CZOs at AGU 2019

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19 Jun 2019

A list of CZ-related sessions, abstracts and events at the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting.

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The American Geophysical Union will hold its annual meeting on 9-13 December 2019 in San Francisco, CA. This year's meeting marks AGU Centennial year. 

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CZ-related sessions, abstracts and events at AGU 2019


Index Terms: B - Biogeosciences | EP - Earth and Planetary Surface ProcessesH - Hydrology | NS - Near Surface Geophysics | PA - Public Affairs

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B - Biogeosciences

B021 - Biological weathering in the Critical Zone: An integrated multi-domain approach
Primary Convenor: Dawson Fairbanks, University of Arizona

Microorganisms, roots and associated fungal symbionts drive mineral weathering and extent throughout the Critical Zone (CZ) by acting as conduits for water and nutrient flow and through production of organic acids. Advances in process-based models, isotopic-, image-, and “-omics”-based approaches reveal the contribution of life interacting with primary rock mineral materials resulting in soil formation, expanding our understanding of the depth of the CZ. The feedbacks between biological weathering, transport, porosity generation, andco solute fluxes within the subsurface environment at varying spatiotemporal scales remains to be explored.  How are microbially-mediated transformations governed by vadose zone architecture, rock/soil fracture/matrix hydraulic pathways, and the presence of roots? How can we better elucidate biological controls on chemical weathering? We seek cross-disciplinary studies that are utilizing modeling approaches and integrating novel data sets to understand the interactions and feedbacks between roots, microorganisms, nutrients, water and minerals on varying spatiotemporal scales throughout Earth’s Critical Zone.

B035 - Controls, dynamics, and responses of deep soil carbon to land use and climate change
Primary Convenor: Kathleen A Lohse, Idaho State University

Soil carbon (C) is a source of large uncertainty in both C cycling and global climate models owing to challenges in upscaling often highly spatially and temporally heterogeneous soil C. In particular, deep soil carbon is an important component regulating the process and functioning of the critical zone between bedrock and the aboveground ecosystems. However, controls on C stabilization and destabilization remain poorly understood and understudied. A growing number of studies are beginning to quantify deep (>0.5 m) soil C storage and its dynamic change, associated biological activity and microbial communities, and sensitivities to climate and land use change. We solicit contributions that explore the dynamics and controls on deep soil carbon and are especially interested in abstracts contributing to understanding (1) the dynamics of deep soil carbon, (2) responses to land use and climate change, and (3) microbial, mineralogical and landscape controls on deep soil carbon storage and distribution.

B045 - Expanding the Critical Zone concept to examine biogeochemistry in Latin America and beyond
Primary Convenor: Zachary Scott Brecheisen, Purdue University

Research with the Critical Zone (CZ) is interdisciplinary and examines biogeochemical processes of the Earth’s surface, spanning the lower atmosphere, vegetation canopies, soils, groundwater, and bedrock. The CZ network includes sites in North America and Europe, but also extends to South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. This session aims to showcase international and interdisciplinary biogeochemical CZ research with abstracts that: 1) quantify how changes in land use/cover alter CZ biogeochemistry; 2) examine the ramifications of disturbance on the CZ, including human activities and natural disasters; 3) highlight interactions between CZ biogeochemistry and science-based management like the food-water-energy nexus and soil health; and 4) demonstrate the importance of scaling and modeling within the CZ to inform management. This session provides a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration and idea generation within the CZ community for future international studies to enhance our understanding of the structure and functioning of the human-natural world.

B080 - Multi-scale controls on soil organic matter: leveraging networks, synthesis, and long-term studies
Primary Convener: Samantha Rose Weintraub, National Ecological Observatory Network

Soil organic matter (SOM) is a critical ecosystem variable regulated by complex physical, chemical and biological interactions across scales. Better constraints on SOM pools and fluxes are required to advance understanding and generate insight into how global change will influence SOM persistence and vulnerability. Interdisciplinary research and observation networks are collecting long term, geographically distributed data that can help elucidate mechanisms driving soil organic matter dynamics, and international efforts are working toward soil data harmonization and data-model sharing.
We seek contributions investigating controls on soil organic matter using a networked, multi-site approach and/or leveraging long-term observations or experiments. Studies using novel tools, from microbial -omics to near-surface geophysical and remote sensing observations, are welcome. Contributions that discuss data dissemination, cross-site synthesis, and collaborations between empiricists and modelers within and across networks, are strongly encouraged.

B102 - Soil Carbon Change and Persistence in the Anthropocene
Primary Convenor: Kate Lajtha, Oregon State University

Soils are essential components of the Critical Zone, and are both responders and drivers of the most critical environmental changes facing the earth during the Anthropocene. Soil organic matter dynamics play a major role in determining nutrient supply and C storage in ecosystems and in regulating atmospheric CO2 concentrations. How will climate change and man’s alteration of the terrestrial landscape affect soil organic matter dynamics? A better understanding of the processes which drive C cycling in soils, and the timescales at which they operate, is critical to understanding soil C feedbacks to climate change. This session will focus on empirical and modeling studies of soils and carbon: storage potential, ages and transit times of C in soils, mechanisms of stabilization/ destabilization (including new methods for measuring and monitoring change), and ecosystem vulnerability. We welcome studies using a range of methods at different scales, from radiocarbon measurements to global modeling

B113 - The Utility of State Factors in the Biogeosciences in the 21st Century: Revisiting the Legacy of Hans Jenny
Primary Convenor: Ronald Amundson, University of California Berkeley

Environmental state factors (climate, topography, parent material, biota and time) are the cornerstone for understanding Earth surface (Critical Zone) processes.  While they were introduced in 1941 as a theoretical framework for studying the formation of soils, they were also recognized by Jenny as controls on what he called the  “larger system”, or the ecosystem. This session will focus on the use of state factors and results from these studies to understand processes within and across the Earth’s critical zone. It also is an opportunity to review, deeply, the conceptual implications of the model, and some of its untapped potential in modern earth system science. Submissions that address retrospective and future prospects regarding the use of state factors in the integration of Earth surface processes (such as landscape evolution, weathering, hydrology, geochemistry, and ecology) at multiple spatial and temporal scales and across anthropogenic gradients are encouraged.

EP - Earth and Planetary Surface Processes

EP013 - Data-driven approaches toward understanding Earth surface processes on continental and global scales
Primary Convenor: Shuang Zhang, Department of Geology and Geophysics

Probing the Earth surface processes on a continental or global scale requires the studies of interactions between geology, hydrology, geochemistry, climate, ecosystems and human activities. These studies in turn help elucidate the causes for past geological events, and contribute to more accurate predictions of the future climatic and environmental changes. Due to the complexity of the surface processes, physics-based modeling approaches in some cases might have limited power to reproduce empirical estimates. With the accumulation of accessible, reliable, and sustainable Earth data, data-driven models of Earth surface processes become feasible. We welcome presentations of studies based on data of continental and global scales, including 1) spatial-temporal geo-statistics on environmental geochemical cycling; 2) spatial-temporal exploration of land-ocean interaction; 3) data mining and machine learning application on the interaction between natural surface processes and human activities; 4) multidisciplinary research on a wide range of topics related to critical zone systems.

H - Hydrology

H019 - Advancing Knowledge on Subsurface Fugitive Gas Migration from Geoenergy Development Activities Through the Critical Zone: Fundamental Science, Environmental Impacts, Monitoring and Modeling Methodologies
Primary Convenor: Aaron Graham Cahill, University of British Columbia

Geoenergy development activities, such as petroleum resource development and geologic carbon sequestration, may lead to unintended release of fugitive gases into the shallow subsurface in a process termed gas migration. Gas migration is a multidisciplinary phenomenon requiring understanding across the fields of petroleum geoscience, geology, hydrogeology, aqueous, gas and isotope geochemistry, microbiology, vadoze zone science and micro-meteorology to assess the risks it poses to the environment. In this session we invite multi-disciplinary and process-specific studies of gas migration including: comprehensive field studies, experimental releases and investigations of real leakage events, laboratory experiments, physical or biogeochemical processes, modeling analyses and modeling tool development, novel methods to monitor gas migration, assessments of impacts on groundwater, emissions to the atmosphere and effects on climate.

H021 - Advancing Science and Societal Benefit through Long-Term Monitoring, Observation, and Experimentation in Catchment, Critical Zone, and Ecosystem Studies
Primary Convenor: Stephen D Sebestyen, USDA Forest Service

Long-term studies at sentinel sites have proved invaluable for detecting, documenting, and understanding fundamental processes and effects of environmental change on ecosystems. Watershed, critical zone, and ecosystems studies foster hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological process understanding at individual sites and broader context when synthesized across a collective network of plot to catchment scale observatories. Well-studied sites provide context relative to climate, biological communities, and geology, especially when coupled with experiments designed to assess effects of land management and environmental change. Multi-site comparisons at various temporal and spatial scales provide information needed to manage ecosystems, and to inform hydrological, biogeochemical, and Earth System models. In this session, we seek contributions on these and similar topics. We especially encourage submissions that demonstrate societal relevance from observation, long-term monitoring, and experiments.

H056 - Experimental, Field and Modeling Approaches for Understanding Complex Karst Processes in the Critical Zone
Primary Convenor: Zexuan Xu, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Stress on water resources, water quality and related geohazards in karst region has increased significantly in recent decades, as karst aquifer partially supply drinking water resources to 1/4 of the world's population. The functioning of the critical zone extending from the groundwater system to the top of vegetation canopy plays an important role in water availability under a changing climate and human activities. Challenges are existed because of the special characteristics of the critical zone in karst, including the dynamic and heterogeneity of aquifer properties, thin soil profiles, and unique geochemistry processes. All these features result in complex hydrological, geochemical, and biological processes that affect water and solute transport over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Interdisciplinary studies, including field instrument development, mathematic modeling and interaction with other subjects are important in understanding water resources availability and biogeochemical dynamics in karst aquifers, and welcomed in this session.

H076 - Hydrogeological Controls on Groundwater Partitioning, Residence Times and Geochemical Fluxes in the Critical Zone
Primary Convenor: Sarah Leray, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Groundwater flow partitioning and residence times across a broad range of scales exert a critical control on groundwater and surface water quality as well as various geological processes. Previous studies on the subject have traditionally focused on topography-driven flows, assuming that the water table is a subdued replica of the topography. Comparatively, climatic, geologic, vegetative and anthropogenic controls on flow and transport have received little interest. Hence, although largely acknowledged, the role of these additional factors is still poorly understood. This session explores recent advances and challenges in unravelling the role of all hydrogeological factors on groundwater flow partitioning and its implications for transport and geochemical fluxes. Presentations may cover a wide range of approaches including analytical and numerical modelling, hydraulic, chemical and geophysical data, and theoretical frameworks. The introduction and application of innovative characterization methods is encouraged. Contributions may focus on a variety of scales, from riverbeds to continents.

H111 - Reactive transport at the pore scale
Primary Convenor: Elli M Heil, Colorado School of Mines

Coupling of chemical reactions, solute transport, and fluid flow at the pore-scale control macroscopic geochemical behavior and evolution of fluid movement in porous media. These pore-scale reactive transport processes play a fundamental role in many natural and engineered Earth systems (e.g. critical zone evolution, resource emplacement and extraction, aquifer management, and groundwater contaminant mitigation). A thorough understanding of the coupling of physical and chemical processes at the pore-scale is needed to improve our ability to control and predict reactive subsurface systems. In this session, we broadly invite contributions on novel experimental, theoretical, and numerical techniques for measuring, visualizing, quantifying, and benchmarking reactive pore-scale processes. Presentations combining experimental approaches with numerical simulations are of particular interest. The goal of this session is to bring researchers together from a variety of fields to discuss recent progress and further advances in the science of microfluidic experimentation and simulation.

H119 - Runoff generation processes– integrating observations, hydrological and geomorphological processes over variable scales
Primary Convenor: Catalina Segura, Oregon State University

This comprehensive session invites contributions on runoff generation mechanisms, dynamic hillslope behaviour 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 and Critical Zone Properties; linkages between landforms-soils-vegetation-water; and anthropogenic effects through the exchange of water under a changing climate and land use. Contributions focusing on new theoretical developments and novel applications of new technologies (including conceptual frameworks, developments in hydrogeomorphology, advances in hydrochemical and isotope tracer applications, new sensors, remote sensing, hydrogeophysics, etc.) to understand and quantify storage and runoff generation processes are particularly encouraged. This session integrates the interests 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.

H124 - Stable Isotopes in the Critical Zone: Methods, Applications, and Process Interpretations
Primary Convenor: Stephen P Good, Oregon State University

Stable isotopes are powerful tools for tracing fluxes of water, carbon, and nutrients. They are increasingly used in various disciplines to better understand processes occurring in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Furthermore, new methodological and technological developments have facilitated tracing isotopes at much finer scales, but also across larger domains. By enabling the tracing of exchanges across distinct landscape pools, stable isotopes support new interdisciplinary perspectives on critical zone processes. This session aims to address the current state of the art for methods, applications, and process interpretations using stable isotopes in the critical zone. Studies that cross disciplinary boundaries and reveal new process understanding are especially welcome. This session also encourages contributions that celebrate the AGU's Centennial, including reviews of historical data and the evolution of stable isotope tools within the critical zone, as well contributions that discuss the future direction and needs of the critical zone stable isotope community.

NS - Near Surface Geophysics

NS012 - Near-surface geophysics in the critical zone
Primary Convenor: Gregory Mount, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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 also encouraged.

PA - Public Affairs

PA017 - Critical Zone Science: from natural to social sciences
Primary Convenor: Jerome Gaillardet, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris

The term Critical Zone is used by Earth Scientist to designate the thin surface of the Earth which supports most of human and ecological life on the planet. It is extending from the non weathered rocks to the lower atmosphere, has been created and transformed by the solar energy and a complex set of reactions involving living organisms. The word “critical” underlines the fragility of this thin surface its importance for the politics of nature in the Anthropocene, for social sciences in general, economy and art. In this session, we wish to encourage collaboration between natural and social sciences by focusing on the Critical Zone as a meeting place for different forms of knowledge and action. The session aims at sharing different visions of, engagements with, and representations of the Critical Zone to help illustrate how humans and non humans agencies are connected in the CZ.

PA059 - Sustaining Critical Zone function: challenge of incorporating socio-economic factors and developing policy
Primary Convenor: Timothy S. White, Pennsylvania State University

The Critical Zone (CZ) is the uppermost layer of continents that provides the terrestrial resources and services required to sustain functioning natural environments and human communities. The CZ science community increasingly recognises that future evolution of the CZ will significantly depend on transformations occurring now in the socio-economic sphere. Exploring possible future long-term evolution of the CZ thus requires understanding the socio-economic drivers that determine the pressures exerted on natural resources and services. This understanding enables the development of holistic integrated models that can help design policies to improve CZ sustainability. This session aims to coalesce scientists from the natural, social and economic sciences to discuss the effects of socio-economic factors on CZ function, past, present and future. Contributions can focus on soil, surface and groundwater resources and terrestrial ecosystems management, provided they consider the linkages between those components of the CZ and society, as well as the long term.


The Critical Zone: Observatory Progress and New Opportunities Town Hall
Primary Convenor: Timothy S. White, Pennsylvania State University 

Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) are natural laboratories for investigating Earth surface processes. CZO research seeks to understand these coupled processes across all timescales using quantitative models parameterized from observations of meteorological variables, streams and groundwater, and sampling and analyzing landforms, bedrock, soils, and ecosystems. Teams of cross-disciplinary scientists at nine sites across the U.S. work to further CZ science using field and theoretical approaches, education and outreach. The U.S. network includes a national office that works with other U.S. entities including the LTER network and CUAHSI, and various international environmental science networks. In this town hall the CZO community seeks to engage the greater Earth surface and environmental science community through: 1) an update of network-scale research outcomes that could not have been achieved without the CZO approach; 2) other recent U.S. network and international activities; and, 3) reports on various upcoming opportunities to engage in CZ science through Research Coordination Networks, international programs, and the soon-to-be-announced next version of the CZO program in the U.S. All scientists interested in problems related to Earth surface and environmental science are invited. 

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