- Workshop perspective: Ecological monitoring networks have increased our understanding of the biotic and abiotic controls on global biogeochemical cycles for more than half a century. Modern advances in autonomous measurements have increased data collection by such networks by several orders of magnitude. Such advances have presented ecologists with challenges in analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing these large historically unprecedented datasets. These challenges mirror those faced by mid-century meteorologists and early weather monitoring programs, whose experience can be leveraged by ecologists seeking large scale understanding of biogeochemical cycles. In this workshop, we will explore the history of both meteorological and ecological monitoring networks, and identify common challenges and lessons learned regarding the analysis and synthesis of large networked datasets. These workshop activities will ultimately be used to develop a roadmap for exploring large datasets produced by ecological monitoring networks, such as NEON.
- Defining the community supersite concept: NCAR observing capabilities can augment NEON observations, and there is strong interest in the ‘supersite’ concept with an expansive field campaign around a NEON core terrestrial site. This would leverage the NEON network for additional measurements (e.g., atmospheric composition and chemistry; linking surface process and PBL) and fill data gaps. Community-driven proposals would augment NEON observations with NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facility (LAOF) resources. Additionally, there is the potential to involve data and infrastructure from the Long-term Ecological Research Network (LTER) due to the high number of NEON-LTER collocated sites. Science benefits would be to: develop process understanding; study heterogeneity in surface fluxes; assess 3-D transport and impacts on eddy flux calculations; and reconcile bottom-up and top-down flux estimates. Super site research could tie into NCAR-wide activities on the boundary layer and atmospheric chemistry. There is much potential, but the details need to be further developed by a working group.
- Implementing the community land model (CLM) on NEON core sites and domains: The link between NCAR models and NEON observations is very strong, is at a mature stage, and is ready for immediate follow-up. There is strong interest in setting up CLM5 to run at NEON core terrestrial sites and across NEON ecoclimatic domains, and a modeling-observation working group is being formed. A pilot project is focused on Harvard Forest as a demonstration of quasi-real time modeling, with subsequent extension to other sites. This project has multiple aims including: (a) identifying the technical challenges and model-data requirements; (b) building a collaborative partnership between modelers and observationalists; and (c) building the infrastructure to enable ecologists to contribute to CLM5 development by using the model at NEON sites, adding new process parameterizations or improving upon existing parameterizations, and testing the model against observations. A particular science focus of the project is error characterization (model structure, parameters, initial conditions, meteorological forcing, observational error). An additional goal is to identify the benefits of NEON data to constrain model uncertainty. A second phase of the project is to extend the modeling across NEON ecoclimatic domains.
Due to the specific nature of this workshop we envision approximately 30 participants distributed equally among NCAR, NEON, and university scientists. In an effort to broaden participation, we are accepting a small number of applicants (~10) via this open application process. With this open application process we are targeting early career scientists (PhD candidates and postdocs). Successful applicants will have familiarity with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or a demonstrable interest in ecological forecasting or network science. Applicants from historically underrepresented groups in STEM and minority serving institutions are strongly encouraged to apply.
The workshop will be hosted by NEON and NCAR . Please note that applying to the workshop implies a commitment to both attend the meeting itself and contribute to product development (i.e. publications) following the workshop. Travel funds will be available for those selected to attend.
The application period is now closed.
This workshop is currenlty being rescheduled and will not occur from April 21-23 as originally scheduled. Once announced, new dates will be added and sent to participants. Held at NCAR in Boulder, CO.
April 2019 Workshop
This NSF-sponsored joint NCAR and NEON workshop, Predicting life in the Earth system – linking the geosciences and ecology, was an opportunity to bring together members of the atmospheric science and ecological communities to advance the capability of Earth system prediction to include terrestrial ecosystems and biological resources. The workshop’s overarching theme focused on convergent research between the geosciences and ecology for ecological forecasting and prediction at subseasonal to seasonal, seasonal to decadal, and centennial timescales. Specific goals are to:
- bring together atmospheric scientists and ecologists to leverage the expertise, facilitate further engagement, and promote synergies among those research communities to observe, monitor, and model ecosystems and atmosphere-ecosystem interactions in a changing planet;
- highlight progress and accomplishments in ecological forecasting and prediction and to identify observational, infrastructure (both data services and community models), and computational challenges that limit current capabilities; and
- identify new initiatives, collaborations, and science questions.
The deliverables of this workshop will be three manuscripts related to the following subtopics:
- NEON & NCAR observations—e.g. How might the atmospheric and ecological modelling communities exploit NEON data and NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities? What gaps exist and how might they be mitigated?
- Data infrastructure—e.g. What are best practices and innovations that can be shared to enhance user community accessibility and usability of data products? What are the tools or higher-level data products that can be derived from NCAR and NEON data that can deliver the most benefit to the atmospheric and ecological communities?
- Environmental forecasts, predictions, and predictability—e.g. What ecological states and processes can we predict/forecast with our current models and observational networks, and on what timescales? What do we (as a society) want and need to predict/forecast? What are the gaps?
Due to the specific nature of this workshop, approximately 45 participants were invited; distributed equally among NCAR, NEON, and university scientists.
In an effort to broaden participation, workshop organizers accepted a small number of applicants (3-6) via this open application process. Successful applicants had familiarity with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or a demonstrable interest in ecological forecasting. Applicants from historically underrepresented groups in STEM and minority serving institutions were strongly encouraged to apply.
April 9-11, 2019, held at NCAR in Boulder, CO.
PIs & Steering Committee
- Mike SanClements, NEON Senior Scientist & Assistant Professor Adjunct at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder
- Gordon Bonan, NCAR Terrestrial Sciences Section Head & Senior Scientist
- Mike San Clements, NEON; expertise in forest soil science, biogeochemistry of biological and environmental controls on ecosystem exchanges of mass and energy, using tools such as eddy covariance, remote sensing, and ground-based measures of ecosystem physiology to address these topics.
- Rebecca Morss, NCAR, Deputy Director Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory; expertise in weather forecast systems and risk communication temperate and polar ecosystems
- Claire Lunch, NEON; expertise in data science, carbon cycle, biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks, and plant- and ecosystem-scale adaptation to novel environments
- Michael Dietze, Boston University, expertise in ecological forecasting, with interest in the ways that iterative forecasts can improve and accelerate basic environmental science, while at the same time making that science more directly relevant to society
- Douglas Schuster, NCAR, head of Data Engineering and Curation Section (Computational and Information Systems Laboratory); expertise in data curation, documentation, and management
- Britt Stephens, NCAR, Earth Observing Laboratory; expertise in measurement technologies and the carbon cycle
- Andrew Fox, University of Arizona (visiting NCAR); expertise in data assimilation and ecological predictions
- Abigail Swann, University of Washington; expertise in atmospheric science and biosphere-atmosphere coupling
Workshop summary materials and notes will be added.