Nine US observatories - from Puerto Rico to California.
Existing and new resources - Sensor and communication networks, eddy flux towers, boreholes, gauges and much more (some previously built by LTER, Forest Service, et al.)
Community of researchers - Collaborative teams work at the same field sites and encourage other scientists to take advantage of the CZO infrastructure.
The National CZO Program is centered on nine observatories located in differing climatic and physiographic environments, from California to Puerto Rico. Each observatory is an environmental laboratory studying the chemical, physical and biological processes that shape Earth's surface on short-to-long time scales. Support is provided by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Geoscience Directorate, Earth Science Division. An additional observatory, Christina CZO, is no longer funded by NSF. Find a summary of CZO site characteristics in the CZO Attributes Table (PDF).
Each CZO is working toward a common infrasructure while establishing additional resources that advance their unique strengths.
Ongoing collaborations exist with agencies and institutions that have either previously established infrastructure or are cost sharing new infrastructure. New additional partner institutions are encouraged.
Individual or groups of researchers from outside the formal CZO program are encouraged to take avantage of the available infrastructure and data.
08 Jul 2019 (National, Boulder, Calhoun, Catalina-Jemez, Christina, Eel, IML, Luquillo, Reynolds, Shale Hills, Sierra) - CZO will end Nov 2020, succeeded by the “CZ Collaborative Network”. Let’s explore how the CZ community can build upon the CZOs via new NSF proposals.
14 Nov 2018 (Calhoun) - How critical zone science unearths secrets: The new cross-disciplinary field of study concerns itself with the living skin of the Earth.
12 Sep 2018 (Sierra) - Two postdoctoral scholar positions and multiple MS or PhD research assistantships are currently available at the University of California, Merced....
07 Sep 2018 (Sierra) - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates
17 Jul 2018 (Sierra) - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates
27 May 2018 (Sierra) - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates
Our CZO spans from the Continental Divide (4120 m) in the Front Range of the Rockies to the western edge of the Plains (1480 m). Our research takes advantage of large differences in elevation, climate, geologic history, and weathering regime.
NW 40.158241, -105.700648; SE 39.847222, -105.002685
Approx center point lat,long: 39.977774, -105.356698
The Calhoun CZO is located in a region with an environmental history that involves some of the most serious agricultural land and water degradation in N America 5 themes:Ecohydrological Recovery; Biogeochemical Decoupling; Erosion-induced Carbon Dynamics; Human-CZ Interactions; Dynamic Persistence of Alternative States
NW 34.662333, -81.782834; SE 34.544231, -81.649356
Approx center point lat,long: 34.6035, -81.7160
[Christina CZO is no longer active]
Our CZO is located in the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain which provides drinking water to a million people in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Our research focusses on water, carbon and mineral fluxes (temporal and spatial integration), including human impacts.
NW 40.16, -76.3; SE 39.4, -75.0
Approx center point lat,long: 39.698520, -75.626309
NW 40.7263, -124.3490; SE 39.2406, -122.6680
Approx center point lat,long: 39.718588, -123.652794
NW 46.352885, -97.363941; SE 39.611674, -88.142584
Approx center point lat,long: 39.98731004722222, -88.66616; 41.72710555555556, -91.77335833333333; 44.1677, -94.0034
Secondary Bounding lat,long:
Minnesota River: NW 46.3530, -97.3517 ; SE 43.2307, -93.0885Clear Creek: NW 41.7680, -92.0185; SE 41.6530, -91.5615Sangamon: NW 40.5670, -89.5405; SE 39.6110, -88.1425
Our CZO comprises elevation (climate) gradients on rhyolite, granite and schist in northern New Mexico and Southern Arizona. Our research is especially pertinent to climate variations of arid and semi-arid systems.
NW 36.018774, -110.847624; SE 32.414320, -106.389630
Approx center point lat,long: 32.427379, -110.757822; 35.889167, -106.532206
Secondary Bounding lat,long:
Catalina: NW 32.5630, -100.8480; SE 32.4140, -100.7240Jemez: NW 36.0188, -106.6724; SE 35.7826, -106.3895
Our CZO is located in a forested, mountainous, and wet region of northeastern Puerto Rico. Our research compares two adjacent watersheds, which are underlain by differing bedrock types and exhibit differing weathering characteristics,
NW 18.410405, -65.861106; SE 18.187889, -65.669475
Approx center point lat,long: 18.279715, -65.763837
Soil carbon is the largest terrestrial C store but remains a large source of uncertainty in global climate models due to scaling and process understanding. Reynolds Creek CZO is focused on the quantification of soil carbon and the critical zone processes governing it.
NW 43.312983, -116.859446; SE 43.060888, -116.688138
Approx center point lat,long: 43.205809, -116.749823
Our CZO is a forested, first-order catchment on shale bedrock in a temperate climate. Our research promotes understanding of how the forested catchment evolves over multiple timescales ranging from the meteorological to the geological.
NW 40.731944, -78.073333; SE 40.589444, -77.846759
Approx center point lat,long: 40.65, -77.95
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.
NW 37.739566, -120.061087; SE 36.172095, -118.333915
Approx center point lat,long: 37.056960, -119.195966