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



More news about SSCZO on Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions

24 Nov 2020 - More news about SSCZO on Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions, which grew out of the SSCZO, also on Sustainable California

27-minute film California’s Watershed is being shown on PBS nationwide

24 Nov 2020 - This film, plus our 90-minute documentary Beyond the Brink, are also available at

NSF Blog: No soils, no life

27 Oct 2020 - They’re beneath our feet, but we seldom hear important signals in the soils

2020 CZO Webinar Series on Sustainability

17 Jun 2020 - For an updated listing of these talks, including abstracts, see /national/education-outreach/sustainability-2020/ The U.S....

Southern Sierra CZO Videos

04 May 2020 - Onward California - University of California television spots showcase Southern Sierra CZO research


CZOs at AGU 2019

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

CZ colleagues: Please contact us about proposals for NSF’s CZ Collaborative Network, due 02 Dec 2019

08 Jul 2019 - 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.


CZOs at AGU 2018

19 Nov 2018 - The 2018 AGU Fall Meeting will be held December 10-14 in Washington, D.C.

Researcher Spotlight: Morgan Barnes

14 Nov 2018 - Say 'Hello!' to biogeochemist Morgan Barnes! Morgan specializes in the study of soil nutrient biogeochemistry, focusing on phosphorus in the Sierras

Congratulations Jill Marshall on receiving the 2018 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award

06 Nov 2018 - Marshall Receives 2018 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award

Researcher Spotlight: Jeff Lauder

24 Oct 2018 - Meet forest ecologist Jeff Lauder! Lauder's research focuses on Sierra Nevada Conifers and how they have been responding to stress during drought!

Multiple postdoc and grad student opportunities at UC Merced

12 Sep 2018 - Two postdoctoral scholar positions and multiple MS or PhD research assistantships are currently available at the University of California, Merced....

Research Program Update: September 2018

07 Sep 2018 - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates

Postdoctoral Scholar - Critical Zone Scientist position with SSCZO

30 Aug 2018 - A Postdoctoral Scholar position is open with the Southern Sierra CZO in CZ science. Application deadline is September 28, 2018.

Research Program Update: July 2018

17 Jul 2018 - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates

Call for proposals: Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) Driving Convergent CZ Science

12 Jul 2018 - NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) for Driving Convergent Science in the Critical Zone

Research Program Updates: May 2018

27 May 2018 - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates

Researcher Spotlight: Ryan Bart

23 May 2018 - Meet ecohydrologist Ryan Bart! Ryan studies the interactions between water and ecosystems within the Sierra Nevada and other regions.

NSF News Release: Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests

11 May 2018 - Too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests stress water supplies, scientists say

NSF Discovery articles focus on the CZOs.

10 May 2018 - The Discoveries section of the National Science Foundation's website on Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs).

Researcher Spotlight: Russell Callahan

11 Apr 2018 - Meet the people behind the research! Russell uses a combination of geophysics and regolith geochemistry to understand landscape evolution.

NSF Discovery: On World Water Day, scientists study spawning salmon through a riverbed lens

22 Mar 2018 - NSF Southern Sierra CZO researchers peer into North America’s West Coast salmon rivers

Researcher Spotlight: Caitlin Collins

13 Mar 2018 - Meet the minds behind the data! Caitlin specializes in modeling water fluxes from drop to catchment scale, tracking water through the Critical Zone.

Discussion paper open till April 5th in Biogeosciences

06 Mar 2018 - A discussion is open for the manuscript, "Elevating the biogeosciences within environmental research networks".

Researcher Spotlight: Kimber Moreland

18 Jan 2018 - Meet the people behind the research!

Research Program Updates: January 2018

17 Jan 2018 - Recent activities and findings, funding opportunities, upcoming events, and other updates

Watch Online: AGU 2017 Nye Lecture by Roger Bales

17 Jan 2018 - Dr. Roger Bales's Nye Lecture, "Making up for lost snow: lessons from a warming Sierra Nevada", is now available to watch online.

White paper of 2017 CZ Science Meeting in Arlington, VA

01 Jan 2018 - New Opportunities for Critical Zone Science Following the June 2017 Arlington Meeting for Critical Zone Science (hosted by CZO), a white booklet...


CZOs at AGU 2017

05 Dec 2017 - Information on CZO award recipients, events, presentations, etc. at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting.

Visiting the Water Source: A Tour of the Kings River Headwaters

06 Nov 2017 - By Michelle Gilmore and Leigh Bernacchi   Ever wonder how we know what we know about water? Twenty-five intrepid water and forest managers,...

Observatory scientists volunteer with students at new STEAM Center in Merced

02 Nov 2017 - UC Merced scientists are sharing their research, stories, and expertise at Merced City School District's new STEAM Center.

Water Resources Research Special Collection: Concentration-discharge relations in the critical zone

30 Oct 2017 - Water Resources Research published a new special collection in September 2017 featuring concentration-discharge research from multiple CZOs.

UCSB graduate team working on collaborative forest restoration strategies in Sierra Nevada

03 Oct 2017 - Five master's students at the UCSB Bren School are incentivizing restoration strategies for private landholders with Sierra RCD.

New SSCZO comic artfully communicates research

19 Jul 2017 - Wonder what soils and sponges have in common? Or why some trees in the Sierra Nevada are dying while others are surviving? Find out in our new comic.

UCTV: Southern Sierra CZO researchers featured on Sustainable California channel

21 Jun 2017 - University of California Television (UCTV) features Bales, Conklin, Glaser, Safeeq, and others on the new Sustainable California channel

The frontier beneath our feet — an AGU commentary on the critical zone

21 Apr 2017 - AGU has published a collection of commentaries highlighting the important role Earth and space science research plays in society.

2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society

06 Apr 2017 - 2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society.

Gobi Desert Dust Helps Sustain California’s Sierra Nevada

28 Mar 2017 - A team of researchers found that dust provides a much greater amount of nutrients to vegetation in the Sierra Nevada than previously thought.

NSF: Dust contributes valuable nutrients to Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems

28 Mar 2017 - NSF Press Release: New research finding provides insight into role dust may play as ecosystems change


Pushing the Limits on Water Isotope Measurement:  Lawrence Livermore and UC Merced

20 Dec 2016 - Lawrence Livermore and UC Merced researchers are tracking water through the critical zone using cutting-edge technology and new collection methods.

CZOs at AGU 2016

22 Nov 2016 - CZOs at AGU 2016: Agenda and award recipients

Critical Zone Q&A with researcher Adrian Harpold

19 Oct 2016 - University of Nevada Reno's Adrian Harpold reflects on his past and present time researching at Critical Zone Observatories.

Vegetation Matters: Type conversion could impact Sierra stream flow more than changing climate alone

02 Sep 2016 - This is an excerpt of a press release originally published on 30 August 2016 by James Badham, covering a new peer-reviewed article published by...

AGU Abstracts due August 3: List of CZ Sessions

24 Jul 2016 - AGU 2016 sessions related to CZ science. Submit your abstract by August 3.

Shale Hills CZO hosts Jorden Hayes for All-Hands 2016

16 May 2016 - Jorden Hayes (Southern Sierra CZO) was an invited speaker and visitor to the Shale Hills CZO All-Hands meeting in May 2016

High school research team visits SSCZO to study snowpack and tree canopy relationships

10 May 2016 - How do tree canopies affect winter wonderlands? Students from the Center for Advanced Research and Technology are finding out.

Living with less snow in the West: What Global Warming means for our water supplies

15 Apr 2016 - The story in The Desert Sun, shows insight into the research at SSCZO and efforts being made to understand the shift in the Sierra snowpack.

NY Times: Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst

11 Apr 2016 - New York Times reporter, Henry Fountain spoke with Southern Sierra CZO PIs Roger Bales and Martha Conklin and investigtor Mohammad Safeeq as they...

“Natural Inquirer” education journal features study by Southern Sierra researchers

01 Apr 2016 - A study by Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory researchers was featured in a recent issue of Natural Inquirer, a middle school...

Critical Zone Profile - JORDEN HAYES (geophysicist, Assistant Professor)

23 Mar 2016 - Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences, Dickinson College

Snow days are work days at Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory

23 Mar 2016 - Snow days may hold some people back from going to work or school. But for Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory researchers and staff, traveling...

White House Water Summit: UC Water joins the call to action with technology pioneered at SSCZO

22 Mar 2016 - As part of World Water Day, the White House is hosting a Water Summit today and released its Commitments to Action on Building a Sustainable...

Every El Nino is Different: Roger Bales comments on the state of CA snowpack on KQED Forum

18 Mar 2016 - UC Merced Professor Roger Bales was featured on the KQED Forum radio show on March 3, 2016. Bales responded to callers' questions...

SSCZO’s Cliff Riebe and Claire Lukens shed light on the role of sediment size in landscape evolution

26 Jan 2016 - Riebe et al. combine old isotopic techniques in new ways, with big results showing connections between sediment size, erosion, topography, and climate

NSF special report: Let It Snow! The Science of Winter

14 Jan 2016 - Report reveals inner worlds of snow and winter, and their importance to humans and ecosystems


EOS: Taking the Pulse of the Earth’s Surface Systems

04 Dec 2015 - Taking the Pulse of the Earth's Surface Systems In September of 2014, Laurel Larsen (UC Berkley), Elizabeth Hajek (Penn State), and others...

KQED Quest program features Eel River and Sierra CZOs

10 Nov 2015 - San Francisco's KQED public television features the Eel River and the Southern Sierra CZOs in a production of QUEST, a science and technology...

SSCZO researchers featured in Tulare Basin Wildlife Partners “One Watershed” series

15 Oct 2015 - SSCZO's Mohammad Safeeq, Carolyn Hunsaker, and Roger Bales discuss forest health, sustainable management, and impacts on water in a changing climate.

Critical Zone Profiles - Meet the people doing CZO science (Southern Sierra CZO)

07 Sep 2015 - Get a sense of the people and the work. Several members of the Southern Sierra CZO are profiled here, including students and professors.

Critical Zone Profile - CARLOS OROZA (systems engineer, PhD student)

07 Sep 2015 - PhD Student, Systems Engineering, University of California Berkeley

Critical Zone Profile - LINDSAY ARVIN (geomorphologist, PhD student)

07 Sep 2015 - PhD Student, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wyoming

Critical Zone Profile - MELISSA THAW (mountain hydrologist, PhD student)

07 Sep 2015 - PhD Student, Environmental Systems, University of California Merced

Critical Zone Profile - MOHAMMAD SAFEEQ (hydrologist, assistant research scientist)

07 Sep 2015 - Assistant Research Scientist, Sierra Nevada Research Institute, University of California, Merced.

Joint AGU-ESA Event Brings Together Collaborative Networks

17 Aug 2015 - Members of AGU and the Ecological Society of America came together in their first joint event to discuss opportunities for research collaboration.


Using a CZO network to explore the architecture, dynamics and evolution of the Critical Zone

03 Nov 2014 - The US CZO National Office has organized a webinar on December 8, 2014 at 11AM - 12:30 PM ET.

FAQ for 2014 All Hands Meeting

20 Aug 2014 - Answers to frequently asked questions.

2014 All Hands Meeting

24 Apr 2014 - Information for the 2014 All Hands Meeting for the CZO Network on 21-14 September, including registration information and abstract submission.

California Drought Update

18 Apr 2014 - The third dry year in a row has strained California water reserves, emphasizing research on how to improve water runoff quality and quantity.

Reactive Transport Modeling Survey – Community Needs for Biogeochemical Studies

08 Apr 2014 - Reactive Transport Modeling Survey – Community Needs for Biogeochemical Studies The below survey is designed by Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Kate...

“What’s so critical about the Critical Zone?” webinar

02 Apr 2014 - March 31, 2014. Dr. Enriqueta Barrera (NSF CZO program director) and Dr. Gordon Grant (USFS; CZO Steering Committee chairperson)

UW Study: Bedrock Influences Forests More Than Previously Believed

10 Feb 2014 - Bedrock influences forests and landscape evolution much more than was previously thought, according to a study by University of Wyoming scientists.

California drought exposes Sierra’s weaknesses

08 Feb 2014 - In California, below-average precipitation for the third year in a row has lead to a worrisome situation in the Sierras.

California’s drought sparks fears for future

25 Jan 2014 - Some say state needs to rethink policies to suitably deal with climate change


AGU all week! Southern Sierra CZO presentations

09 Dec 2013 - The AGU conference in San Francisco runs all this week! Check out more than a dozen presentations, posters and events from the Southern Sierra...

Career Opportunities: NSF Program Director, Hydrologic Sciences, Rotator; two (2)  Openings

12 Nov 2013 - The Division of Earth Sciences has two vacant rotator positions in the Hydrologic Sciences program of the Surface Earth Processes (SEP)...

Potential for Rim fire ash runoff raises water quality concerns for Stanislaus County

09 Nov 2013 - Ash and sediment from last summer's Rim fire threaten water runoff in valley. M. Conklin says it's part of a larger problem for water supplies.

Data from a few Sierra Nevada white firs give clues to fate of species

13 Sep 2013 - A feature on the Critical Zone Tree-1, exploring climate change implications for white fir species

Smart sensors can measure pretty much anything

12 Aug 2013 - Network of iPhone-size devices keeps tabs on state water supply

Discoveries in the Critical Zone: Where Life meets Rock

11 Jul 2013 - The National Science Foundation's Cheryl Dybas recently finalized a new report entitled "Discoveries in the Critical Zone: Where Life meets...

High school students visit Providence site for research project

19 Mar 2013 - High school students from the Fresno area conduct research at the Providence site on snowpack depth and density - and how those vary around trees.

Watershed-scale Experimental Design (KREW webinar)

19 Mar 2013 - Research Ecologist Carolyn Hunsaker presented a USFS Landscape Science webinar on the Kings River Experimental Watershed on March 19th. This hourly...

Third snow survey shows continuing dry conditions

01 Mar 2013 - SACRAMENTO -- Snow surveyors today confirmed that water content in the mountain snowpack is well below normal for the date. {embed1} The...

Research Week Highlights Cutting-Edge Work

27 Feb 2013 - Annual display of varied research includes scientific discussions with students and faculty, a symposium by the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and a

Modesto, Turlock irrigation districts aren’t studying climate change

19 Feb 2013 - Those in charge of the Tuolumne River, the lifeblood of much of Stanislaus County, feel like they're under siege. The Modesto and Turlock...

Water jobs of the future

16 Feb 2013 - Two of the most common themes on our Opinions pages are jobs and water. Today, we put them together, taking note of a study, released last week,...

Post-doctoral researcher Adrian Harpold funded to accomplish cross-CZO science

11 Jan 2013 - Harpold awarded an NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship for a research and education program that spans 3 western Critical Zone Observatories


CZO Presentations at 2012 AGU

03 Dec 2012 - A listing of more than 125 CZO-related presentations for the 2012 annual meeting of the AGU.

California is Home to Extreme Weather, Too

01 Nov 2012 - The state won’t see a superstorm like Hurricane Sandy, but UC Merced researchers monitoring precipitation and snowpack say weather can have...

SSCZO multidisciplinary opportunities for research collaborators and graduate students

17 Oct 2012 - SSCZO multidisciplinary opportunities for research collaborators and graduate students

Snowy, Sandy Research Explores Climate Change

06 Sep 2012 - From the white, sugary sands of Hawaii to the white, powdery slopes of the Sierra Nevada, Natural Sciences Professor Stephen Hart has his eye on...

Smart Sensors in the Woods

02 Mar 2012 - Wireless sensors developed by Steven Glaser measure soil moisture, and snow depth critical to predicting spring and summer water availability.

Grad Student at Home in the Mountains

06 Jan 2012 - Peter Kirchner may have been born in California’s San Fernando Valley, but his heart and mind have always been close to the mountains. Much of...


California Researchers Expand ‘Intelligent Water Infrastructures Initiative’

07 Nov 2011 - In the Sierra Nevada, wireless sensor nodes are transmitting data indicating the amount of snow that has fallen or melted, as well as...

Southern Sierra CZO to make more than 20 presentations at the 2011 Fall AGU Meeting

23 Sep 2011 - We will be giving presentations every day at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Dec 5-9

Barbara Boxer touts clean energy in UC Merced visit

26 Aug 2011 - The UC Merced campus received a rare visit on the first day of classes. As Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer walked through the Sierra Nevada...

Senator Barbara Boxer visits Sierra Nevada Research Center & learns about the Southern Sierra CZO

24 Aug 2011 - UC Merced received its first visit by a U.S. senator Wednesday, as Sen. Barbara Boxer met with Chancellor Dorothy Leland, learned about the work of...

Better water management in forecast

18 Aug 2011 - In a remarkable outdoor laboratory in the Sierra, a team of researchers led by UC Merced hydrologist Roger Bales is using sensors to gather a mother...

Getting to the root of California’s water cycle

02 Aug 2011 - What winter brings to the Sierra Nevada determines, more than anything, how much water can be tapped in summer by California’s communities and...

Getting to the root of the water cycle

26 Jul 2011 - In a remarkable outdoor laboratory in the Sierra, UC Merced and UC Berkeley researchers use sensors to gather a mother lode of data to greatly...

Video: Wireless snow measurement system featured in “Around California Part 1”

29 Apr 2011 - The wireless snow measurement system is discussed in a 3-minute long video segment, starting at 21:10. the video was created by the UC Berkeley...

Snow Surveys of the Future. Link to radio program or listen below

30 Mar 2011 - This week's survey of the Sierra snowpack found the state's "frozen reservoir" bursting with water content -- 165 percent of normal for this time of...

Sierra’s rain-snow zone promises water insight

20 Mar 2011 - SHAVER LAKE -- In a pounding rain, scientist Matt Meadows skis toward a cluster of snow sensors. The temperature dips, rain turns to sleet, then snow....

Wireless sensors may measure snowpack more precisely, improve water shares

17 Mar 2011 - Accuracy can be key when planning for the future. It’s a truth that Central Valley farmers know too well, yet rarely receive from the unpredictable...

Wireless sensors improve snowpack measurements

10 Mar 2011 - More than half of the water used in California for farming and drinking and other everyday uses comes by way of runoff from the Sierra Nevada, and...

Wireless sensors to improve Sierra snowpack measurements

04 Mar 2011 - More than half of the water used in California for farming and drinking and other everyday uses comes by way of runoff from the Sierra Nevada, and...

UC Merced develops wireless sensors for snowpack measuring

03 Mar 2011 - Measuring the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada and then predicting how much runoff there will be as it melts during the spring and summer is an...

UC Merced prof designs sensor system to measure snowpack depth and other water issues

03 Mar 2011 - More than half of the water used in California for farming, drinking and other everyday uses comes from Sierra Nevada runoff, according to a...

Wireless sensors to improve Sierra snowpack measurements

03 Mar 2011 - MERCED, March 3, 2011 - More than half of the water used in California for farming and drinking and other everyday uses comes by way of runoff from...

Water Sense - CITRIS MOTES and Wireless Networks Deployed to Help Monitor and Manage California’s Wa

23 Feb 2011 - Water is California’s most precious resource. Where it flows, agriculture, natural habitats, culture, and industries all thrive; beyond...

New Technology Enables UC Scientists to Predict Water Levels in Snow

10 Feb 2011 - UC Merced Professor Roger Bales realizes that California has a dire problem: a water problem. According to Bales, California is currently in a...

Wireless networks could improve water forecasting

05 Jan 2011 - A new wireless data collection system deployed at Duncan Peak, located near the town of Foresthill on the Middle Fork of the American River basin,...


Scientists seek better way to tally snowpack

18 Apr 2010 - FRESNO -- Farmers and water officials throughout California wait each year for forecasts about snowmelt roaring down the Sierra's granite canyons --...

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