Accelerating watershed science through a community-driven software ecosystem
The water resources that are critically important for energy production, human use, agriculture, and ecosystem health are under increasing pressure from growing demand, land-use change, and Earth system change. Those stresses on our water supply are largely transmitted through the Nation’s watersheds.
IDEAS-Watersheds, funded by DOE’s Environmental System Science (ESS) program, is addressing important scientific challenges and advancing a growing community-driven software ecosystem for watershed science, thus advancing ESS toward its overarching goal of predictive understanding of how watershed hydrobiogeochemical processes function.
IDEAS-Watersheds is designed to
- Enhance and broaden the impact of the existing ESS Science Focus Area (SFA) projects.
- Address a scientific challenge common across multiple ESS projects—improving the representations of biogeochemical processes and their hydrological controls in the headwaters and stream/river corridors of watersheds.
- Advance an ecosystem of interacting software tools and workflows that can be shared across ESS projects.
- Train a cohort of junior computational scientists and provide them with the necessary skills to nurture the emerging ecosystem of interoperable modeling software as part of interdisciplinary project teams.
IDEAS-Watershed is organized around six research activities to address important scientific challenges and advance software development methodologies and engagement in the growing community-driven software ecosystem.
The three partnership activities, each undertaken jointly with one of Environmental System Science’s interdisciplinary Science Focus Areas (SFAs) (LBNL, ORNL, PNNL), addresses biogeochemical cycling in streams across a wide range of stream orders in disparate climates and land-use conditions, from
- LBNL: Watershed Function SFA: East River Use Case – a pristine mountainous headwater catchment
- ORNL: Critical Interfaces SFA: East Fork Poplar Creek Use Case – a fourth-order mercury-contaminated stream in deciduous broadleaf forest in a semitropical humid climate
- PNNL: River Corridor SFA: Columbia River Use Case – to a heavily managed ninth-order river. The three regional SFAs share a long-term objective of elucidating how surface water/groundwater exchanges across a range of temporal and spatial scales control watershed-scale biogeochemical cycling.