Workshop on dynamic global soil modelling

Gully and field with an estimated erosion rate of 180t/ha in the background.

Global Earth System modelling needs dynamic soil modelling. That was one of the conclusions of the workshop Dynamic Global Soil Modelling, from 19-21 September at the University of Cordoba (Spain).
The workshop was part of the EU-program Terrabites a cross-disciplinary program to improve the reliability of future Earth system projections in coupled climate-biosphere simulations. Invited were researchers from around the globe including ISRIC, to reflect on the current status of soil modelling in Earth System modelling. Now, different soil processes are described with different complexity - from simplified bucket models to dynamic solutions. Some representation of soil dynamics must be a priority for earth system modelling, because ignoring this can result in missing, potentially irreversible feedbacks to ecosystems. Some algorithms are applicable at the field scale, but not at the Earth System modelling scale, while on the other hand sometimes Earth System modelling applies algorithms that are not sustained by process models.


The worksop comprised three intensive days of presentations/discussion on the different processes, their priorities, deficiencies and common points of interest as well as a field excursion. Based on the common understanding of the participants, specific topics, like soil development models and sub grid variability, will be addressed during the next year: Chemical weathering, physical weathering, management, soil redistribution adn OM dynamics.More detailed results of the workshop will become available in the near future.

For the global modelling community it was important to hear what we already can do and which data and processes we can model. For us as local modellers it was important to understand what happens on the global scale.