Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (SSCZO) is one of ten NSF-supported observatories investigating Earth's critical zone, the outer skin of the earth's surface where rock, soil, water, air, and life interact. The critical zone ranges from the top of the tree canopy to the deepest layer of soil. Interactions between the physical, biological, and chemical processes of the critical zone are complex-- and we are still learning about them.
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Researchers collaborate on SSCZO projects from bacterial to watershed scale, quantifying evaporation by the hour and erosion by the millenium. Projects are based at a network of sites from 400 to 2700 m in elevation on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
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Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) are resources for the scientific community, with multidisciplinary research, extensive site infrastructure, conceptual and numerical models, and thousands of data entries available for collaboration.
Investigators, students, and collaborators conduct research on a variety of topics spanning several disciplines, at multiple spatial and temporal scales:
Hundreds of instruments are installed and maintained at SSCZO, many continuously logging measurements through a wireless sensor network:
Data from instruments and other measurements are available for research analysis and modeling. Our data catalog:
SSCZO continues to develop and expand conceptual and numerical models of the critical zone covering:
The following are links to a local document archive at the Southern Sierra CZO
NEON Domain 17 site is proposed to be co-located with some SSCZO infrastructure. The most recent Plan of Development for NEON D17 is available here.
Periodic updates are sent by email to the SSCZO research team and interested parties. Emails highlight news, publications, opportunities, and events. To receive updates, please email Michelle Gilmore.
Archive: 2014-01-24 || 2014-01-31 || 2014-02-03 || 2014-02-08 || 2014-02-27 || 2014-03-24 || 2014-04-07 || 2014-05-20a || 2014-05-20b || 2014-06-17 || 2014-07-01 || 2014-07-08 || 2014-07-18 || 2014-08-26 || 2014-09-02 || 2014-11-06 || 2014-12-04 || 2015-01-21 || 2015-01-22 || 2015-02-13 || 2015-02-17 || 2015-03-18 || 2015-04-15 ||
Hundreds of instruments and sensors have been deployed in the primary SSCZO research site of the Providence Creek watershed as well as in Wolverton basin. Additional SSCZO flux towers and instruments have also been installed at the San Joaquin Experimental Range, Soaproot Saddle, and Short Hair Creek.
Explore more photos of the intstuments and sensors used by SSCZO.
SSCZO is based in the southwestern Sierra Nevada with sites ranging from oak savannah to subalpine forest, crossing the rain-snow transition zone.
Research at these sites focuses on water, nutrient, and soil fluxes; and landscape and climate changes cross space and time.