Journal cover Journal topic
Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 3.635 IF 3.635
  • IF 5-year<br/> value: 3.869 IF 5-year
  • CiteScore<br/> value: 4.15 CiteScore
  • SNIP value: 0.995 SNIP 0.995
  • SJR value: 2.742 SJR 2.742
  • IPP value: 3.679 IPP 3.679
  • h5-index value: 21 h5-index 21
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 593-609, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Short communication
23 May 2018
Steering operational synergies in terrestrial observation networks: opportunity for advancing Earth system dynamics modelling
Roland Baatz1,24, Pamela L. Sullivan2, Li Li3, Samantha R. Weintraub4, Henry W. Loescher4,5, Michael Mirtl6, Peter M. Groffman7, Diana H. Wall8,9, Michael Young10,19, Tim White11,12, Hang Wen3, Steffen Zacharias13, Ingolf Kühn14,15, Jianwu Tang16, Jérôme Gaillardet17, Isabelle Braud18, Alejandro N. Flores19, Praveen Kumar20, Henry Lin21, Teamrat Ghezzehei22, Julia Jones23, Henry L. Gholz4, Harry Vereecken1,24, and Kris Van Looy1,24 1Agrosphere, Institute of Bio and Geosciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
2Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
4Battelle, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Boulder, CO 80301, USA
5Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
6Environment Agency Austria – EAA, Dept. Ecosystem Research, Spittelauer Lände 5, 1090 Vienna, Austria
7City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, New York, NY 10031, USA
8Department of Biology and School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1036, USA
9Scientific Chair Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, Fort Collins, CO, USA
10Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
11Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA, USA
12CZO National Office, US NSF Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) program, Boulder, CO, USA
13Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Dept. Monitoring and Exploration Technologies, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
14Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Dept. Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
15German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
16Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
17Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), Sorbonne Paris Cité, University Paris Diderot, CNRS, 75231 Paris, France
18Irstea, UR RiverLy, Lyon-Villeurbanne Center, 69625 Villeurbanne, France
19 Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, USA
20Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, USA
21Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA, USA
22Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced, USA
23College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
24Scientific Coordination Office International Soil Modelling Consortium ISMC, Jülich, Germany
Abstract. Advancing our understanding of Earth system dynamics (ESD) depends on the development of models and other analytical tools that apply physical, biological, and chemical data. This ambition to increase understanding and develop models of ESD based on site observations was the stimulus for creating the networks of Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), and others. We organized a survey, the results of which identified pressing gaps in data availability from these networks, in particular for the future development and evaluation of models that represent ESD processes, and provide insights for improvement in both data collection and model integration.

From this survey overview of data applications in the context of LTER and CZO research, we identified three challenges: (1) widen application of terrestrial observation network data in Earth system modelling, (2) develop integrated Earth system models that incorporate process representation and data of multiple disciplines, and (3) identify complementarity in measured variables and spatial extent, and promoting synergies in the existing observational networks. These challenges lead to perspectives and recommendations for an improved dialogue between the observation networks and the ESD modelling community, including co-location of sites in the existing networks and further formalizing these recommendations among these communities. Developing these synergies will enable cross-site and cross-network comparison and synthesis studies, which will help produce insights around organizing principles, classifications, and general rules of coupling processes with environmental conditions.

Citation: Baatz, R., Sullivan, P. L., Li, L., Weintraub, S. R., Loescher, H. W., Mirtl, M., Groffman, P. M., Wall, D. H., Young, M., White, T., Wen, H., Zacharias, S., Kühn, I., Tang, J., Gaillardet, J., Braud, I., Flores, A. N., Kumar, P., Lin, H., Ghezzehei, T., Jones, J., Gholz, H. L., Vereecken, H., and Van Looy, K.: Steering operational synergies in terrestrial observation networks: opportunity for advancing Earth system dynamics modelling, Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 593-609,, 2018.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Focusing on the usage of integrated models and in situ Earth observatory networks, three challenges are identified to advance understanding of ESD, in particular to strengthen links between biotic and abiotic, and above- and below-ground processes. We propose developing a model platform for interdisciplinary usage, to formalize current network infrastructure based on complementarities and operational synergies, and to extend the reanalysis concept to the ecosystem and critical zone.
Focusing on the usage of integrated models and in situ Earth observatory networks, three...