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Committee on the Collaborative Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER) Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this study was provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. International Standard Book Number 0-309-10229-4. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 5th Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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COMMITTEE ON THE COLLABORATIVE LARGE-SCALE ENGINEERING ANALYSIS NETWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH (CLEANER) DANIEL P. LOUCKS, Chair, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York PEDRO J. ALVAREZ, Rice University, Houston, Texas MARY JO BAEDECKER, U.S. Geological Survey, Emeritus, Reston, Virginia JAMES W. BOYD, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (retired), Jacksonville, Florida JOHN W. DAY, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge CHARLES T. DRISCOLL, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York TONY R. FOUNTAIN, University of California, San Diego EDWIN E. HERRICKS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ROBERT J. HUGGETT, Michigan State University (retired), Seaford, Virginia TIMOTHY K. KRATZ, University of Wisconsin, Madison JEFFREY M. LAURIA, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Columbus, Ohio JUDITH L. MEYER, University of Georgia, Athens TAVIT O. NAJARIAN, Najarian Associates, Eatontown, New Jersey CHARLES R. O'MELIA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland NRC Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director, Water Science and Technology Board DOROTHY K. WEIR, Research Associate The activities of this committee were overseen and supported by the National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board (see Appendix A for listing). Biographical information on committee members is contained in Appendix B. v
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Preface Environmental engineers and scientists have long worked to understand better the interactions between humans and their natural and built environments and how they affect each other. These relationships become increasingly important as growing urban populations and economic development degrade the quality of environmental resources and alter the types and functioning of ecosystems. With an increasing interest in the sustainable use of natural resources, the recognition of society's dependence on ecological goods and services, and the perceived long-term continuing decline of the quality of our air, land, and water resources, it becomes increasingly important to prevent irreversible damage to the environment and its ecosystems. We must improve our understanding of environmental processes in order to predict the likely impacts resulting from alternative environmental resource management policies and practices. The quality of our environment is influenced by both natural forces and human activities. To better understand and predict future conditions under alternative resource management strategies and human influences, many engineers and scientists believe that an improved research infrastructure is needed to observe the characteristics, processes, and phenomena that take place in our natural and built environments over short temporal and broad spatial scales. In response to this perceived need, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is considering establishing several types of observatory networks.1 These observatory networks are to provide improved capabilities for near real-time dynamic monitoring, modeling, and analysis of hydrologic and ecological processes. A common goal of these networks is to advance our understanding of complex environmental systems, thereby enhancing our overall predictive capacities and adaptive management approaches. Environmental observatory networks are believed to be critical for addressing the primary environmental challenge for today's society: to more fully understand the functioning of our present and future ecosystems and to find more effective ways of sustaining the supply and quality of environmental resources and ecological goods and services provided by those systems. At the core of this challenge is the need to better understand the interactions within and among the atmospheric, hydrologic, geophysical, ecological, and human components of our environment. To accomplish this will require networks of 1 These networks include the Collaborative Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER), the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Incorporated (CUAHSI) Hydrologic Observatories, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the Geosciences Network (GEON), the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI), and the Arctic Observing Network. vii
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viii Preface various field and remote measurement devices in communication with computer systems for data compilation, storage, and analyses. Together these network components must be able to transform a patchwork of local measurements into a comprehensive integrated picture of the coupled environmental-human system. These proposed environmental observatory networks would enhance opportunities for research on environmental-human interactions and processes. Coordinated multi-disciplinary data sensing, monitoring, collection, and modeling strategies could lead to a more comprehensive vision of how best to assess, forecast, manage, and protect complex environmental resources over temporal and spatial scales not presently assessed. The committee of scientists and engineers with expertise in environmental engineering, hydrology and hydrogeology, ecology, coastal and marine science, computer science, and economics that wrote this report was organized by the National Research Council (NRC) and charged to advise the NSF on the Collaborative Large-Scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER) initiative's science plan. It was also asked to comment on the overall value of networked environmental observatory facilities for improving our understanding of complex water resource systems. While we focus mainly on water, as charged, we cannot help but also consider the effects that managed water quantity and quality regimes have on natural ecosystem functioning and human activities. Any study of those effects must be based on ecosystem and social impact data, as well as hydrologic and environmental data. An improved ability to predict the interactions among natural environmental and human systems will require integrated sets of hydrologic, environmental, ecosystem, and social science data. These data must be collected over the temporal and spatial scales in which important human-environmental interactions take place. Our study period lasted only several months. In preparation for our first and only meeting in late 2005, committee members provided in advance written material relevant to the assignment. At our meeting we were briefed by NSF representatives on the current status and long-term plans for CLEANER and other (CUAHSI and NEON) associated networked observatories. Following the meeting, all members of the committee participated in the development of this report. The report represents a consensus of all committee members with respect to our findings and recommendations. We are grateful to Patrick Brezonik, Douglas James, and Elizabeth Blood from the NSF who contributed to our understanding of relevant NSF goals, constraints, activities, and plans concerning observatory initiatives. The committee hopes the advice we provide in this report proves useful as they and their colleagues proceed with the planning and implementation of these observatory programs. As chair, I thank all committee members for their thoughtful and timely contributions to this review in what surely must be among the shortest duration and more intense studies of the NRC. On behalf of our entire committee I also thank our project manager Dorothy Weir, Research Associate with the Water
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Preface ix Science and Technology Board, and the Water Science and Technology Board's Director, Stephen Parker. They organized the overall effort from beginning to end, managed all communications, and dealt with all the usual and numerous logistical details. We thank them both for their contributions to our deliberations and development of this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible and will ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Dr. Patrick R. Atkins, Aluminum Company of America; Dr. Chaitanya K. Baru, University of California, San Diego; Dr. Kenneth R. Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey; Dr. George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia; Dr. Perry L. McCarty, Stanford University; Dr. Patrick J. Mulholland, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Dr. Leslie L. Shoemaker, Tetra Tech, Inc. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. Diane M. McKnight of the University of Colorado. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Daniel P. Loucks, Chair
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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 8 CLEANER, 9 Scope and Purpose of this Report, 13 2 CLEANER AND THE OBSERVATORY APPROACH 15 Value of the Observatory Approach, 16 Can CLEANER Be Transformative?, 17 How Can CLEANER Fill in the Gaps?, 18 Summary, 20 3 GRAND WATER CHALLENGES AND RESEARCH 21 QUESTIONS Research Criteria, 22 Research Areas, 22 Summary, 32 4 IMPLEMENTING ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVATORIES 34 Coordination of Environmental Observatories, 35 CLEANER Cyberinfrastructure Issues, 39 Dissemination, Outreach, and Education, 43 Some Necessary Conditions, 43 Summary, 48 REFERENCES 51 ACRONYMS 53 APPENDIXES A Water Science and Technology Board 57 B Biographical Sketches for Committee on the Collaborative 58 Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER) xi
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