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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.

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under award No. EAR-0738045. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14024-9 (Book)

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14024-2 (Book)

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14025-6 (PDF)

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14025-0 (PDF)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2010921862

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Cover: The cover photographs emphasize interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes on Earth’s surface over different scales of space and time. The soil horizon with exposed root, plants, and a human dwelling reveals a complex series of biogeochemical interactions in the near-surface. As the Columbia Glacier on Prince William Sound, Alaska, retreats due to a warming climate, newly scoured rock is exposed and chunks of ice melt into the sound. The circular vignette of a “bare Earth” lidar image near Flathead Lake, Montana, signifies the capability of measuring various features of Earth’s surface with precision. Photos courtesy of Robert S. Anderson, University of Colorado, Boulder (Columbia Glacier), Peter Sak, Dickinson College (soil horizon), National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (lidar image). Cover design by Michael Dudzik.

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