The Role of Critical Zone Observatories in Critical Zone Science

Timothy White, Susan Brantley, Steve Banwart, Jon Chorover, William Dietrich, Lou Derry, Kathleen Lohse, Suzanne Anderson, Anthony Aufdendkampe, Roger Bales, Praveen Kumar, Dan Richter, Bill McDowell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has pioneered an integrated approach to the study of Earth's Critical Zone by supporting a network of Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs). The CZOs are intensively studied and monitored sites with a focus on a range of Critical Zone processes that are well represented at the various sites. The initial network (beginning in 2007) consisted of 3 CZOs, expanded to 6 in 2009, and is currently expanding to a total of 10 in 2014. The investment in financial and human resources into the CZOs has enabled a range of new scientific investigations that were not accessible under traditional funding mechanisms, and this is leading to novel and exciting advances in scientific understanding of a fundamentally important part of the Earth system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Earth Surface Processes, 2015
EditorsChris Houser, John R. Giardino
Number of pages64
ISBN (Print)9780444633699
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Earth Surface Processes
ISSN (Print)0928-2025


  • Anthropocene
  • CZO network
  • Critical Zone
  • Critical Zone Observatories
  • Watershed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science


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