ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

EGU 2020


EGU General Assembly 2020

Vienna, Austria

The EGU General Assembly 2020 will bring together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The EGU aims to provide a forum where scientists, especially early career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.

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Important Dates

CZ-related sessions, abstracts and events at EGU 2020

BG1.6: Functions and functioning of the Critical Zone

Convener: Gerd Gleixner | Co-convener: Antonello Provenzale
Description: The critical zone comprises the Earth's permeable near-surface layer from the top of the canopy to the bottom of the groundwater. It is the zone where hydrosphere, atmosphere, pedosphere and geosphere interact with the biosphere. This fragile skin of our planet, which supports the life and survival of humans maintaining food production and drinking water quality, is endangered by threats such as climate change and land use change. This multidisciplinary session will bring together scientists from all disciplines that contribute to our understanding of the critical zone from the molecular to the global scale and from fast processes like electron transfer reactions to slow processes like the rock cycle. Studies that cover single-site investigations, targeted experiments, remote sensing studies, large data compilations and modelling studies are all welcome, especially if they combine multiple approaches. Cross-scale studies are especially encouraged and special attention is payed to extreme environments and events such as drylands, high-latitude and high-altitude regions and fires.

BG2.23: Whole system approaches in addressing long-term changes in ecosystems

Convener: Michael Mirtl | Co-conveners: Jaana Bäck, Giorgio Matteucci, Daniel Orenstein
Description: The development and functions of ecosystems and their responses to environmental drivers are inherently long-term processes that need to be studied along gradients in time and space. Global anthropogenic drivers of change interact with natural processes, causing uncertainties, tipping points and potential crises in system behaviour Further, most ecosystem services are strongly interlinked and require a multi- and transdisciplinary approach that allows for the simultaneous analysis of multiple processes and feedbacks. The sites and platforms of the long-term ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological research networks and research infrastructures (ILTER, eLTER) distributed around the globe offer a unique tool for this.

This session focuses on research performed at sites and platforms implementing a whole system approach. Emphasis will be on results presenting long-term changes and responses of ecosystem and socio-ecological processes to environmental drivers, as well as observations scaling up from sites to larger regions up to the continental level.
We welcome studies linking biodiversity loss, climate change, and other anthropogenic pressures to ecosystems. We encourage contributions using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches, addressing relationships among different ecosystem compartments (vegetation, soils, waters etc.) or between ecological and social systems, as well as transdisciplinary studies that incorporate diverse forms of knowledge beyond the scientific community.

HS10.3: Water, isotope and solute fluxes in the soil-plant-atmosphere interface: Investigations from the canopy to the root zone

Convener: Natalie Orlowski | Co-conveners: Josie Geris, Christophe Hissler, Pilar Llorens, Matthias Sprenger
Description: Stable isotopes are powerful tools for tracing fluxes of water and associated nutrients in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. They are increasingly used by various disciplines to better understand the functioning of the soil-plant-atmosphere system. While new methods allow measurements at high spatial and temporal resolution, studies applying tracer methods are now tackling complex interactions between soil processes, 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 to improve the actual knowledge of the water and nutrient exchanges at the soil-plant-atmosphere interfaces. Studies that seek to cross disciplinary boundaries and reveal new eco-hydrological process understanding are especially welcome.

SSS5.8: Soils and the Critical Zone: carbon, resilience, and change

Convener: Chris McCloskey | Co-conveners: Emily Dowdeswell-Downey, Daniel Evans
Description: Soils represent a major terrestrial carbon store and are an essential component of the critical zone: the near-surface terrestrial layer extending from the bedrock through to the lower atmosphere. Carbon fluxes between soils and the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere are an important element of Earth system processes. Both organic and inorganic carbon plays a critical role at every soil interface at all spatial and temporal scales.

It is essential that we consider the role of carbon in all soil systems, from the microbial and aggregate scale to the catchment and the whole land surface, in order to better understand the interconnectivity between rocks, soils, plants, and the atmosphere. This is particularly important as carbon cycles are facing multiple perturbations, ranging from rapid shifts in land use and management to degradation and long-term environmental and climatic change. Alongside considering individual pools and fluxes we must also integrate them into a fuller, holistic picture of soil carbon.

This session will consider terrestrial carbon pools and dynamics and embrace a range of scales. We welcome contributions that consider carbon fluxes within and between different elements of the critical zone, alongside innovative methods of quantifying and imaging carbon stocks and fluxes. Early career researchers are strongly encouraged to apply, and we seek submissions considering empirical, modelling, or meta-analytical approaches.

SSS8.10: Interactions between Geology, Biology and Climate at the Earth's surface

Convener: Steffen Seitz | Co-conveners: Annegret Larsen, Carsten W. Mueller, Kirstin Übernickel
Description: The critical zone comprises a constant feedback system between climate, topography, parent material and biota. Its complex interactions not only regulate manifold ecosystems, but also shape the Earth’s surface. Soils form at this interface between atmosphere and lithosphere, sustaining terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical cycles. Climate has a strong effect on soil properties via biological and hydrological processes, as changing water availability and thus vegetation affects soil physical and chemical properties. Topography is also an essential factor in soil formation through its influence on the redistribution of solutes and particles. Even though the underlying geology and tectonic processes have long been recognised as driving parameters for long term soil and landscape development, this is much less so for biological processes. The driving force of microorganisms, plants and animals on the formation of soils and the shape of land surfaces is still poorly understood.

Recent interdisciplinary research efforts attempt to close these scientific gaps. This session aims to bring together geoscientists, soil scientists and biologists working at different spatial and temporal scales on how soils, topography and particularly soil flora and fauna affect landscape development, erosion control and thus form the Earth’s surface. The session will cover a multitude of topics such as bio-mediated redistribution of material in the weathering zone, biotic influence on sediment fluxes and erosion, the influence of micro-biota as a driver of weathering, the depositional legacy of coupled biogenic and geological systems and/or new modelling approaches to bridge different spatial and temporal scales.

We strongly encourage early career scientists to present their research, ideas and new conceptual approaches, which will be discussed during the session.

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