Connectivity, Non-Linearity, and Regime Transitions in Future Earthscapes Workshop

April 24-26 2013 | STRESS 4

STRESS 4 Objectives

Earthscapes (a term used here to represent both landscapes and waterscapes and their physical and biological constituents and interactions, including humans) are undergoing changes due to natural and anthropogenic causes and this change is expected to intensify in the future. An accelerated hydrologic cycle for example, sets in motion other changes in the watershed, from river reorganization, to sediment, nutrient, and bio-geochemical cycle changes, and can bring the whole system into states that are not desirable or sustainable.  Under what conditions of forcing or internal dynamics can a system lead itself to a new regime?  Do extreme events impact a system more when it is already undergoing transition or when it is in a stable steady-state?  Can mild but prolonged changes in one variable cause a drastic abrupt change in another variable and in system dynamics and what windows of change are most critical?  To study all these problems, complicated models may offer little hope, as parameters change and long-term predictions become very inaccurate or impossible. Instead, formalisms that look at the system dynamics in terms of connectivity, non-linear amplifications, and simplified rules offer more promise to identify vulnerable places, times, and interactions that may lead to regime transitions and undesired or unsustainable states.

Two examples will be studied as part of this working group.  The first involves landscape evolution under changing precipitation regimes as monitored in an experimental facility for which a wealth of data is available.  The second involves bio-physical data from streams in the Minnesota River basin where an accelerated hydrologic cycle (due to intensive agricultural tile drainage) and sediment cycle (due to basin response of a landscape still undergoing natural change) has rendered stream waters impaired and their future biological integrity uncertain.

This working group meeting aims to bring together hydrologists, earth system scientists, ecologists/biologists, as well as dynamical system theorists to brainstorm ideas on how theoretical frameworks from network dynamics, non-linearity, and complexity can be used to advance our understanding of the complex natural systems around us undergoing change.  This is part of the STRESS series(Stochastic Transport and Emergent Scaling on the Earth’s Surface) and is organized by Linked Institutions for Future Earth (LIFE), and the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) funded by NSF. 

STRESS 4 Workshop Organizers

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
Director, National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics (NCED)
Department of Civil Engineering and St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
University of Minnesota


Benjamin Ruddell
Department of Engineering
Arizona State University
Rina Schumer
Division of Hydrologic Sciences
Desert Research Institute

STRESS 4 Workshop Program and Presentations

Relevant Background Reading

Wednesday April 24

Opening talk (organizers), Introductions

Tutorial: How to construct, quantify, and understand networks representing natural systems Ilya Zaliapin

Tutorial: Inferring dynamical process networks with information theory Ben Ruddell    presentation

Open questions in hydrogeomorphology

·         Climatic controls on discharge variability and Discharge variability controls on fluvial incision Matt Rossi and Kelin Whipple, abstract, presentation

·         Watersheds as Complex Systems: Information theory and network applications to Critical Zone Observatories and Models  Ben Ruddell and Rina Schumer, abstract, presentation

Evening talk: Complexity in Urban Ecosystems Dan Childers ;    abstract; presentation

Thursday April 25

Tutorial: System Transitions and Networks Praveen Kumar

Previous applications session

·         Connectivity and catastrophe: Roles of structural connectivity in promoting, indicating, and resisting catastrophic shifts in aquatic ecosystems Laurel Larsen;      abstract; presentation

·         Ecohydrologic regimes – shifts, controls, and open questions Sally Thompson    abstract; presentation

·         Self-similar models for river and hillslope networks Alej Tejedor    abstract; presentation

Open questions in hydrogeomorphology

·         Topology and Transport Dynamics of Delta Networks Paola Passalacqua    abstractpresentation

·         Deciphering Climatic Extreme events with Complex Networks in South America Bodo Bookhagen

a    abstractpresentation

Tutorial: Defining sufficiently complex time series using Gradual Wavelet Reconstruction Chris Keylock   abstractpresentation

Open questions in hydrogeomorphology

·         Some suggestions of experiments that might throw light on the use of non-local treatments in landscape models Vaughan Voller   abstractpresentation

·         Merging ecology and river dynamics using a simplified interaction network Jon Schwenk and Anthony Longjas   abstractpresentation  

S    Synchronization and amplification of sediment fluxes: a network-based approach Jon Czuba abstractpresentation

·         Role of turbulent coherent structures on the dynamics of sediment transport Cristian Escauriaza

Evening talk: A Critical Threshold for Eventual Extinction in Randomly Disturbed Population Growth Model Scott Peckham  abstractpresentation

Friday April 26

Previous applications and open questions about landscape evolution

The emergence of topographic steady-state in a perpetually dynamic landscape Liam Reinhardt  abstractpresentation

·         Impact of rainfall variability on the dynamics of experimental landscapes  Stephane Bonet   abstractpresentation

·         Effect of changing precipitation pattern on Landscape evolution  Arvind Singh   abstractpresentation

Summary on open questions, collaboration, plan for meeting report


STRESS 4 Workshop Location, Accommodations, and Travel

map-capture-galileeClick the map for directions to Camp GalileeMeetings, meals, and accomodations will be at  Camp Galilee, located in Glenbrook, NV  on the east shore of Lake Tahoe.

Accomodations are not fancy and may be shared. There are many hotels in nearby Stateline, NV for those interested in alternate accomodations. 

Ground transportation from the airport to the camp can be provided for those arriving on Wednesday(contact us). 

A map to Galilee is here

Travel Reimbursement

Meals and lodging will be provided for invited participants.  Pre-approved travel reimbursement can be obtained by sending receipts and a Participant Expense Worksheet to:

National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics 
2 - 3rd Ave SE RM 379 
Minneapolis, MN 55414