C-saw extreme events workshop

C-saw Time domain controls on carbon storage, release, and transformation in coastal and estuarine waters following extreme events. An OCB Scoping Workshop


Climate change is fundamentally altering coastal carbon cycles, by altering linkages among the land-air-water spatial domains. These alterations have been documented for the past 20-30 years due to increases in extreme weather events (fires, drought, tropical cyclones). Conceptually, these events are episodic and represent pulses experienced by the affected ecosystems, as opposed to the gradual presses (sea level rise, land use change), often under which the pulses occur. Responses to these events can reorganize coastal carbon cycles by translocating enormous amounts of carbon and nutrients (e.g., N and P) stored in coastal landscapes to the coastal ocean via biogeochemically active terrestrial-aquatic interfaces: river corridors, riparian and tidal wetlands, etc. In addition, these pulses can also transport microorganisms capable of driving biogeochemistry (Kominoski et al. 2020). However, these responses exist within time domains that are poorly understood and not constrained in coupled biogeochemical or Earth system models (Ward et al. 2020).

The aim of this workshop is to push forward our knowledge of extreme weather and fire effects on coastal carbon cycling. This OCB Scoping Workshop will bring together a diverse group of scientists to build a community of monitors/observers, experimentalists, and modelers to address these challenging knowledge gaps across these spatial and temporal domains.

The following conceptual questions serve as a framework to achieve the workshop’s goal:

  • What soil and hydrologic schematics (e.g., “Pulse Shunt Concept”, Raymond et al. 2016) do we adapt that span the aquatic continuum and how do they interact with sea-level rise?
  • How do we build OC degradation and replacement rates across the continuum, along with C-nutrient-microbe interactions fueling autochthonous production and sequestration?
  • How can we incorporate foodweb dynamics and community compositional changes across the continuum?
  • How do we acknowledge and incorporate the importance of comparative analysis across the continuum in response to extreme events?
  • What models are best suited to capture and link residence times of C and nutrients in wetlands/soils and estuaries (receiving waters)?
  • How can we increase our capacity for "biogeochemical storm chasing" (building on meteorological model) through regional networks of observations?
  • What international collaborations are needed to constrain the diversity of coastal environments and be coordinated to resolve larger scale feedbacks by which extreme events are coupled to ocean-climate phenomena like ENSO, which can exacerbate fires on one continent and cyclones on another?
  • How do we ensure that we have the relevant seconds/minute/hour-scale measurements to capture these events with in situ and remote sensing observation platforms?
  • How do we integrate Eulerian and Lagrangian observations?

Read the full proposal

Dates: October 23-26, 2022 at North Carolina State Univ. in Raleigh, NC (in person)

Organizing Subteams

Storms - Chris Osburn (lead), Hans Paerl, Karl Kaiser

Fires - Kelsey Bisson (lead), Sasha Kramer, Alan Roebuck, Joey Crosswell

Ecosystems - John Kominoski (lead), Elliott White, Tom Bianchi

Modeling – Dana Hunt (lead), Dulci Avouris, Joey Crosswell