The Southern Sierra CZO is a community platform for research on critical-zone processes across the rain-snow transition in the mixed-conifer forest of the Southern Sierra Nevada. While this elevation range has characteristically rapid seasonal changes, going from snow cover to wet soil to dry soil over a 1-2 month period, climate warming will shift this transition period earlier or eliminate it entirely at the current transitional elevation.
The characteristic spatial differences along gradients offer the opportunity to substitute space for time, making the SSCZO an excellent natural laboratory for studying how critical zone processes respond to perturbations, and particularly how the water cycle drives critical zone processes.
A team of scientists from multiple institutions are carrying out research at the SSCZO, which is located along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. It overlaps with the Kings River Experimental Watershed (KREW), a U.S. Forest Service watershed-level, integrated ecosystem project for long-term research in headwater catchments in the Sierra National Forest.
Photos of equipment, activites and installations at the Southern Sierra CZO are available to download for free at our digital library. Please cite the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory whe using these photos.
August 30: UC Merced Alumnus’s Rim Fire Map Generates Lots of Attention
February 20: Research Week Highlights Cutting-Edge Work
March: Smart Sensors in the Woods.
November 1: California is Home to Extreme Weather, Too
September 10: Study Ties Forest "Greenness" in Western U.S. to Snowpack Extent (NSF press release)
September 5: Snowy, Sandy Research Explores Climate Change
August 28: National Science Foundation Funds San Joaquin River Research
August 15: River Project Promises Clarity, Security for State Water Resources
January 6: Graduate Student at Home with Mountain Water Research
November 30: Scientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water Runoff
October 3: Sierra Nevada Water Researchers Awarded $2M Grant
August 26: Boxer the First Senator to Visit UC Merced
August 10: Research Gets to the Root of California's Water Cycle
April 28: Southern California Edison Gives $250K for Energy, Water Research
March 3: Wireless Sensors to Improve Sierra Snowpack Measurements