FIGURE 3.1 Conceptual diagram illustrates the relationship among the nine grand challenges and four high-priority research initiatives. The nine grand challenges are interconnected at many intellectual and technical levels (schematically represented by the dashed lines; see Chapter 2 for details). Rising from the fusion of the nine grand challenges, the four high-priority research initiatives are particularly apt to advance understanding and promote interdisciplinary collaboration in Earth surface processes.

FIGURE 3.1 Conceptual diagram illustrates the relationship among the nine grand challenges and four high-priority research initiatives. The nine grand challenges are interconnected at many intellectual and technical levels (schematically represented by the dashed lines; see Chapter 2 for details). Rising from the fusion of the nine grand challenges, the four high-priority research initiatives are particularly apt to advance understanding and promote interdisciplinary collaboration in Earth surface processes.

to millennia. Longer-term interactions among climate, topography, and tectonics are the subject of a complementary initiative (see Section 3.2). Success with this research initiative has the potential to transform our understanding of the powerful role of climate in shaping and transforming the Earth’s surface and the feedbacks between surface change and climate. Such understanding is essential to efforts to predict landscape response to land use and climate change and to evaluate quantitatively the efficacy of various management plans and mitigation strategies.

The primary science objectives for this initiative include the following:

  • Development of theory for the interactions among topography, land cover, and global, regional, and local climate that determine the biogeochemically and geomorphically significant attributes of climate (for example, ground-air thermal histories, precipitation, runoff, winds, and waves).



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