Calendar Details

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Friday, October 05

Stochastic Soil Moisture Dynamics: From Soil-Plant
Biogeochemistry and Land-Atmosphere Interactions to
Sustainable Use of Soil and Water Resources

Amilcare Porporato, Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Computer Science and Mathematics Division Seminar
10:00 AM — 11:00 AM, Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (Building 5100), Auditorium (Room 128)
Contact: Clayton Webster (, 865.574.3649


The soil-plant-atmosphere system is characterized by a large number of interacting processes with high degree of unpredictability and nonlinearity. These elements of complexity, while making a full modeling effort extremely daunting, are also responsible for the emergence of characteristic behaviors. Duke University model these processes by mean of minimalist models which describe the main deterministic components of the system and surrogate the high dimensional ones (i.e., hydroclimatic variability and rainfall in particular) with suitable stochastic terms. The solution of the stochastic soil water balance allows us to describe probabilistically several ecohydrological processes, including ecosystem response plant productivity as well as soil organic matter and nutrient cycling dynamics. Dr. Porporato will also discuss how such an approach can be extended to include land atmosphere feedbacks and related impact on convective precipitation. Dr. Porporato will conclude with a brief discussion of how these methods can be employed to address quantitatively the sustainable management of water and soil resources, including optimal irrigation and fertilization, phytoremediation, and soil salinization risk.