It is critically important to test earth and environmental science theory and approaches in the field—under in situ real-world conditions. Community observatories are long-term research sites that allow critical observations to be made across a range of relevant Earth system compartments—from deep bedrock to the atmosphere—across natural gradients and lithologic regions, and from sub-second to multi-decadal timescales. Community observatories provide important instrument and technology testbeds, and facilitate the acquisition of continuous, large and diverse datasets that can be used to study long-term behavior of natural systems.
Nimble & Networked Sensing Systems
Acquiring in situ measurements by using nimble and networked sensing systems is key to the EESA Grand Challenges. Nimble and networked sensing systems are being developed to quantify biogeochemical, hydrological, geomechanical, geological and atmospheric properties. These technologies can be configured as single-point measurement devices or as networked arrays that provide larger spatial coverage and higher sampling density. We are developing geophysical approaches to non-invasively sense a wide range of attributes governing Earth and environmental system behavior, from fracture formation in reservoirs to microbes
near plant roots to cloud formation.
Scale-Adaptive Data & Simulation Tools
Scale-adaptive data tools are new approaches that enable knowledge generation from diverse multi-scale data including deep machine learning and data analytics, new visualizations of complex, multi-scale spatial and temporal data, and approaches to rapidly perform parameter estimation using large observational datasets. Scale-adaptive simulation tools, such as Adaptive Mesh Refinement, are being used to allow models to ‘telescope’ into compartments of a system and change resolution and computational allocations when and where needed for improving prediction of multi-scale system behavior.