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Soil data and complexity: tools and models
Convener: Ana Maria Tarquis  | Co-Conveners: Behzad Ghanbarian , Hans-Jörg Vogel , Beate Zimmermann , Ruth E Falconer , Tomislav Hengl 
 / Tue, 19 Apr, 10:30–12:15
 / Attendance Tue, 19 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Soil is a complex system that plays a critical role in ecosystem services including agricultural production, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and the control of key hydrological processes such as recharge and runoff. These processes depend on soil properties that vary in complex ways at multiple temporal and spatial scales. To understand and manage the soil we require a combination of powerful theoretical tools with efficient, open and statistically robust systems to collect, manage and analyse data and visualize the results. It is important that these two key aspects of soil science are developed in tandem through dialogue, that is the objective of this session.

We shall discuss challenges in quantifying the soil system, and the ways in which soil complexity can be characterized and visualized at scales from pore to landscape. Modelling methods under discussion will include mathematical methods that permit scaling analysis, and more explicit physical and geochemical process models. We shall consider the potential of web-based apps to support both the collection of soil information(e.g. by crowd sourcing) as input to models, processing with open-source code (e.g. R) and effective dissemination to a wide audience.