Climate Research and Development Program


Soils are the foundation of terrestrial systems, storing water and nutrients that support forests, crops, and human societies. Geology, climate, ecosystems, and human activities all affect soils. The Climate R&D Program is examining long-term soil changes in drylands and wetlands across the Nation to understand and anticipate impacts of changing climate and land use to support healthy ecosystems.

Filter Total Items: 8
Date published: January 25, 2021
Status: Active

Arctic Biogeochemical Response to Permafrost Thaw (ABRUPT)

Warming and thawing of permafrost soils in the Arctic is expected to become widespread over the coming decades.  Permafrost thaw changes ecosystem structure and function, affects resource availability for wildlife and society, and decreases ground stability which affects human infrastructure. Since permafrost soils contain about half of the global soil carbon (C) pool, the magnitude of C...

Date published: February 26, 2020
Status: Active

Impacts of coastal and watershed changes on upper estuaries: causes and implications of wetland ecosystem transitions along the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are coastal transition zones where freshwater rivers meet tidal seawater.  As sea levels rise, tidal forces move saltier water farther upstream, extending into freshwater wetland areas. Human changes to the surrounding landscape may amplify the effects of this tidal extension, impacting the resiliency and function of the upper estuarine wetlands. One...

Contacts: Ken Krauss, Ph.D., Gregory Noe, Camille LaFosse Stagg, Ph.D., Hongqing Wang, Ph.D., Eric J Ward, Ph.D., Jamie A. Duberstein, William H. Conner, Zhaohua Dai, Thomas L. O'Halloran
Date published: June 17, 2019
Status: Active

Integrated Biogeochemical Research and Assessment

This project integrates soil and ecosystem data to impute important soil properties for hydric soils and wetlands. The work hopes to answer the questions: How have historical changes in biogeochemical processes affected present-day and potential future interactions among land, water, and ecosystem resources? How can improved understanding of historical and present-day biogeochemical...

Date published: April 17, 2019
Status: Active

Mountains to sea – fluvial transport of carbon and nutrients and effects on ecosystems and people

Stream transport (lateral transfer) of carbon remains a poorly understood flux within the global carbon budget.  This research addresses the need to refine our knowledge of both provenance and transformations of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) as it moves from mountains to sea.  Interpreting shifts in carbon quality with increasing stream order, and how these patterns change with variation in...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Mechanisms, models, and management of invasive species and soil biogeochemical process in prairie pothole wetlands

The ecological foundation of thousands of acres of wetland habitat is being impacted by changes in land cover, land use, climate, and invasive species.  This project utilizes USGS remotely-sensed products, along with experimental and observational field data to develop spatially-explicit, landscape-scale models of invasive cattails and soil biogeochemical processes.  These models will assist...

Date published: February 25, 2019
Status: Active

Drylands are highly vulnerable to climate and land use changes: what ecosystem changes are in store?

Improper land use during drought has been a major driver of land degradation in drylands globally, especially in the western U.S.  Increasing aridity in western U.S. drylands under future climates will exacerbate risks associated with drought and land use decisions. This project provides critical observational, experimental, and modelling evidence to support our DOI partners with decision...

Date published: December 4, 2018
Status: Active

Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone: Origin and Fate of Organic Matter

Changing temperature, precipitation, and land use intensification has resulted in global soil degradation. The accompanying loss of soil organic matter (SOM) decreases important soil health services. Soil organic matter is a major global pool of carbon; if SOM can be increased, soils can mitigate elevated atmospheric CO2. However, there are major knowledge gaps in SOM persistence....

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...