flow and water quality that can be used to discern effects of changing climate and atmospheric deposition. This session welcomes contributions from observatories, particularly where the observatory approach yielded unexpected insights.

Primary Convener: Suzanne P Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder

EP044: Tree, Water, Regolith and Rock: The Role of Roots and Plant Hydraulics in Critical Zone Processes

Session Description: Plants affect weathering, sediment mobilization, and hillslope form by exuding weathering reagents, forming fractures, anchoring sediment, and altering hydrologic fluxes on different scales. In turn, plant growth is limited by exogenous factors including soil depth, preexisting fractures, or nutrients/water. 

These processes and feedback have yet to be integrated into a holistic/predictive model of ‘co-evolution’ of the physical environment and functional biology of the critical zone. Incomplete knowledge of couplings and feedbacks between hydrological, geochemical, geomorphic, and biological processes limits progress. Hydrology provides an avenue to link these individual processes, which may be mediated through the plant hydraulic system. Root-mediated mechanical and geochemical processes are involved in all aspects of hillslope evolution. Feedbacks may arise by structuring of plant communities by the physical environment (water/nutrient availability, and substrate stability). Contributions across the disciplines exploring these connections through empirical, experimental or theoretical/modeling work on interactions of plants and environment are welcome.

Primary Convener: Junyan Ding, University of Calgary

EP047: When rock meets water and ice - geomorphic and hydrologic response in periglacial Critical Zones

Session Description: Shattered rock, frost heave, rapid sediment transport and characteristic landforms such as polygonal cracks, thermal karst and solifluction lobes are hallmarks of periglacial settings. In these landscapes, water availability, both liquid and frozen, is a key driver of physical rock weathering, erosion, and subsequent transport downslope. With rapid shifts in the seasonality of frozen vs. liquid water in a warming climate, understanding controls on a) biotic and abiotic weathering, b) hillslope-channel connectivity, c) surface-subsurface connectivity, and d) transport of fluid and sediment has implications for predicting changes in sediment, hydrologic and nutrient fluxes. This session seeks contributions from hydrologists, geomorphologists, and the broader cryosphere community to advance our understanding of water-driven subsidence, rock weathering (e.g. frost cracking), and transport processes in cold climate settings - both mountainous and gentle. These include, but are not limited to, studies utilize field observations, geochemical tools, remote sensing datasets, geophysical techniques, and numerical modeling.

Primary Convener: Jill A Marshall, University of Arkansas

GC069: Mountains as sentinels of change: Transdisciplinary approaches to adaptation and sustainable development

Session Description: Mountains exist in many regions of the world and are home to a significant fraction of the world population and to half of global biodiversity hotspots. Mountains make essential ecosystem services available.  Many of these high elevation regions act as water towers of the world providing freshwater to many lowland regions and many support unique flora and fauna and are critical habitat for rare and endangered species.  Mountain regions are particularly sensitive to global environmental changes.  Understanding how these “sentinels of change” respond to climatic and environmental variations can help societies that depend on these high-altitude resources to adapt and potentially mitigate the potential loss of essential services.    This session will focus on inter- and transdisciplinary approaches that assess the hydrological, ecological, societal and economic implications of environmental change and explore potential adaptation measures and sustainable development strategies for mountain regions.

Primary Conveners: Maria E Uhle, National Science Foundation, Directorate for Geosciences

GC085: The Food-Energy-Water System Nexus and Decision Support for Sustainability

Session Description: The sustainability of food, energy, and water resources is threatened by increasing population and climate change. The availability, management, and use of these resources are at the heart of human-nature interactions, which are intertwined with the ability of the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus system to meet societal demands while protecting ecosystem services. The resilience of this nexus system is complex, involving interconnections and interdependencies among global changes, socioeconomic pressures, governance policies, regional interventions, and human behaviors. It is therefore imperative to build interdisciplinary capability in data synthesis, cyberinfrastructure, and modeling frameworks to understand, predict, and support multi-scale decisions impacting FEW nexus sustainability. This session highlights challenges and recent progress from a diversity of interdisciplinary approaches to address FEW nexus issues.

Primary Convener: Xin-Zhong Liang, University of Maryland College Park

H016: A Second Generation of Isotopic, Trace Element and Noble Gas Tracers of Hydrologic Processes

Session Description: Stable, radioactive and radiogenic isotopes, trace elements and noble gases are routinely utilized within the hydrologic sciences to quantify subsurface flow paths, sources, residence times and reactive processes.  The last decade has seen transformative advancements in analytical technology, including resolution of novel mid-mass stable isotope systems, rapid and low-cost radioisotope analysis, as well as the decay of previously abundant atmospheric tracers.  These developments necessitate revised experimental design, interpretation, analysis, and modeling approaches, and suggest the potential for new more accurate resolution of the structure of fluid transport and solute transformation across a broad range of scales.  This session is the second year in which we offer a venue to share new insights into the linkages between surface and subsurface hydrology, ecohydrology, environmental and resource sustainability, nutrient and contaminant hydrology and associated predictive models stemming from novel isotopic, trace element and noble gas tracers in field systems, laboratory experiments and models.

Primary Convener: Jennifer L Druhan, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

H017: Advancing Catchment Science – Process Understanding and Societal Benefits From Long-Term Observation and Experimentation

Session Description: Long-term catchment studies are sentinel sites that have proved invaluable for detecting, documenting, and understanding environmental change. The watershed approach fosters hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological process understanding at a site, while a collective network of catchment observatories offers a broader context to synthesize understanding across a range of climates and geologies. Also, experimental manipulations designed to assess the effects of land management and climate change are more readily interpreted in well-understood systems. Increasingly, scientists need to deliver policy-relevant and management-oriented results with public funds. Multi-catchment comparisons at various temporal and spatial scales provide information needed to manage ecosystems, and to inform hydrological or Earth systems models. In this session, we seek contributions from observatory, long-term, and experimental catchment studies that include analysis of processes and temporal trends. We especially encourage submissions that illustrate the societal relevance of catchment science.

Primary Convener: Jonathan M Duncan, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

H020: Agrohydrology in a Changing World: From Global Processes to Local Outcomes

Session Description: Remote sensing, in-field sensors, and integrated modeling provide more information about water resources than ever before; but it remains unclear how these technologies can be used to sustain water resources and supply ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. This session seeks to explore how these data and tools can be used to improve our agrohydrological understanding and translate this understanding into sustainable, multifunctional landscapes.

We seek abstracts studying water quantity and/or water quality in agricultural landscapes and the urban-rural interface at domains ranging from subfield to global. Potential topics include (but are not limited to): (i) integrating datasets and tools to improve understanding of hydrological and hydrogeological processes; (ii) relationships between agrohydrology and other earth systems, particularly global climate change; (iii) hydrologic thresholds, regime shifts, and alternative stable states; (iv) managing streamflow diversions, groundwater pumping, and designer flows; and (v) translating scientific understanding into effective management practices and social policy.

Primary Convener: Samuel C Zipper, University of Victoria

H038: Coupled Dynamics of Physical, Biological, Geomorphic, Hydrologic, and Chemical Processes in the Hyporheic Zone Over a Range of Spatial and Temporal Scales

Session Description: Hyporheic storage, reactive transport, metabolism, and other processes occuring within hyporheic zones greatly impact the biogeochemical functioning of streams, including nutrient and contaminant dynamics. Characterizing these processes is complicated by both the coupled interactions between hydro-bio-geochemical processes and how these processes and interactions vary across spatial and temporal scales. These characterization limitations of coupled-processes controlling mass-transfer within hyporheic zones continues to inhibit our ability to predict process dynamics and transfer knowledge between sites effectively. This session focuses on mechanistic and phenomenological descriptions of coupled processes controlling fluid flow, solute transport, reactivity, and other dynamics within hyporheic zones. This session brings together investigators with interdisciplinary perspectives used to elucidate processes, characterize interactions, and predict dynamic interactions. Of interest are submissions that characterize the time-scales and magnitudes of hyporheic exchange and concomitant biogeochemical processes, and submissions exploring interaction of processes with novel field, laboratory, and/or modeling approaches are also of interest.

Primary Convener: Kenneth C Carroll, New Mexico State University

H109: Runoff generation processes– integrating observations and processes over variable scales

Session Description: This comprehensive session invite contributions on runoff generation mechanisms and observations at various spatial and temporal scales considering the roles of storage dynamics (above and belowground); connectivity in land and riverscapes; dynamics in flowpaths; linkages between landforms-soils-vegetation-water; and anthropogenic effects through the exchange of water under a changing climate. Contributions focusing on new theoretical developments and novel applications of technologies to the understanding and quantification of runoff generation processes (from conceptual frameworks, to advances in hydrochemical and isotope tracer applications, sensor and characterization methods, remote sensing, hydrogeophysics and more) are encouraged; other contributions to this broad subject are very welcome. This session integrates interests and expertise from several Hydrological technical committees (Surface Water, Ecohydrology, Water Quality, and Soils & Critical Zone Processes) while reaching out to other AGU sections including Biogeosciences, Cryophere and Global Environmental Change, Natural Hazards and others. Please join us.

Primary Convener: Catalina Segura, Oregon State University

H115: Stable Isotopes in the Critical Zone: Methods, Applications and Process Interpretations

Session Description: Stable isotopes are powerful tools for tracing fluxes of water, carbon, and nutrients. They are used increasingly by various disciplines to better understand the functioning of the soil-plant-atmosphere system on various scales. While new methods allow measurements at high spatial and temporal resolution, studies applying tracer methods are now tackling complex interactions between soil, plant physiology and ecology, and variable atmospheric drivers. As such, methodological developments and changes are happening quickly and have a strong bearing on process understanding and interpretation of findings. This session aims to address the current state of the art for methods, applications and process interpretations using stable isotopes in the critical zone and to foster interdisciplinary exchange. We welcome experimental and modeling studies that present methodological developments and applications of isotope tracers in the critical zone. Studies that seek to cross disciplinary boundaries and reveal new process understanding on interactions between compartments are especially welcome.

Primary Convener: Natalie Orlowski, University of Freiburg

H122: The Value of Critical Zone Science in Service of Society

Session Description: The thin skin of the Earth stretching from the outer canopy of vegetation to groundwater nourishes human civilization. At the same time, this thin skin evolves over timescales ranging from geological to climate change to human timescales, through processes that shape landscapes, form soils, and control water. Critical zone science has nucleated as a central focus of environmental earth scientists worldwide who recognize that this thin skin must be studied in its entirety instead of in separate parts. This new worldview of integrated study of the critical zone is now impacting societal perspectives, policy decisions and stewardship paradigms of our environment. Presentations in this session will highlight advances in all of these dimensions, while emphasizing the necessity to look at the critical zone as one unit.

Primary Convener: Suzanne P Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder

NS012: Near-surface geophysics in the critical zone

Session Description: Earth’s surface and shallow (<~100 m) subsurface environment, comprising air, water, biota, organic matter, and Earth materials, encompass the “critical zone”, the dynamic interface between the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. While it is straightforward to characterize topography and the above-ground structure of the critical zone, limited direct observations make near-surface geophysics essential to mapping and monitoring below-ground critical zone architecture. Furthermore, their wide range of applicability in terms of scale of measurement (cm to km), makes these methods particularly versatile. In this session we request abstracts focusing on: 1) geophysical characterization/imaging of subsurface critical zone architecture; and/or 2) geophysical monitoring of critical zone processes/dynamics and their interaction with hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. Laboratory to field-based studies spanning from single-point to larger scale measurements (e.g., aerial surveys) with implications for monitoring of critical zone processes in the subsurface, are of particular interest. Studies linking scales of measurement are also encouraged. 

Primary Convener: Xavier Comas, Florida Atlantic University

PA027: How Does Your Geoscience Research Matter, and Can You Explain How It Matters to Other Scientists and the Public?

Session Description: You have five minutes to explain to scientists and non-scientists alike, what you as a geoscientist do, what discoveries you have made, and why the broader effects of the geosciences really matter.  Why, for example, are the geosciences focused on Earth's critical zone? This session seeks brief, easy-to-understand presentations via poster or lightning talk engaging the public and stakeholders, such as policymakers, emergency workers, and others. There are no restrictions on your choice of words or images, but the presentation should include an assertion of why the geosciences have value and what that value is.

Primary Convener: Daniel deB. Richter Jr, Duke University

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