Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sessions
Disciplinary sessions AS–GM
Disciplinary sessions GMPV–TS

Session programme


SSS – Soil System Sciences

Programme group chair: Claudio Zaccone

SSS12 – Crossing boundaries: inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary in Soil System Sciences

Programme group scientific officers: Bas van Wesemael, Steffen A. Schweizer, Claudio Zaccone


Human interaction with the environment has gone through several stages of evolution. Being a product of the natural evolution of living organisms in the biosphere, Homo sapiens as a species has evolved in the geochemical conditions of the virgin biosphere. The rapid development of intellectual abilities of this genus allowed, first, to survive in adverse environmental conditions around the whole world, then, to cultivate the land, transform the entire system of biocenoses, and now to create a new habitat for man exclusively. The result was a significant geochemical transformation of the virgin biosphere, but a kind of punishment for the achieved progress was the emergence of a number of endemic diseases of a geochemical nature. Nowadays a variety of anthropogenic sources of pollution and their location in various natural geochemical conditions require not only constant monitoring of the chemical state of soil, water, air and food products, but also the development of spatially differentiated approaches to assessing the risk of provoked diseases. To solve this problem it is necessary concertedly interpreting a geochemical and medical information in order to assess the risks to human health associated with modern natural and anthropogenic geochemical features in urban and rural habitats. During session we propose to discuss:
1) global trends of health transformation in new geochemical environment of modern noosphere;
2) criteria for determining pollution level depending on environmental and geochemical constrains;
3) new approaches to assess the risk of diseases of geochemical nature in different countries;
4) the problem of mapping the risk zones, related to negative medical effects due to deficiency or excess of certain chemical elements or compounds.
Session co-sponsored by the European Association of Geochemistry.

Public information:
Human interaction with the environment has gone through several stages of evolution. Man as a species first survived in adverse environmental conditions around the world, then he began to cultivate the land, exploit other species and develop industry, changing the structure and composition of natural ecosystems, and now creates a new habitat exclusively in accordance with his own requirements. This activity leads to significant chemical pollution of the environment at the local, and in some cases at the regional level, which leads to disruption of natural food chains. This process is followed by the negative biological reactions of living organisms, including the man himself. These reactions and, in particular, endemic diseases of a geochemical nature can be regarded as a kind of punishment for the progress made. Emerging environmental problems require not only constant monitoring of the chemical state of soil, water, air and food products and identification of anthropogenic induced negative reactions, but also the development of spatially differentiated approaches to assessing the risk of triggered negative reactions and diseases. During our session, we will discuss:
1) global trends in health status in the new geochemical environment of the modern noosphere (the anthropogenic stage of biosphere evolution);
2) methods and criteria for determining the level of environmental pollution by metals, pesticides, radionuclides and pharmaceutical substances;
3) new approaches to assessing the risk of pollution and diseases of a geochemical nature in different countries;
4) the problems of identifying and mapping risk zones.
We kindly invite all interested parties to our session.

Co-organized by EOS4/AS4/BG2/GM12/GMPV10/HS13/NH9, co-sponsored by EAG
Convener: Elena Korobova | Co-conveners: Maria Manuela Abreu, Jaume Bech, Glenda Garcia-Santos, Liudmila KolmykovaECSECS, Virginia Aparicio, Manfred Sager
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 14:00–18:00 (CEST)

The session aims to bring together experiences on soil education and evidence syntheses in agro-environmental science. Soil is the key element in the Earth System for controlling hydrological, biological, erosional and geochemical cycles. Moreover, the soils are the source of food and fiber services and resources for human societies. Soils provide food but also many other ecosystem services for society, including water regulation, carbon storage, habitat of biodiversity, climate regulation among others. This key role that soils play makes soil conservation necessary to achieve a sustainable world. Soil degradation and sustainable soil use are key threats because agriculture, deforestation, grazing, fire, global change, road construction and mining accelerate soil degradation rates. All these issues are currently addressed in many different institutions and universities all around the world. When teaching, the fundamental purposes of scientists are to impart knowledge, insight, and inspiration.
Through this session we would like to discuss the application of quantitative methodological approaches for retrieving general outcomes from previous studies, including use of grey literature and reports from national and international Governmental institutions, and non-governmental organizations (e.g., United Nation’s FAO, NGOs) discussions of problems and new innovations in evidence synthesis, and experiences of the application of these methods in geosciences. Furthermore, we would like to bring together experiences, methodologies, ideas, approaches from different parts of the world on the teaching of soil science. Session outputs will be very helpful in order to establish future guidelines for soil science transference to society.

Co-organized by EOS2
Convener: Calogero SchillaciECSECS | Co-conveners: Pasquale Borrelli, Alessia Perego, Nicola Randall, Elena Valkama, Jacqueline Hannam, Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja
| Attendance Mon, 04 May, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)

The editors of Land Degradation and Development Currently, several aspects of land degradation and resilience are at the centre of hot debates: How much do no-till technologies contribute to sustainable soil management? Can reclaimed land be converted to arable land? Do we have strong evidence of the land restoration potential of regenerative agriculture? Does land degradation lead to large carbon storage in sediment, hence a feedback on global warming? What is the optimal level of soil organic matter? Is biochar addition enhancing or curbing soil erosion? Does the revival of ancient land management techniques induce soil erosion? Can 137Cs efficiently be used to measure soil-loss rates? Researchers will present evidence and defend their opinion concerning either side of these and other ongoing debates. After debating, the authors will be invited to publish their (opinion) papers in a special issue of “Land Degradation and Development”. This approach will direct auditors and readers to evidence that contributes to the debates. The session will provide suggestions on how the research community may assist in resolving such very important questions of land and soil degradation.

Co-organized by EOS7
Convener: Jan Nyssen | Co-conveners: Steff Clements, Jan Frouz, Yakov Kuzyakov, Vanessa Wong
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 08:30–12:30 (CEST), Attendance Fri, 08 May, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)

Soils are complex, dynamic systems that are essential to support life on earth. Healthy soils provide food security, regulate the climate and play a vital role in controlling the flow of pollutants into the wider environment. Soils also contain a vast reservoir of genetic material in soil microbes, with potential to inspire future technological advances. However, soils are under threat, as harmful management practices and climate change are altering organic matter levels and microbial composition, and increasing salinisation, contamination and erosion rates. Through an array of approaches, soil scientists explore soil processes and systems, and characterise soil communities and resources in order to understand changes in our soils. We aim to celebrate the power of the soil in a wide-ranging session organised by a cohort of early career researchers, containing voices from throughout the soil science community. We believe that soil holds the key to solving some of the global environmental challenges in achieving a sustainable future by 2050. By bringing together a wide variety of interests and approaches in one place, we hope to foster interdisciplinary connections and solutions to challenges in soil science.

Public information:
We would like to invite authors and attendees to a post-session "coffee meeting" for a more general discussion of the fascinating research and topics on display today. The session will take place on Zoom and we will start this at 10:45 Vienna time, but the channel will be open from 10:30. We do hope you will join us and look forward to seeing you there! Zoom details will be release in the live chat.

Co-organized by EOS7
Convener: Jessica PottsECSECS | Co-conveners: John BealeECSECS, Harry HarveyECSECS, Corina LeesECSECS, Phil Haygarth
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

The critical zone comprises the Earth's permeable near-surface layer from the top of the canopy to the bottom of the groundwater. It is the zone where hydrosphere, atmosphere, pedosphere and geosphere interact with the biosphere. This fragile skin of our planet, which supports the life and survival of humans maintaining food production and drinking water quality, is endangered by threats such as climate change and land use change.
New approaches and innovative modeling strategies are needed to understand these complex interactions between hydrological, biogeochemical cycles and human resilience processes that may govern critical zone system dynamics, including sources, dynamics and chemistry of water, models to quantify external influences like human activities or erosion, weathering rate, water transfer in the frame of global change and biological feedback mechanisms.
This session focuses on the advancing proxies that may address pressing interdisciplinary scientific questions in coupling various disciplines like hydrology, soil science and biogeochemistry that cover single-site investigations, targeted experiments, remote sensing studies, large data compilations and modelling. This will be illustrated in this session through studies regarding the critical zone as a whole or within its different compartments, including the different environmental processes (geological, physical, chemical, and biological), their couplings and reactive transport modeling , and exploring the cities resilience.

Co-organized by HS10/SSS12
Convener: Gerd Gleixner | Co-conveners: Antonello Provenzale, Beatrice Bechet, Tamara Kolbe, Philippe Negrel
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

A grand challenge facing society in the coming decades is to feed the growing human population in a sustainable and healthy manner. This problem is made more complex by an increasingly globalised food system and its interactions with a changing climate. Agri-food system actors - including policy makers, corporations, farmers, and consumers - must meet this challenge while considering potentially conflicting priorities, such as environmental sustainability (e.g., minimising disturbance to ecosystems via greenhouse gas emissions and the use of water, land, fertilisers and other inputs), economic viability (e.g., revenues for food producers and guaranteed access for consumers), nutritional balance and quality (e.g., addressing overconsumption and undernourishment), and resilience to climate change.
This growing complexity of agri-food systems, which can involve global supply chains and difficult environmental and societal tradeoffs, needs to be better understood.
The type of product (e.g. plant or meat based, fresh or processed), as well as the location and method of production, can play an important role in improving the nutritional quality and environmental sustainability of global food production, to enable healthy and sustainable diets. Quantifying and assessing these multiple outcomes while accounting for the linkages, interconnections, and scales of local and global supply chains will be essential for informing decisions aimed at developing sustainable and resilient agri-food systems.
This session welcomes submissions that quantify and assess a range of outcomes from agri-food systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales, and the trade-offs or synergies between them. The session will include studies providing improved methods for quantifying multiple environmental, economic or social dimensions, studies that incorporate the role of food trade into solution-development, and studies that seek to achieve multiple sustainability goals together.

Co-organized by ERE7/HS12/SSS12
Convener: Carole DalinECSECS | Co-conveners: Kyle Frankel DavisECSECS, Matti Kummu, Landon MarstonECSECS, Marta TuninettiECSECS
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)

The world's energy, water, and land systems are in transition and rapidly integrating, driven by forces such as socioeconomic, demographic, climatic, and technological changes as well as policies intended to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other societal priorities. These dynamics weave across spatial scales, connecting global markets and trends to regional and sub-regional economies. At the same time, resources are often locally managed under varying administrative jurisdictions closely tied to inherent characteristics of each commodity such as river basins for water, grid regions for electricity and land-use boundaries for agriculture. Local decisions in turn are critical in deciding the aggregate success and consequences of national and global policies. Thus, there is a growing need to better characterize the energy-water-land nexus to guide robust and consistent decision making across these scales. This session invites abstracts exploring energy-water-land dynamics, trade patterns, policy interventions, infrastructure planning and uncertainty characterization across variable spatial boundaries.

Co-organized by CL3/HS12/SSS12
Convener: Zarrar KhanECSECS | Co-conveners: Edo Abraham, Edward A. ByersECSECS
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

Most of the processes studied by geoscientists are characterized by variations in both space and time. These spatio-temporal phenomena have been traditionally investigated using linear statistical approaches, as in the case of physically-based models and geostatistical models. Additionally, the rising attention toward machine learning, as well as the rapid growth of computational resources, opens new horizons in understanding, modelling and forecasting complex spatio-temporal systems through the use of stochastics non-linear models.
This session aims at exploring the new challenges and opportunities opened by the spread of data-driven statistical learning approaches in Earth and Soil Sciences. We invite cutting-edge contributions related to methods of spatio-temporal geostatistics or data mining on topics that include, but are not limited to:
- advances in spatio-temporal modeling using geostatistics and machine learning;
- uncertainty quantification and representation;
- innovative techniques of knowledge extraction based on clustering, pattern recognition and, more generally, data mining.
The main applications will be closely related to the research in environmental sciences and quantitative geography. A non-complete list of possible applications includes:
- natural and anthropogenic hazards (e.g. floods; landslides; earthquakes; wildfires; soil, water, and air pollution);
- interaction between geosphere and anthroposphere (e.g. land degradation; urban sprawl);
- socio-economic sciences, characterized by the spatial and temporal dimension of the data (e.g. census data; transport; commuter traffic).

Co-organized by GM2/HS12/NH8/NP4/SSS12
Convener: Federico AmatoECSECS | Co-conveners: Fabian GuignardECSECS, Luigi LombardoECSECS, Marj Tonini
| Attendance Fri, 08 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

The nature of science has changed: it has become more interconnected, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and data intensive. The main aim of this session, now in its third edition, is to create a common space for interdisciplinary scientific discussion where EGU-GA delegates involved in recent and ongoing COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)* Actions can share ideas and present the research activities carried out in their networks. The session represents an invaluable opportunity for different Actions and their members to identify possible synergies and establish new collaborations, find novel links between disciplines, and design innovative research approaches. So far, this session has hosted contributions stemming from 26 Actions, covering different areas of the geosciences (sky, earth and subsurface monitoring, terrestrial life and ecosystems, earth's changing climate and natural hazards, sustainable management of resources and urban development, environmental contaminants, and big data); we are looking forward to receiving new contributions this year.

Same as in past editions, part of this session will be dedicated to presenting and discussing activities carried out in further national and international scientific networks, associations, and collaborative projects.

Moreover, this session is of course open to everyone and abstracts authored by individual scientists or small research teams are most welcome, too. Actually, in 2018 and 2019 we received a very good number of such abstracts, submitted by researchers who wanted to disseminate the results of their studies in front of the multidisciplinary audience that characterizes this session, as an alternative to making a presentation in a thematic session. In fact, contributing to this session can be a productive way to broaden the perspective and find new partners for future interdisciplinary research ventures.

-- Notes --

* COST (www.cost.eu) is funded by the EU and enables researchers to set up their interdisciplinary and international scientific networks (the “Actions”). Academia, industry, public- and private-sector laboratories work together in the Actions, sharing knowledge, leveraging diversity, and pulling resources. Every Action has a main objective, defined goals and deliverables. This session is a follow-up initiative of COST Action TU1208 “Civil engineering applications of Ground Penetrating Radar” (www.gpradar.eu).

Co-organized by EOS9/AS4/CL5/GD1/NH5/NP8/SM1/SSP1/SSS12
Convener: Lara Pajewski | Co-conveners: Aleksandar Ristic, Patricia María Rodríguez GonzálezECSECS
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)