Research Summaries

Earth Research Institute

Research Summaries for the period of July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017



Ralph Archuleta     Jorge Crempien       2/1/16-Fixed                                        30,000


University of Southern California, 10436016


SCEC4 Participation, Project V: Simulation of Kinematic Rupture for Multi-Segment Faults Based on Dynamic Rupture


The ability of earthquake rupture to jump across faults, or to propagate on complex faults with multiple bends is of great importance to determine plausible earthquake magnitudes in specific regions (Wesnousky, 2006). The sub-discipline of earthquake rupture dynamics has been quite productive in determining the physics of these phenomena, which have been observed in many earthquakes such as: The 1992 Mw7.2 Landers (Hart et al., 1993) and 1999 Mw7.1 Hector Mine (Oglesby et al., 2003).

Not only is the rupture physics of these earthquakes important, but also the near field ground motion they can produce, to better inform the engineering community and to properly estimate earthquake hazard and risk. This is a priority for GMP: “Develop and implement simulation methods for the modeling of bending faults and multi-segment ruptures. The highest priority need is for kinematic rupture generators for implementation of the UCSB method (Crempien and Archuleta, 2015) on the Broadband Platform (BBP).”

Our goal is to determine plausible rupture prescriptions when generating ground motions from kinematic scenarios involving multiple fault segments or bending faults. Once the rules for simulating kinematic rupture on multiple-segment faults are specified, we will validate the model within the realm of the Broadband Validation Exercise (Goulet et al., 2015; Dreger et al., 2015). Specifically, for this proposal, we will produce kinematic models for the 1992 Landers Mw7.3 and the 1999 Hector Mine Mw7.0 earthquakes. We will use the metrics of the Broadband Validation Exercise in comparing synthetic ground motions with observations.



Ralph Archuleta         Chen Ji        9/1/12-8/31/17                                            359,859


National Science Foundation, EAR-1215769


Improving Resolution of Finite Inversions With Increasing Bandwidth


This project will develop new methods of inverting observations to provide more resolved and robust estimates kinematic rupture models. Without direct measurements of the fault during an earthquake the spatio-temporal evolution of the slip on the fault must be inferred from seismic, geodetic and geologic observations. While the representation theorem provides the link between the spatio-temporal evolution and the observations, the inverse problem has been a quagmire. The number of parameters needed to infer the details of a rupture is much larger than the number of available data, i.e., the inverse problem is underdetermined. By itself that is a problem. When coupled with the fact that the temporal variables (rise time and rupture time) are not linearly related to the observations, additional complexities arise in the methods for inverting the observations. Nonetheless, models of the spatio-temporal evolution of slip, i.e., the source process, can be found. The quality of these models needs to be quantitatively assessed.


As carefully enumerated by Hartzell et al. (2007) each factor from the subfault size to the selection of a misfit norm plays a role in determining a rupture model. Once a model has been determined there is still the question of how uncertain the model parameter is at each point on the fault. There are means of estimating the uncertainty of each parameter as if it were independent of the other parameters. This provides some sense of the uncertainty. One approach is to examine cross-validation, i.e., predicting observations that were not used to constrain the inversion and its relationship to the uncertainty of the kinematic model. The question is not the misfit between the predictions and observations rather it is quantifying the difference between different models— uncertainty of the parameters on the fault.


Many different models are found that are equally consistent with the data. A key point is that the faulting model should satisfy all of the data. While inversion methods continue to be improved with new measures of uncertainty in the models, the factor that has led to the largest reduction in the space of models is the addition of new data. This is more than adding stations, though that is useful, but it is adding data that are independent, such as GPS or InSAR.


The data that exists and have not been fully exploited are the high-frequency seismic data. These data provide important constraints on stress drops and variations in rupture velocity. By using these data in concert with low-frequency seismograms, GPS and InSAR, the resulting kinematic models will be better resolved and more robust. Two methods are proposed for exploiting the high-frequency data. First using back projection, areas on the fault that produce high-frequency radiation are identified. Using a multiscale inversion, the parameters are resolved on a finer scale and used as constraints on the inversion at a larger scale. Second, derivatives of the acceleration envelope function are inverted to determine regions of high-frequency radiation. These regions will also be subject to multi-scale inversion to constrain the overall inversions. In combination, the two methods will improve the resolution and robustness of the inverted rupture model.



Ralph Archuleta                                              2/1/12-1/31/17                                              25,000


University of Southern California, 20121443


SCEC4 Participation, Project E: Dynamic Ruptures with Off-Fault Dissipation Processes: Constraints on Energy Partition, Size-Dependent Levels of Prestress and Ground Motion Predictions


We propose to critically investigate the different modes of energy partition in earthquakes and the relevant implications on ground motions, rupture speed and levels of prestress by doing self-consistent dynamic rupture simulations. The primary focus is to estimate the relative contribution of on and off-fault dissipation mechanism to the total energy budget. We will start by investigating the conditions under which a steady slip pulse can propagate on a velocity- weakening friction interface embedded in an elasto-plastic bulk. Steady propagation will allow us to examine the relationship between the width of the plastically deforming zone surrounding the fault and the constant width of the slip pulse. Because steady propagation does not emit radiated energy, accurate bounds can be placed, in this case, on the energy dissipated in the inelastic and frictional processes. Steady propagation will also allow us to investigate, in a more systematic way, the effect of perturbations in the material properties, material response, and prestress on the rupture dynamics including variability in rupture speed, maximum slip rate and ultimately rupture arrest.


We will also address several seismologically-relevant questions. For example, we will be examining the effect of off-fault plasticity on seismic observables like rupture speed, acceleration to limiting speed in sub-shear ruptures, transition to super shear and slip rate functions (in terms of the maximum and the average values of slip rates). Moreover, we will also be able to assess the impact of off-fault dissipation on the high frequency content of ground motion. This is relevant for developing physically-based models for ground motion prediction.


The project will accomplish the following tasks:

a. Quantify the magnitude of on- and off-fault dissipation and their relative contribution to the earthquake energy budget for different friction laws (rate and state law/slip weakening law).

b. Constrain the absolute levels of prestress consistent with the different modes of ruptures (cracks vs pulses) with and without the presence of off-fault dissipation mechanisms.

c.  Investigate the effect of off-fault dissipation on high frequency ground motion.




Ralph Archuleta                              2/1/12-1/31/17                                              25,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-D


SCEC4 Participation, Project D: 1987 Superstition Hills Earthquake: A Triggered Event with a Complex Nucleation and Rupture Dynamics


The basic goals of this research are as following:

1. Dynamic rupture model for Elmore Ranch earthquake.

Although the Elmore Ranch Fault (ERF) earthquake is relatively simple (most researchers have treated it as a point source), we want to construct a more comprehensive stress model for the ERF earthquake. We want to construct the initial stress on the ERF fault first, using existing methods (e.g., Hauksson, 1994), considering its local tectonic context and fault geometry and also taking into account the aftershock sequence of the ERF earthquake during the 12 hours preceding the Superstition Hills Fault (SHF) earthquake.

2. Evaluate the stress perturbation on the SHF due to the Elmore Ranch earthquake

Based on the results from Step 1, as well as the location and focal information of the aftershock sequence of the ERF earthquake, we will evaluate the stress perturbation on the main SHF. We will account for the fault geometry with great care to insure the relative accuracy of the Coulomb stress change estimates. It is obvious that the MW 6.2 ERF earthquake will have a major influence on the SHF nucleation.

3. Dynamic rupture model for Superstition Hills earthquake.

We are going to combine the results from first two steps as outlined and previous research to constrain our stress model. We will take into account the heterogeneous velocity structure such as variable basement depth, material property contrast across the fault, as well as the non-planar feature of the fault (gradual fault strike changes, segment stepover). We wish to integrate as much previous research as possible to construct our rupture dynamics model. We want to construct an initial stress field that could produce the key rupture patterns obtained from the observations. The relocated aftershock dataset gives us a chance to look at the possibility of stress transfer and triggering. The strong motion waveforms and the surface rupture measurements place strong constraints on the stress conditions in the upper kilometers, which have almost no aftershocks in the double difference catalog. In particular we will analyze the stress conditions for the dynamic rupture model paying specific attention to the emergent nucleation and the partitioning of the seismic radiation into and high- and low-frequency energy.



Ralph Archuleta                              2/1/13-1/31/17                                              25,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-H


SCEC4 Participation, Project H: Incorporating Roughness and Supershear in UCSB Broadband Modeling


A puzzling observation of recorded borehole ground motion at very close hypocentral distances from faults reveal a great deal of incoherency in high frequency (HF) seismograms from direct body waves. Because of their arrivals, and the closeness of the recording station to the fault, one can deduce that the level of scattering of these waves is not that meaningful. Scattering increases in a diffusive way with distance, and travel time (Zeng et al., 1990), making it difficult for CODA to show up at such short distances. Therefore a plausible assumption is that there must be complexity at the rupture fronts of earthquakes for very small scales (Gusev, 2012). With these important observations, it is necessary to study in detail the rupture front complexity and to answer the question: Is the rupture front continuous and smooth across the fault? If we find that rupture front is not smooth or continuous across the fault, then a natural follow up question would be how will this complexity at smaller scales affect ground motion intensity measures (GMI’s), such as PGA, PGV and Arias Intensity? If we find that the rupture front is not continuous or smooth, then the effect of the irregularity in the rupture front must be included into current kinematic ground motion simulation techniques such as Schmedes et al. (SAL, 2010).



Ralph Archuleta       Jorge Crempien                                 6/1/16-5/31/17                         35,000


University of Southern California, 10450329


SCEC4 Participation, Project U: High Frequency Path and Source Parameters Determined from Recorded Ground Motion in Central California


The Central California Seismic Project (CCSP) highlights “Use observations of ground motion from local earthquakes, and dense recordings of ground motion (where available) to characterize the ability to predict the intensity of strong ground motion and its variability.” One of the most critical factors affecting ground motion is attenuation, both regional and site specific. To our

knowledge, there have been no systematic attempts to determine the attenuation parameterized by κ (explained in the next paragraph) in Central California (CC), a region that hosts vital infrastructure such as the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and several dams, all of which are vulnerable to high-frequency ground motion (Muto, 2015).

The effective attenuation of seismic waves has been approximated by Futterman (1962) and Knopoff (1964) with the following equation A(r,f) = exp(-πfr/βQeff), where r is distance away from the fault, f is frequency, Qeff is effective seismic quality factor of S-waves, and β is S-wave velocity of the medium. There are many causes for seismic attenuation of waves, but the two

main recognized physical processes of attenuation have been pointed out to be anelasticity (Qin) and scattering (Qscat) (Dainty, 1981), where the effective attenuation can be written as 1/Qeff = 1/Qin +1/Qscat. This relationship shows the difficulty in determining the relative contributions of anelasticity and scattering to the effective attenuation. In spite of this difficulty, it has long been

recognized that Qscat is frequency dependent (e.g., Jin et al., 1994). If the contribution of scattering to effective attenuation is significant, then Qeff should also be frequency dependent. Cormier (1982) proposed a model for attenuation based on the integration along a ray path such that A(f) = A0exp(-πt*f), with t* = ∫path dr/(βQeff). As the waves come to the surface, the waves experience a major increase in t*, an argument that inspired Anderson and Hough (1984) to

propose a model based on a linear decrease of the log-amplitudes of the Fourier amplitude Spectrum (FAS) of ground motion. They called the slope of this decay κ, such that A(f) = A0exp(-πκf), which implies that Qeff is frequency independent. They also concluded that κ increases with distance away from the fault, which is interpreted as the regional anelastic attenuation modeled as κ(r)= κ0 + mr, where κ0 is the intercept of κ at zero distance, and m is the

slope of κ(r) as a function of distance.



Kelsey Bisson David Siegel   5/15/17-6/30/19                                                                       50,000


National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, NAKFI DB53


Project ROAM: Rendering Oceanography in Artistic Mediums


Science and art are both avatars of human examination and creativity, but only rarely are they coupled on seagoing expeditions for their mutual benefit. To this end, ROAM (Rendering Oceanography in Artistic Mediums) aims to bring four artists aboard R/V Sally Ride on a graduate student led science expedition to produce creative, artistic narratives from science at sea. By translating science experiences through art, ROAM will build empathy and wonder for our ocean and, ultimately, spark a commitment to marine stewardship. The ROAM team will include a creative writer, a videographer, an illustrator, and a musician. These individuals will collaborate with each other and with the scientists aboard to produce poetry and creative prose, illustrations, music, a short animated film, a short documentary-style video, photos, and likely many unforeseen creative endeavors that will undoubtedly transpire from this dedicated cross-disciplinary engagement. The overall goal is to leverage the strengths of art and science to motivate a love for the deep ocean across a range of communities. Following the weeklong expedition, this material will be available through numerous artistic publications, a cruise website, and an art-science installation in Santa Barbara, California. The online efforts will make the ocean more accessible to people who live far away from the ocean, creating a proximal connection despite the distance. This in turn will breed concern for ocean health, stimulate interest in the deep ocean, and perhaps inspire others to pursue a career in oceanography.




Joseph Blankinship     Joshua Schimel      3/1/16-2/28/17                                 12,396


UC Center for Water Resources/UC Riverside, SA15-2997-CA358B


2016CA358B: Using soil exopolysaccharides (EPS) to make California grapes more drought-adapted


As highlighted by the current historic drought and forecasts for future climate change, California agriculture will only be sustainable by adapting to drought. For example, in order to support the rapid expansion of grape vineyards, Californians need to develop water conservation strategies from the “ground up.” I propose a soil-based solution for drought adaptation. If water retention and nutrient availability can be improved in dry soils, it may be possible to conserve large amounts of water by reducing irrigation frequency during drought. Various synthetic soil surfactants and hydrogels are commercially available to increase water infiltration and retention, but these products can have toxic effects in the environment and they are not intended to increase nutrient diffusion to plant roots. As an alternative, we propose to amend vineyard soils in the greenhouse with an exopolysaccharide (EPS), xanthan gum, which is naturally secreted by soil bacteria and commercially available in bulk quantities as an FDA-approved food additive. When mixed with soil, xanthan is known to be both a superb “sponge” for long-lasting water retention and “highway” for the diffusion of resources. However, there are no studies that have investigated the potential benefits of soil EPS for plants. Does more soil EPS mean greater water and nitrogen (N) availability for plants? An undergraduate researcher and I will grow grape plants in a greenhouse with varying levels of xanthan and water to see whether soil EPS can maintain N supply and plant health while reducing the need for irrigation.



Derek Booth     Thomas Dunne      7/1/15-11/30/18                                          442,412


National Park Service, P15AC01121


Yosemite Valley Merced River Restoration


The purpose of this project is to provide scientific and design support to Merced River restoration efforts in east Yosemite Valley being considered or implemented by the National Park Service (NPS). This work is occuring in an area of both great natural resources and intensive human activity, with complex and potentially conflicting goals articulated by the Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, issued in February 2014. The work is being conducted throughout the 3.5-km reach of the Merced River between Clark’s Bridge and Sentinel Bridge. The entire project is anticipated to be conducted over a 3- to 5-year period; the current Task Agreement covers only the first two (of three total) phases of the overall project effort.


Presently, a variety of data-compilation, data-collection, and mapping efforts are being conducted to develop a comprehensive characterization of the reach and associated riparian and floodplain areas, addressing its geomorphic, hydrologic, vegetative, and recreational attributes and conditions. Research questions have been framed relating to the past and future behavior of this river, given a range of potential management prescriptions for riparian areas and under potential climate-change scenarios. A restoration strategy for the reach is being developed in close coordination with the NPS, with a short-term goal of identifying promising locations and generic treatments for riparian restoration being planned for 2016 and 2017.


Expected outcomes include the preliminary characterization of the physical, biological, and social dimensions of the reach; engagement of key stakeholders as identified by the NPS in the scope, timeline, and anticipated products of the work; preliminary guidance on riparian restoration projects planned for implementation within the reach; and preparation for a variety of monitoring efforts to be conducted opportunistically by the NPS during any high-flow event that might occur during this or subsequent years.


These efforts will also create the foundation for future work under one or more subsequent Task Agreements, future work that is anticipated to include a more focused evaluation of instream river habitat, and the potential effects on riverine processes by the existing bridges within the reach. This future work is also expected to include measurable criteria that can be used to evaluate the success or failure of the proposed mitigation methods, estimated costs, and technical guidance on their installation.



Douglas Burbank     Bodo Bookhagen      8/1/11-7/31/17                                275,006


National Science Foundation, 1050070


The Pamir Frontal Thrust System: Rates, Style, and Controls on Deformation


Our goals include defining how, where, and at what rates shortening has been accommodated within the Pamir-Tian Shan structural corridor, and exploring the extent to which erosion by an axial river modulates shortening rates on faults proximal to the river.  We will focus our work along the axis of the structural corridor where we can examine a rich suite of along- strike structural variability in the style, orientation, and (likely) rate of deformation. The Pamir Frontal Thrust (PFT) is the leading edge of the Pamir orogen. In reality, some apparently Pamir-related faults occur to the north of the PFT, including nearby faults that ruptured in the 1985 M7.4 Wuqia earthquake [Feng et al., 1988]. Within the study area, the PFT tends to be localized within lower Paleogene gypsum beds, and it typically carries the entire Cenozoic stratigraphic succession (up to 8 km thick) in its hanging wall. Where the PFT is exposed in the Bozi Tage Range near the Kezilesu River, it tends to be a low-angle thrust dipping from 0° to 15°. Ongoing slip on the PFT is evidenced by offset talus slopes that show fresh scarps. Typically, the PFT slices across the Xiyu conglomerate, an upper Cenozoic, time-transgressive fluvial conglomerate that ranges in age from 16 to 0 Ma within the foreland [Heermance et al., 2007], but which is less than 1.6 Ma where it has been paleomagnetically dated a few kilometers north of the PFT in the corridor [Chen et al., 2005]. On the eastern margin of the Mayikake Basin, the PFT cuts nearly horizontally across a 50°-dipping, 3-km-thick panel of Xiyu conglomerate for about 4 kilometers.




Jean Carlson     Ralph Archuleta        2/1/12-1/31/17                                        20,000


University of Southern California, 20121441


SCEC4 Participation, Project C: Implications of Physical Dissipation Mechanisms for Dynamic Faulting and Structural Resilience


This project will accomplish the following tasks:

         * Construct an integrated view for different weakening mechanisms through the extension of STZ constitutive laws describing plasticity to include additional geophysical mechanisms for dissipation such as granularity, breakage and thermal effects.

         * Develop better models of friction in fault gouge through reformulation of the STZ theory in terms of concepts more appropriate for strictly granular systems (perfectly hard spheres) in which there is no intrinsic energy scale, to extract the broad spectrum of transition rates and trapping volumes and to capture inherent variability arising from the broad range of grain sizes in fault gouge.

         * Develop a multi-scale approach to the dynamic rupture problem through the resolution of dynamics that arise from these constitutive laws and the material properties of the fault gouge to obtain predictive results for dissipation and fracture from laboratory to tectonic scales.

         * Assess the heat flow paradox through the analysis of energy balance and thermal heating during large earthquakes based on general thermodynamic principles as well as specific information regarding the materials and failure mechanisms that occur in faults.

         * Design control techniques, for improving seismic response of engineering structures, that are motivated by our better understanding for the role of entropic deformation in dissipating energy and increasing toughness in systems like fault gouge and abalone shells.



Jean Carlson      Ralph Archuleta         2/1/12-1/31/17                                       76,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-J


SCEC4 Participation, Project J: Compactivity, Comminution, Heating, and Disorder - The Physics of Granular Fault Gouge


We plan to apply our statistical-thermodynamic theory of granular systems – the Shear Transformation Zone (STZ) theory of local plastic rearrangements – to recent laboratory experiments, molecular dynamics simulations, and seismological observations involving granular fault gouge. Our focus is on three experimental paradigms that occur in shear flow--- compactivity, comminution, and thermally induced changes in material properties. Each of these is of interest to the SCEC Fault and Rock Mechanics community and each has become accessible theoretically based on advances in STZ theory made in the last year. Our goal is to provide a first-principles, quantitative interpretation of the great wealth of experimental data on fault gouge that to date has been treated phenomenologically. The advantage of a physics-based approach is that it enables extrapolation from the lab to the field.


In the first project, we will connect our theory of granular hard-sphere systems [Lieou and Langer, 2012] to the phenomenon of auto-acoustic compaction-- the suppression of shear dilatancy by means of internal acoustic vibration—in steady shear flows, which was recently observed in laboratory experiments [Elst, Brodsky, Bas, and Johnson, 2012]. We will examine how the STZ compactivity (which characterizes local volume fluctuations) is influenced by the shear rate and account for the apparent reduction in porosity due to acoustic vibrations generated at intermediate shear velocities.


In the second project, we will examine frictional weakening mechanisms associated with grain breakage. This involves augmentation of the original STZ theory to incorporate the effects of broad distributions of particle sizes and STZ transition barriers, as was done recently to characterize aspects of the glass transition [Langer, 2012], as well as physical mechanisms for granular fracture and wear [Mair and Abe, 2011]. In geophysical applications, the distribution of particle sizes may be responsible for frequency dependent response and variability in friction characteristics [Marone and Scholz, 1989]. Grain breakage is expected to lead to frictional weakening, and provides a significant pathway for energy dissipation that will help account for the lack of thermal heating during earthquakes.


In the third project, we will build on our recent work involving extensions of STZ theory that include thermally varying material properties [Elbanna and Carlson, 2012]. The next phase will focus on shear banding as an additional weakening mechanism in order to model more realistically the shearing response of gouge layers at high strain rates. We will compare our results with laboratory experiments of Sone and Shimamoto, [2009], that exhibit strain localization and rapid velocity weakening.



Leila Carvalho     Charles Jones     1/1/12-12/31/16                                          450,000


International Potato Center (CIP), SB120184


Regional Climate Variability and Changes in the Central Andes


This collaborative work focuses on regional climate variability and changes over the central Andes with an emphasis on potential impacts on water resources and food security particularly potato crop productions and vulnerability. Research activities will be developed under the theme “Integration for decision making” and divided in the following objectives:


I. Analysis of climate variability and changes in the central Andes This objective will analyze atmospheric reanalysis to characterize climate variability and trends during 1948-present to identify key changes in the South American Monsoon System. In particular, we will develop several observational analyses to identify potential regional atmospheric changes over the central Andes. We will also analyze data from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project version 5 (CMIP5). CMIP5 model simulations are being used for preparation of the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We will analyze model simulations for the present climate and projections.


II. Development of climate downscaling methods

The specific research problem addressed in this objective will be the development of downscaling methods to properly represent the complex topography of the central Andes and the associated atmospheric variability particularly in precipitation and air temperature. The tasks will include analysis of conventional observations as well as regional climate model simulations. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model will be used to develop regional simulations over the central Andes. Conventional observations and regional climate model products will be used as inputs for multi-fractal downscaling at high resolutions over the Peruvian Andes.


III. Analysis of climate variability in South America and vulnerability assessments This objective will consist in summarizing the analysis of climate variability and changes in the South American Monsoon (Objective-I) and develop geo-referenced data that will be applied in vulnerability assessments over the central Andes.



Leila Carvalho     Charles Jones     Bodo Bookhagen      8/15/11-1/31/17       563,506


National Science Foundation, 1116105


Climate Variability and Impacts on Regional Surface Runoff in High Asia Mountains


The current state and future fate of the ‘High Asian water towers’ (i.e., freshwater reservoirs at high elevations) are of central importance for water, food, and power supply of densely populated regions in south, east, and central Asia. In addition to the highly seasonal summer rainfall, winter precipitation is important for snowmelt and discharge in the pre-monsoon (spring) season. Runoff from snow is especially significant in the central Asian and western Himalayan regions, where hundreds of millions of people reside, but observation, understanding, and prediction of terrestrial water storage and fluxes remain poorly understood. Quantification of seasonal amounts of rain, snow, glacial and snowmelt waters and associated physical processes are largely unknown, despite their importance to pre-monsoon and dry-season water for irrigation, drinking and power generation.

The main goal of this project is to advance our current understanding of climate processes on regional-to-continental scales and how they affect the water balance in the High Asia Mountains. The project focuses on multiannual-to-decadal variations in the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) and winter western disturbances (WD) and their impacts on rainfall, snow and runoff variability in High Asia. The project will focus on three specific objectives:

I. Characterize and investigate multi-annual-to-decadal variations in the Indian Summer Monsoon and western disturbances and their regional impacts on the surface water budget in the High Asia Mountains.

II. Examine the spatiotemporal variability of the surface water budget including changes in rainfall and snow and their relative roles in driving runoff variations in High Asia.

III. Develop case studies to investigate changes in Indian Summer Monsoon and western disturbances seasons and their influences on the long-term variability of snow and associated runoff in the High Asia Mountains. Changes in the Indian Summer Monsoon and western disturbances include extremely wet/dry monsoon seasons, high/low frequency and precipitation intensity of winter storms and teleconnections associated with warm/cold El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases.



Leila Carvalho                                  4/1/16-3/31/18                                              70,784


Rutgers University, 5898 (NSF Flow-through)


The precipitation response to ENSO over Tropical South America: spatial and temporal heterogeneity and the role of the land surface


The rainfall anomalies associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events frequently cause disruptive impacts on the populations, ecosystems, and economies of Tropical South America (TSA).  An outstanding challenge for understanding—and in turn, developing more accurate forecasts—of ENSO impacts is the regional and seasonal heterogeneity inherent in the precipitation response to ENSO forcing. We propose here to analyze this spatiotemporally complex response in the context of land-atmosphere (LA) interactions.  In pursuing this research, we are guided by the following hypotheses:  (1) the physical characteristics of the land surface and LA interactions, including soil moisture, surface energy flux partitioning, and boundary layer characteristics, account for the regional and seasonal heterogeneity of the rainfall response to ENSO over TSA; (2) the spatial divergence in current generation model simulation of the TSA precipitation response to ENSO can be tied to errors in the simulation of specific land surface processes; and (3) LA interactions modulate how ENSO forcing affects the frequency, intensity, and duration of sub-daily/daily rainfall, which considered together lead to the seasonal-mean responses we associate with ENSO forcing.


Kelly Caylor                                   8/1/16-7/31/19                                                                 27,518


Princeton University, SUB0000189


Hazards SEES: Understanding cross-scale interactions of trade and food policy to improve resilience to drought risk in Zambia


This project is focused on the integration of data and models for improved forecasting of hydrological hazards and agricultural production, and dissemination of forecast products. Additionally, a working group is focused on identifying strategies to improve early warning of hydrological hazards through use of improved forecast products and their uptake, and improving resilience of local populations through improved access to resources, and development of policy recommendations that ensure availability and access to food. UCSB will help lead the biophysical science aspects of this research, including the analysis and development of improved prediction systems for hydrological hazards and agricultural impacts.




Jordan Clark                                                    6/1/13-5/31/17                             121,801


National Science Foundation, OCE-1260353


Collaborative Research: Completing single- and cross-hole hydrogeologic and microbial experiments: Juan de Fuca Flank


Below the seafloor lies one of the biggest aquifers on Earth. Here bottom seawater is drawn into basaltic crust and flows vast distances before discharging, driven by Earth’s natural heat loss and associated differences in fluid density, and guided by permeable pathways and basement outcrops that link oceanic and crustal realms. The extent of oceanic hydrothermal flow rivals that from rivers to the oceans, influencing ocean chemistry, crustal properties, and a poorly-understood subseafloor biosphere. However, little is known about the nature of flow paths and rates of flow through the crust, how different crustal regions are connected laterally and vertically, and how this flow influences crustal microbial populations. We are completing a series experiments to resolve processes and characteristics of hydrothermal circulation in the ocean crust, using long-term borehole observatories (CORKs) as perturbation, monitoring, and sampling points. Experiments were initiated in 2010 during IODP Expedition 327 following ocean drilling operations to install observatory infrastructure and instrument systems deep below the seafloor.

We have combined a series of short-term and long-term pumping and discharge experiments, lasing hours to years, with a multi-tracer injection experiment, to quantify solute, dissolved gas, and particle flow velocities, directions, and crustal interactions. Hydrogeologic experiments like these have been performed on land, to elucidate conditions in hydrocarbon reservoirs and freshwater aquifers, but they have never before been attempted in the ocean crust. Using the same boreholes, we are monitoring natural pressure conditions and perturbations, the extent of isothermality in the upper crust, the chemical evolution of borehole and crustal fluids, and the nature and extent of microbial growth in incubators containing chips of rock and minerals.

Cross-hole pressure perturbations have been observed, and sparse wellhead sampling of fluids from one borehole has recovered tracers injected in a different borehole (hundreds of meters away), demonstrating that the hydrogeologic and tracer experiments are working. But the most complete multi-year records of experimental results remain; these samples were recovered during a 12-day ROV/submersible expedition in August 2014. Shore-based activities are on-going and include hydrogeologic and tracer analyses, microbial characterization, and integration of physical, chemical, and microbial data to constrain crustal conditions, properties, and processes.  UCSB is responsible for analyzing OS copper coil samples for sulfur hexafluoride. 



Brian Clarke                                                                   9/1/13-8/31/16                25,549


National Science Foundation, EAR-1324627


Collaborative Research: Differentiating Between Lithologic and Baselevel Controls on River Profiles: Canyons of the Colorado Plateau


We propose a study of the relative roles of lithology and baselevel fall in canyon formation to better elucidate the role of lithologic heterogeneity in landscape evolution in general.  To accomplish this we will study erosion patterns in and around deep canyons on the Colorado Plateau in relation to channel steepness patterns and rock properties. Important to our approach is the concept that the spatial structure of short-term erosion rates in disequilibrium landscapes like the Colorado Plateau reflects the longer-term temporal history of mainstem river incision. Not only do the canyons and surrounding landscapes of the Colorado Plateau provide an excellent natural laboratory for this investigation, but their study also carries significant broader impact and public education potential because of the iconic status of the Grand Canyon and the recent, high profile debate over the antiquity of this dramatic landform (age estimates range from <6 Ma to >60 Ma).


Despite the fundamental, and long-recognized, importance of lithology in landscape evolution, it has received little attention in the quantitative studies of landscape evolution in recent decades. Partly this is because we have lacked the ability to quantitatively measure rock strength at the process scale and partly because until recently lacked firm theory to relate rock properties to river incision processes – limitations that can now be overcome.  We address three fundamental problems of broad interest to Geologists and Geomorphologists: (1) the role of lithology in river incision and landscape evolution in general, (2) how lithologic variability affects, and limits, our ability to interpret river incision history from study of landforms and (3) the controversial incision history of river canyons in the Colorado Plateau. The back drop to our study is the enigmatic Late Cenozoic exhumation history of the Colorado Plateau, but although our results should contribute to solving this long-standing problem, it is not our focus. We frame our study around three testable hypotheses concerning the fundamental controls on landscape evolution encoded in canyon landscapes and the last ~1 Myr of river incision history.


Given the icon nature of the Grand Canyon and the vast number of tourists that visit the canyon each year, public education is essential, especially when geoscience educators use National Parks as case studies for teaching exercises.  As part of this research we will pursue a geoscience education study (part of the graduate student’s time commitment) of the effectiveness of using field analogs to teach about geologic process and landscape evolution, specifically related to canyon incision and relief generation. Folks living on reservation land on the Colorado Plateau are a key target audience. In addition to our public outreach efforts, the proposed study will provide significant training for one graduate student and several undergraduates. All students will interact with the PIs and institutions providing educational experiences for each student that are not typical. Specifically, this research will enhance the opportunities for undergraduates for direct involvement in cutting-edge research.  We will proactively recruit women and underrepresented minorities.




Christopher Costello                       9/1/14-8/31/17                                              37,515


Conservation International, 1000487


Maintaining productivity and incomes in the Tonle Sap fishery in the face of climate change


Indiscriminate fisheries are fisheries that target multiple species and multiple size classes. These fisheries are very poorly understood relative to single-species target fisheries, yet they feed millions of people. Their response to human-driven changes in freshwater dynamics is almost completely unexplored. The goal of our research is to better understand indiscriminate fisheries and their response to climate change, using one of the largest and most dynamic indiscriminate fisheries in the world as a research testbed. The ecological and social implications of indiscriminate fisheries are particularly important for the world's poor. Major indiscriminate fisheries exist in inland freshwater systems in low-income countries where freshwater fish consumption is a very important part of nutritional security. Protein from large freshwater fisheries are of greatest importance in countries with annual GDP per capita of less than US$1000. Cambodia's freshwater fishery stands out as one of the largest contributors of animal protein to people living in poverty; major components of this fishery are indiscriminate. Here, we will focus on the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia, perhaps the world's largest indiscriminate fishery. The Tonle Sap system feeds approximately 3 million people directly and provides income for millions more. The productivity of the system relies on hydrologic dynamics that interact with land use dynamics, making for a complicated system that is impacted in many ways by human actions and will be vulnerable in many dimensions to climate change. As a result of recent ministerial decisions on fisheries management, the Tonle Sap represents a prime example of an indiscriminate fishery, as well as a model of community control and management of a freshwater fishery. These attributes make it a rich resource to inform management of other indiscriminate fisheries and improve the living conditions of communities that depend upon them.



John Cottle                                       9/1/15-8/31/18                                            257,128


National Science Foundation, 1443296


Petrologic Constraints on Subduction Termination from Lamprophyres, Ross Orogen, Antarctica


This project proposes to systematically study a suite of lamprophyres, their xenoliths and

associated rocks, spanning c.1300km along-strike and emplaced during the latest stages of

the Neoproterozoic - Ordovician Ross orogeny, Antarctica. High-precision geochronology coupled with whole rock and mineral-scale elemental, isotope geochemical and petrologic analysis will elucidate: 1) the mechanisms for, and temporal and spatial scales over which, deep crustal foundering/delamination occurred and; 2) the processes responsible for the significant isotopic heterogeneities observed in these rocks.



John Cottle                                   1/15/17-6/30/19                               86,426


National Science Foundation, 1650265


Collaborative Research: Andean plutonic perspectives on generation, storage, and eruption of rhyolite


This project is an international collaboration to synthesize and integrate field observations,

geo- and thermochronology, and compositions of rocks and minerals, together with thermal modeling of a young plutonic complex typical of the Andean orogen. The shallow emplacement, range of compositions, and three-dimensional exposures make a superb target for investigating timescales of epizonal pluton assembly, magma storage, and relationships to silicic volcanism in an active subduction zone. Our approach includes hypothesis testing aimed to: 1) establish rates and mechanisms of pluton assembly, 2) identify individual magma batches and assess interactions, if any, between them, 3) determine the timescales of crystallization and cooling of individual magma batches, and system-wide, 4) establish petrogenetic relationships between coeval, but compositionally distinct plutons, and 5) evaluate whether eruptible rhyolitic melt formed.


Carla D'Antonio     Dar Roberts    9/1/16-2/28/17                                              56,284


University of California, 00009434


Restoration and Resilience of Endemic Bigcone Douglas-Fir after the 2007 Zaca fire


UCSB is responsible for the interpretation of satellite imagery documenting location of BCDF stands and interpretation of environmental features affecting stand resilience. This research will also include field-based assessments of post-fire regeneration success of BCDF populations and link these patterns to environmental variables. UCSB will also sponsor a graduate student who will work on the restoration of degraded stands of BCDF. This will involve overseeing seed collection, seedling rearing, experimental design and out-planting of BCDF seedlings. All UCSB PI’s and postdocs will work on a synthetic adaptive management plan and public participation in restoration efforts.



Frank Davis                                      10/1/15-9/30/18                                            63,513


National Science Foundation, 1550653


Collaborative Research: EAGER-NEON: How do microscale biophysical processes mediate ecosystem shifts during climate change-driven drought?


The project team will use National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) data in synergy with their own microclimate measurements, experimental data on tree species establishment, and ecosystem models, to test the hypothesis that microenvironments exert a strong influence on emergent macroecological patterns of forest dynamics. Research questions are: 1) How do microclimates (solar insolation, surface temperature, and soil moisture regime) vary at fine spatial and temporal scales across the southern Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains of the Pacific Southwest NEON Domain? 2) How does the relationship between local microclimate and vegetation canopy cover change across the foothills to subalpine climate gradient that occur within this region? 3) How does drought-induced tree mortality affect microenvironmental conditions, and how do patterns of mortality and canopy gap formation affect subsequent forest dynamics?



Frank Davis                                            6/1/11-09/30/17                                 2,328,985


National Science Foundation, EF-1065864


Collaborative Research: Do Micro-environments Govern Macro-ecology?

Lead Institution: UC Santa Barbara Collaborators: UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, Arizona State University, Conservation Biology Institute, Desert Research Institute, Conservation International


This project examines the effect of microenvironments (i.e. areas of high habitat suitability for individual species on macroecological processes, including species distribution responses to climate change and consequent extinction risk. Microenvironments have played critical roles in rapid vegetation response to past climate change, such as the emergence from the last glacial maximum. This project tests the importance of these difficult-to-model features in vegetation response to future climate change. The overarching research question addressed is ""How does macroecological response to climate change emerge from finer scale climate and population processes?"


The project uses a combination of modeling and field experimentation to answer this question. A collaborative research team will model microenvironment impacts on species distribution, abundance and diversity under rapid climate change for four tree species across four study sites in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges of California. This proposed research design is a novel combination of site trials, distribution models and population models, incorporating measured (rather than inferred) species' tolerances relevant to microenvironments at scales that vary over five orders of magnitude (30m-3000km). Analytical tools will include reciprocal transplant experiments, field surveys, species trait-based distribution models, population models and biogeographic models of climate change. Physical models of microenvironments are linked to models of tree species occupation of microenvironments, which in turn inform models of population-level responses. Climate change is simulated using Regional Earth Systems Models and statistical downscaling from global climate model simulations. Field experiments examine the response of establishment phase (seedling) dynamics, the life history stage most sensitive to altered climate, through transplanting protocols to lower (warmer) elevations. The frequency of fire in the landscape is projected using correlations of fire to landscape conditions under current climate. Establishment phase and fire information is then used in models of single species population responses and multi-taxa responses in complex landscapes. These population-level models will give clear indication of whether microenvironments change species dynamics in rapid climate change in ways that will dramatically change range-wide and continental-scale biological responses to climate change.



Duane DeVecchio     Dylan Rood     Ralph Archuleta    2/1/12-1/31/17              6,500


University of Southern California, Y86552-K


SCEC4 Participation, Project K: Precise Fault Slip Rates on the Oak Ridge Fault: New age constraints on the Saugus Formation using 36Cl/10Be isochron burial dating


This project will begin the work of developing the chronology of an important Quaternary strain marker in Southern California, the Saugus Formation. The Saugus is variably deformed across numerous active faults in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and its inferred age is commonly used to quantify fault slip rates. Yet because the formation is diachronous across the region and few absolute ages exist fault slip rates on many of the largest faults in Southern California are poorly constrained. Until recently the age of Saugus strata (0.2- 2 Ma) lay outside the range of applicability of existing Quaternary geochronological techniques. However, with the advent of recent advances in cosmogenic nuclide burial dating (36Cl/10Be isochron dating), which is capable of precisely dating (uncertainty <5-10%) strata of this age, a new opportunity exists to determine the age of these tectonically significant strata. The resulting chronology of the Saugus Formation will directly contribute to and reduce uncertainties in earthquake hazards assessments associated with the USGS Earthquake Hazard Program, UCERF3, and the proposed SCEC Ventura Special Fault Study Area.


The primary focus of this research is to resolve the two-fold uncertainty in the existing fault slip rate (5.9 mm/a and 12.5 mm/a) of the Oak Ridge fault (ORF), which extends for ~40 km through urbanized Ventura County. Rates are based on the inferred age of the Saugus Formation, with the 2-fold range in the rate reflecting the uncertainty in the upper age of Saugus strata (200-500 ka). Funds from this grant will be used to conduct fieldwork, including geologic mapping and identification of propitious sites for cosmogenic sampling of the top and the bottom of the Saugus Formation. Fieldwork will focus along a North-South transect from the across the Oak Ridge hangingwall north of Moorpark California, where a thick section of Saugus strata are preserved in the Happy Campy syncline.




Timothy DeVries                              7/1/16-6/30/19                                            169,440


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX16AI22G


Quantifying the ocean's biological carbon pump with remotely sensed and in-situ observations


Organisms in the ocean’s sunlit surface layer take up carbon at a globally-integrated rate 5 times faster than humans emit CO2 to the atmosphere. A substantial but highly uncertain portion of this organic carbon ultimately sinks into the deeper ocean, where it is sequestered for years to millennia, significantly affecting the Earth’s climate. This process, known as the ocean’s biological carbon pump, both governs and responds to changes in Earth’s climate on decadal to millennial timescales.

    This project develops new mechanistic, observationally-constrained models to address substantial uncertainties surrounding the operation of the biological pump in the contemporary ocean, and its response to climate change. This project aims to:

(i) Quantify how much carbon the biological pump delivers to the deep ocean on an annual basis, and how long this carbon is sequestered in the deep ocean.

(ii) Develop mechanistic models relating biological pump processes to remotely sensed variables, so that the biological pump can be monitored from space.

(iii) Quantify the environmental sensitivities of key biological pump processes, so that climate predictions can be improved.

(iv) Develop a new framework for assimilation and integration of satellite and oceanographic data, to maximize the useful information from space-based and ocean observing systems.

    The primary novelty of this project is that it integrates both satellite and in-situ oceanographic observations in the context of a global ocean circulation and biogeochemistry inverse model. Each data source provides unique constraints on different important parts of the biological pump. Satellites sense surface biological properties such as productivity and ecosystem size structure, while oceanographic tracers integrate information on the rates and pathways of organic carbon decomposition. By combining the two, this project aims to develop models that have the potential to change how NASA resources will be used to monitor and quantify the ocean’s carbon cycle.




Timothy DeVries                               12/31/99-6/30/20                                                                     274,355


National Science Foundation, 1658392


Collaborative research: Combining models and observations to constrain the marine iron cycle


Iron (Fe) is an important micronutrient for marine phytoplankton that limits primary productivity over much of the ocean. However, the major fluxes in the marine Fe cycle remain poorly quantified: ocean models that attempt to synthesize our understanding of Fe biogeochemistry predict widely different Fe inputs to the ocean, and are often unable to capture first-order features of the Fe distribution. The proposed work aims to resolve these problems using advanced data assimilation (inverse) methods to "teach" the widely used Biogeochemical Elemental Cycling (BEC) model how to better represent Fe sources, sinks, and cycling processes. This will be achieved by implementing BEC in the efficient Ocean Circulation Inverse Model (OCIM) and expanding it to simulate the cycling of additional tracers that constrain unique aspects of the Fe cycle, including aluminum, thorium, helium and Fe isotopes. In this framework, our inverse model can rapidly explore alternative representations of Fe-cycling processes, guided by new high-quality observations. Through this model-data synthesis, we will address three specific objectives: (i) To quantify the magnitude of each Fe source to the ocean; (ii) To better understand the loss of Fe by particle scavenging and quantify the lifetime of Fe in the ocean; (iii) To make new robust predictions of Fe cycling under future climate change scenarios, by coupling the improved BEC to an Earth System Model.




Qinghua Ding                                   8/1/16-7/31/18                                            161,045


University of Washington, UWSC9314


CVP: Seasonal to interannual variability and predictability of Arctic summertime sea ice associated with tropically forced planetary wave patterns


Increases in economic, environmental, and security interests in the Arctic demand improved prediction capabilities. The proposed project will explore a new path towards improved predictions of Arctic sea ice. We will investigate how teleconnections between tropical sea surface temperatures (SST) and high latitude circulation patterns can be exploited for sea ice predictions. Recent climate change in the Arctic is generally attributed to anthropogenic drivers and related feedbacks between sea ice, the ocean, and the atmosphere. However, work by Ding et al. (2014) and others (e.g. Trenberth et al. 2014) suggest that tropical Pacific SST variability is important in modulating recent Arctic climate variability by influencing the high-latitude atmospheric circulation. So far, these papers have examined the teleconnection between tropical SSTs and Arctic circulation and surface air temperatures. One unresolved question is how much does this tropical-Arctic teleconnection affect sea ice variability and predictability? This proposal aims to fill that gap. Indeed, preliminary results offered in this proposal suggest that these links with sea ice exist. The proposed work will focus on the implications of this link for seasonal predictability of sea ice and explore how a hierarchy of models captures this link and can be used and improved to enhance Arctic sea ice prediction. 



Jeff Dozier     Ned Bair                 1/20/15-Fixed Price                                      150,215


DA Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, W913E5-15-C-0003


Methods to Estimate and Validate the Spatial Distribution of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE)


Accurate estimates of snow water equivalent (SWE) in mountain watersheds pose a longstanding, unsolved problem. Operational models’ high uncertainty imposes costs for water users. For instance, April to July runoff forecasts for the American River in California’s Sierra Nevada have a median error of 18%, and sometimes exceed 100% [Dozier, 2011]. Uncertainty stems from the heterogeneous nature of mountain snow. Spectral mixing techniques using satellite-based imagery in the visible and near-infrared bands have been successful at mapping snow covered area (SCA) at sub-pixel resolution [e.g., Rosenthal and Dozier, 1996; Painter et al., 2009]. The remotely sensed date of disappearance of snow from each pixel can be combined with a calculation of melt to reconstruct the accumulated SWE for each day back to the last significant snowfall [Martinec and Rango, 1981]. Successful examples of reconstructed SWE include large basins in the Rocky Mountains [Molotch, 2009] and the Sierra Nevada [Rittger, 2012; Guan et al., 2013; Girotto et al., 2014]. Reconstruction’s main advantage lies in its provision of spatially resolved SWE estimates without the need for ground based observations, but its biggest disadvantage is that SWE can only be calculated retroactively after snow disappears. Alternatively, passive microwave (PM) sensors offer real-time global SWE estimates but suffer from several issues, notably signal loss in wet snow [Chang, 2000], saturation in deep snow [Kelly et al., 2003; Takala et al., 2011; Hancock et al., 2013], decreasing SWE with increasing forest fraction [Nolin, 2010; Tedesco and Narvekar, 2010], subpixel variability in the mountains owing to the large (~25 km) pixel size [Vander Jagt et al., 2013], and SWE overestimation in the presence of large grains such as depth and surface hoar [Derksen et al., 2005; Durand et al., 2011].  Overarching goal: The proposed research uses reconstruction to validate and improve real- time passive microwave estimates of SWE, as well as validating reconstruction itself.



Jeff Dozier                                         9/1/15-8/31/17                                            239,066


NASA Shared Services Center


CAS-NASA Workshops on Snow and Glacier Change and Related Natural Disasters in High Mountain Asia


Quality of life in High Mountain Asia depends partly on an ability to understand and monitor the dynamics of the glaciers and seasonal snow, and to project plausible future scenarios for different predictions of future concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Because of rugged terrain, political instability, and the meager measurement infrastructure, remotely sensed measurements must play a crucial role. This project is to hold two follow-on workshops to the initial one held in January 2015 in Kathmandu, which the NASA Earth Science Division and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) co-organized with the assistance of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Scientists in both the U.S. and China use satellite and field data provided by both, and carry out field work throughout High Mountain Asia. CAS has operated a glacier field station in the Tien Shan since the 1958 International Geophysical Year. Several U.S. scientists have worked in the region and published findings that analyze Chinese data. A face-to-face workshop allows us to fully characterize the data available, learn about ongoing work on snow, glaciers, and hazards in High Mountain Asia, and best specify how a Glacier Melt Tool will advance science worldwide. At the Kathmandu workshop, participants identified a set of priority themes and began to define specific collaborations that take advantage of strengths and resources of NASA and CAS that include satellite and airborne sensing, field measurements, and modeling. To further these collaborations, we established three working groups-- process research and modeling, data sharing and exchange, and validation--to begin work on a “Glacier Melt Tool” to support monitoring, process understanding, and future projections of glaciers and snow in High Mountain Asia. The two subsequent workshops--one in the U.S. and the next in Beijing--will provide more specific guidance about research needed to understand changing climate and implications of human impacts on glaciers and using Earth observations, how the changing cryosphere in High Mountain Asia alters the risks of hazards, and how societal impacts on communities in the region might be mitigated. The recent earthquake in the region illustrates how the combination of tremors, snow and ice, and avalanches has devastated villages, and raises the hope--indeed the expectation--that scientific and technological resources of NASA and CAS could help restore Nepalese communities and lessen the consequences of future events.



Jeff Dozier James Frew                 6/24/11-9/30/16                               1,425,210


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX11AK35A


Error Analysis of MODIS Fractional Snow-Covered Area and Snow Albedo in Mountain Regions


With the significant maturation of Earth science products in the EOS era, we are on the verge of true quantitative integration of these high-resolution, spatially explicit data records into water resource management and research. Snowmelt runoff forecasting in mountainous areas, such as the western United States, has developed as empirical models forced by sparse, in situ measurements of snow water equivalent that lie primarily in subalpine regions. Not only do the seasonal forecast models already have large errors in some years, they rely on a data record that assumes stationarity, and, therefore, are theoretically ill suited for water manage- ment in a changing climate. Moreover, they are unable to accurately address water resources during extreme events, such as persisting spring snow or new snowfall in the alpine zone above almost all measurement sites.

In response to this need for better assessment of the snow resource in mountain areas, new Earth System Data Records that use MODIS data have become available. However, they have not been rigorously validated, and uncertainties and the possible presence of systematic error are not known. In this investigation, we propose to undertake this necessary validation, through four years because the products will evolve. The specific Earth System Data Records are:

·        Daily MODIS fractional snow cover.

-        MODIS fractional snow cover based on the normalized difference snow index originally developed for Landsat [Dozier, 1989; Hall et al., 2006], available from Terra (product MOD10A1) since 2000 and from Aqua (product MYD10A1) since 2002 [Salomonson and Appel, 2004, 2006].

-        MODIS fractional snow cover based on spectral mixing [Painter et al., 2009], available for the Sierra Nevada since 2000 but produced on demand for any MODIS scene. The al- gorithm will be used for the NOAA/NOHRSC National Snow Model starting in water year 2010-11 and has been adopted for the GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), sched- uled for launch in the 2015 timeframe.

·        Snow albedo of the fractional snow cover, based on choosing the snow endmember from spectral mixing that minimizes the residual error [Painter et al., 2009]. A snow albedo prod- uct is also available for the normal “binary” (snow vs no-snow) snow-covered area product [Klein and Stroeve, 2002], but it is usually applied to continuous snow cover.

·        MODIS fractional snow cover and albedo, smoothed and interpolated across time and space to compensate for cloud cover, off-nadir viewing, and data dropouts [Dozier et al., 2008]. The analyses are available as monthly data cubes, during the snow seasons, for the Sierra Nevada since 2000.

The coupling presented here of fractional snow cover and the albedo of that snow provides water managers with spatially and temporally dense data records that populate modeling in- puts for forecasting and research. Their use in snowmelt models and reservoir operations would be advanced by our proposed investigation, which would validate the products, analyze the structure of errors, and advise users of caveats and likely accuracy. Of greatest interest is their potential combination with surface data and energy balance models to help estimate the

-1-spatial distribution of snow water equivalent (SWE). SWE can be interpolated in near real time from snow pillow and snow course measurements, constraining the surface measurements by satellite snow-cover estimates [Fassnacht et al., 2003]. In addition, SWE can be reconstructed from satellite snow-cover estimates and snow-depletion models [Martinec and Rango, 1981; Cline et al., 1998; Molotch, 2009].



Jeff Dozier Ned Bair                      9/15/16-9/14/17                               148,489


DA Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, W913E5-16-C-0013


Methods to Robustly Assess the Snow Water Resource in Remote Mountains


A billion people depend on melt water from snow and glaciers. As the climate warms, the timing and quantity of water from snow and glacial melt is changing. Little is known about the spatial distribution of snow over vast areas of the world. A few areas have relatively dense measurement networks or aerial snow surveys that provide estimates of basin wide snow water equivalent (SWE), which greatly aid runoff forecasts. Most mountain areas, i.e. almost all of High Mountain Asia, lack such measurements, and therefore have nonexistent or poor runoff forecasts. Additionally, there is no baseline in these areas, as accurate snow measurements are not available retrospectively either. In these austere areas, estimates of snow on the ground must be derived from different satellite measurements, all of which suffer from limitations. 

We have developed a snowmelt energy balance model called the Parallel Energy Balance Model (ParBal) that is driven entirely by satellite-based measurements. ParBal is highly parallelized and optimized so that it can be run at resolutions that are an order of magnitude greater than current operational products, as well as for large areas (continents) over long time periods (decades). Recently, ParBal was used to build a snowpack in reverse with a technique called SWE Reconstruction. The reconstructed SWE was then validated using snow measurements from an aerial laser scanner and spectrometer in the Tuolumne Basin, CA. Results show that ParBal performed better than any other method tested, with no bias and very low (26%) mean absolute error (MAE) for basin-wide SWE. In contrast, the operational model used by the National Weather Service, The Snow Data Assimilation System, overestimated SWE in every year with a 33% mean Bias and a 65% MAE. SWE Reconstruction has several limitations: it is only available retrospectively after the snow melts; it can only estimate ablation; and it is only valid for regions with little accumulation during ablation. Because of these limitations, we will use reconstructed SWE as training data in machine learning techniques. We will use snow measurements that are available daily from optical- and micro-wavelength sensors aboard satellites as predictors. Machine learning allows for flexible utilization of these predictors since it is known that certain sensors are more effective in certain geographic areas and during certain times of the year. In this manner, we will generate models that can be used for near real-time SWE prediction, with the lags (i.e. a day or two) coming only from processing time.




Jeff Dozier                                      4/1/12-9/30/17                                               834,399


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX12AJ87G


Assessing Water Resources in Remote, Sparsely Gauged, Snow-Dominated Mountain Basins


Our objective is to estimate seasonal snow volumes, relative to historical trends and extremes, in snow-dominated mountains that have austere infrastructure, sparse gauging, challenges of accessibility, and emerging or enduring insecurity related to water resources.


To judge feasibility, the proposed effort looks at two regions, a validation case and a case representing the characteristics outlined above. For the validation case, we propose to use the Sierra Nevada of California, a mountain range of extensive historical study, emerging scientific innovation, and conflicting priorities in managing water for agriculture, urban areas, hydropower, recreation, habitat, and flood control. For the austere regional focus, we will examine southwest and south Asia, where some of the most persistent drought in the world causes food insecurity and combines with political instability, and occasional flooding, to affect US national security. Our approach will use a mix of satellite data and a spare modeling approach to present information essential for planning and decision making, ranging from optimization of proposed infrastructure projects to assessment of water resources stored as snow for seasonal forecasts.


We will combine optical imagery (MODIS on Terra/Aqua, VIIRS on NPP), passive microwave data (SSM/I, AMSR-E), retrospective reconstruction with energy balance calculations, and gridded feed-forward, uncoupled land surface modeling to establish retrospective context. Specifically, we will use the period spanning the decade-long record from Terra and Aqua to bracket the historical record. In the California Sierra Nevada, surface measurements have sufficient spatial and temporal resolution for us to validate our approach, which we will extend to the Hindu Kush of High Asia where surface data are sparse and where access presents significant difficulties. The world's mountains accumulate substantial snow and, in some areas, produce the bulk of the runoff. In ranges like Afghanistan's Hindu Kush, availability of water resources affects US policy, martial and humanitarian operations, and national security. The rugged terrain makes surface measurements difficult and also affects the analysis of remotely sensed data. The analysis would leverage several techniques developed from NASA-sponsored research and use NASA instruments. While using data from the Sierra Nevada for validation, the activity would also improve water resource assessment in that region where statistically based forecasts occasionally produce significantly errors. Partner organizations include the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NOAA Office of Hydrology, organizations that work together in the NOAA-led IWRSS (Integrated Water Resources Science and Services).



Jeff Dozier     William Brandt         9/1/16-8/31/18                                              75,000


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX16AO25H


Using the spatial variability of snow accumulation to evaluate the orographic effect in California's Sierra Nevada


California depends greatly on snow accumulation in high altitude watersheds in the Sierra Nevada for its annual water supply. Snowfall is typically generated by the topographic lifting of moist air advected to the region by powerful winter storms.  Higher elevations tend to receive more precipitation that the lowland areas due to orographic effects.  To capture this spatial variability we currently use a combination of rain gauges and snow pillows.  However, the paucity of these stations, particularly at high elevations, makes the estimate of mountain precipitation error prone and hard to assess.  This has large implications for the hydrologic modeling of these watersheds and therefore streamflow forecasting.  In order to reduce the error around these forecasts, we need alternatives to surface stations that can truly capture the spatial patterns of precipitation.  Remotely sensed snow depth and water equivalent, at a time scale that resolves storms, could offer a truly unique answer to this problem.  Even though NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory’s (ASO) primary mission objective is to measure snow depth and reflectivity for streamflow forecasting, it has recorded a number of storms in 2014 and 2015, and will again fly this year.  This has presented a truly unique opportunity to study the spatial distribution of snowfall in the Tuolumne basin in California’s Central Sierra Nevada.  Therefore, I will use ASO to first investigate the spatial structure of precipitation through changes in snow depth, and then use these observations to assess whether gridded precipitation products and surface station data can replicate these observed spatial patterns.  Finally, I will analyze the regional atmospheric circulation patterns for the individual events, as this may be key to understanding the differences in snow accumulation between storms.  Collection of the ASO data upfront and preliminary testing have demonstrated the feasibility of this study, thus minimizing the proposal risk, while also indicating the potential for considerable scientific reward.  The proposed study directly supports the “Water and Energy Cycle” focus of NASA’s Earth Science Research program and the “Water Resources” focus area of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program.  The work will provide valuable insights into to the distribution of water in mountain environments through an innovative and unique blend of NASA remotely sensed observations and models.




Thomas Dunne                                11/15/07-11/30/17                                      286,582

                                                           11/15/07-2/28/10                                          53,491


California Department of Water Resources, 460007708


San Joaquin River Restoration Program


This project involves field and computational research to assist the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in providing Chinook salmon habitat in Reach 1 of the San Joaquin River.  Completion will involve both field data collection and computer modeling activities designed to answer the question:  "How will the form and bed conditions of the gravel bed reach of the San Joaquin River respond to an alteration of flow regime and to manipulation of the sediment within the reach, and how will the changes affect the quality of habitat for Chinook salmon?"


The project has supported two PhD theses on gravel mobility and hyporheic flows in gravel bars, and has installed a monitoring system to continue the study of gravel mobility in high flows of 2017 and future years.




Erica Fleishman                               2/1/10-Fixed                                               266,000


BP Exploration - Alaska, SB100049


Cumulative Effects of Anthropogenic Underwater Sound on Marine Mammals.

There are no standards for assessment of cumulative effects of underwater sound. Quantitative assessments typically consider a single source whereas qualitative assessments may include multiple sources but rarely identify response variables. As a step toward understanding cumulative effects of underwater sound, we are developing complementary quantitative and qualitative methods for assessing the aggregated sounds from multiple sources received by marine mammals. As a case study to refine the transferable methods, we are assessing sounds received by migrating bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea during their 2008 autumn migration. The quantitative method models the sound field from multiple sources and simulates movement of a population through it. The qualitative method uses experts to assess responses of individuals and populations to sound sources and identify potential mechanisms. These methods increase the transparency of assessments. Results of this work were published in 2016: Ellison, W.T., R. Racca, C.W. Clark, B. Streever, A.S. Frankel, E. Fleishman, R. Angliss, J. Berger, D. Ketten, M. Guerra, M. Leu, M. McKenna, T. Sformo, B. Southall, R. Suydam, and L. Thomas. 2016. Modeling the aggregated exposure and responses of bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus to multiple sources of anthropogenic underwater sound. Endangered Species Research 30:95–108.




Joan Florsheim     Edward Keller        9/15/13-2/28/17                                       22,866


National Science Foundation, EAR-1359734


Collaborative Research: RAPID: Short-and Long-term Sediment Dynamics Following Wildfire in Chaparral Environments


Wildfire disturbs sediment erosion, transport, and depositional processes in profound ways.   Because of the acute reduction in vegetation and organic matter, soils burned by fire lose cohesion and infiltration capacity.  Along with enhanced soil water repellency, runoff and flooding potential are elevated years after fire.  Post-fire hydrologic and sedimentologic responses are extremely complex, varying with burn severity, rainfall regimes, geophysical characteristics, and vegetation recovery.  Although researchers have studied these processes for more than 70 years, predicting post-fire effects remains elusive, and physically-based models of post-fire runoff and erosion are not yet complete.  Part of the difficulty is that temporal windows for observing post-fire effects are comparatively short, with direct measurements tending to span only part of the recovery period (typically less than three years).  Equally important are longer-term perspectives, however, in regards to how wildfire impacts Earth surface processes in the context of landscape evolution.  Developing predictive understanding of both short- and long-term effects is critical to the future of our planet, especially in an era of changing climates that have increased frequencies and magnitudes of wildfires.  This proposed RAPID project focuses on production and delivery of dry ravel, a characteristic and immediate post-fire response on steep slopes in the western USA.  Dry ravel is a dry-season erosion process whereby gravel sediment moving down hillslopes by gravity becomes trapped by vegetation.  Burning vegetation releases this sediment, enabling its accumulation at margins of ephemeral channels.  Dry ravel therefore provides a significant source of sediment into river channels after fire in chaparral environments.  The investigators will quantify the volume of dry ravel sediment derived from the recent Springs Fire that burned Big Sycamore Canyon in southern California during May 2013 Using Terrestrial LiDAR scanning (TLS) augmented by field surveys.  Additionally, the investigators have geomorphic data spanning over 25 years for Big Sycamore Canyon and two comparable basins nearby with different fire histories.  Thus, comparing the dry ravel processes at these three sites will enable a compelling story of both short- and long-term sediment dynamics following wildfire in chaparral environments.  These data are critical toward developing models of the dynamics of dry ravel for further development and testing. 




Joan Florsheim                                              10/1/16-7/31/17                                                           13,943


CSU San Diego State University, SA0000537


Evaluating Potential Environmental Impacts from Channel Morphology and Habitat Changes to the Santa Ana River Downstream of Prado Dam


The primary goal of this study is to determine whether habitats within the Santa Ana River below Prado Dam are sustainable or subject to significant degradation due to anticipated changes in hydrology and geomorphic changes to riverbed characteristics. Habitats within the Santa Ana River are critical to numerous threatened and endangered species such as the Santa Ana Sucker and Least Bell’s Vireo, and other native aquatic and terrestrial species. The study includes two phases—the first phase will review existing models and reports to analyze current understanding and gaps in knowledge about the potential degradation of physical habitat downstream of the Prado Dam within Reach 9 of the Santa Ana River. The second phase work plan will be developed in coordination with SDSU and USACOE.





Joan Florsheim                                                          11/21/16-6/30/18                                             50,000


Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space Distr, 1016


Biophysical Approach Toward Riparian Conservation and Floodplain Ecosystem Functionality


In collaboratoin with SCAPOSD, this project will develop a biophysical rationale for designation of spatial extent required for riparian corridor conservation and floodplain ecosystem functionality using available LiDAR data. This project will also develop a science (bio-physical)-based rationale to identify elements central to conservation of floodplain ecosystems. 



James Frew                                       8/1/13-7/31/18                                            250,364


National Science Foundation, 1302236


III: Medium: Collaborative Research: Citing Structured and Evolving Data


Citation is an essential part of scientific and scholarly publishing: it is used to gauge the trust placed in published data and, for better or worse, is an important factor in judging academic reputation. Now that much scientific publishing – especially data publishing – takes place through a database rather than conventional journals, how should something that is found in a database be cited? More generally, how should digital data that is stored in a repository with internal structure and which is subject to change be cited? This is the case for the very large number of curated databases through which much scientific publishing now takes place; it is also true of most scientific data collections, which are seldom stable.


There has recently been substantial interest in the problem of data citation, and various organizations have proposed structures for the format and content of citations; however most proposals do not address issues of structure and change that are intrinsic to databases. The focus of this proposal is to develop a framework for data citation which takes into account the following issues: (1) the potentially very large number of possible citations; (2) citations should be both human and machine readable; and (3) citations must conform to specifications prescribed by both the publishers of the data and by the various standards that are being established. All these give rise to interesting computational challenges: citations must be generated automatically from the data; the source data must be guaranteed to support the generation of these citations; and the generated citations must be guaranteed to conform to the specifications. Of course, as with any computational problem, all this must be done efficiently.


Citation is also closely related to provenance and issues of reproducible results. Workflows, executable papers, and microcitations have all been proposed to support reproducible analysis of data. The work of this project will explore the connections between these ideas and, where possible, establish a common framework.


For many databases, the publishers and authors have a clear idea of how they would like their data to be cited, and there is enough information in the database to enable these citations to be generated once the right computational machinery has been developed. However, interesting questions arise when a set of data to be cited is arrived at by means of a query, in which case the query itself may need to be included (an actionable citation). In other cases the navigational structure needed for meaningful citation – such as in the case with linked open data or RDF, which are ostensibly large amorphous graphs – may be missing. The challenge here is to find techniques for discovering or adding that structure to provide the necessary basis for citation.



James Frew                                       10/1/12-9/30/17                                          372,000


University Industry Research Corporation, SB130034


Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data - ISTC-BD


This project will focus on constructing EarthDB, a SciDB database of primary Earth observation data. Primary data is original sensor outputs or human observations, not subject to any reformatting, reprojection, aggregation, or other transformations beyond those required to digitize and ingest them. SciDB will allow common Earth science analytical operations (e.g., coordinate transformations, aggregation, spatial algebra, etc.) or data fusion (e.g., joins across multiple heterogeneous data types and representations) to be expressed as database queries against original observations, providing heretofore unavailable flexibility and traceability. We will populate the EarthDB pilot with data sources that challenge both scalability and heterogeneity. We have already demonstrated the feasibility of managing and processing MODIS "level 1" swath data (the lowest-level digital representation of this Earth imaging satellite sensor) in SciDB.




Phil Gans                                          6/1/16-8/31/17                                              42,715


US Geological Survey, G16AC00157


Geologic Mapping of the Snake Range Metamorphic Core Complex, Eastern Nevada: Unraveling the Creatceous-Paleocene History of Burial and Partial Exhumation of Footwall Rocks


The Snake Range in eastern Nevada is an exceptional natural laboratory to investigate the deep burial and partial exhumation that characterizes the early history of most Cordilleran metamorphic core complexes. This proposal requests funds to facilitate two graduate and two undergraduate student geologic mapping projects in a portion of the footwall of the northern Snake Range Decollement (NSRD), where the Miocene extensional overprint is less pervasive and older structures and fabrics are well-preserved. The primary objectives of this project are: 1) Produce publishable digital geologic maps, including two maps of key areas at 1:10,000, and a compilation of new and existing mapping to complete Six Mile Canyon 7.5’ Quadrangle at 1:24,000, with accompanying cross-sections and technical reports, and 2) Train two graduate and undergraduate students in the making of high-quality geologic maps and conducting field-based research. The four students will map independent but complementary areas:  Alex Wrobel (Ph.D.) will map an approximately 30 km2 area at 1:10,000 of intensely-folded Cambrian to Ordovician marble and calc-schist that is cut by an Eocene (?) dike swarm in the northernmost part of the range.  His goals are to document the fold geometry associated with Mesozoic shortening, the geometry, kinematics and timing of different tectonite fabrics, and degree of footwall rotation.  Jason Womer (MS) will map a 35 km2 area at 1:10,000 along the western flank of the range, focusing on the geometry of a recently discovered east-directed thrust fault system. Two undergraduate students will be selected from the 2015 UCSB field camp (taught by Gans) in the Snake Range and will join the EDMAP mapping effort for the last 4 weeks of summer to help complete the Six Mile Canyon 7.5’ Quadrangle. Our proposed study will shed new light on how older thickening and extensional(?) events influenced the Miocene detachment faulting history in this (and other) core complexes. The PI will train and mentor the four students during all phases of the project, which will primarily involve detailed mapping and field based structural analysis. The mapping projects will form the basis for two graduate theses and two undergraduate senior honors theses.



Brad Hacker                                     6/1/16-5/31/18                                            134,434


Boise State University, 6800-G (NSF Flow-through)

PIRE: ExTerra Field Institute and Research Endeavor (E-FIRE)


The rheology of quartzofeldspathic crust is not well understood, despite being a critical aspect underpinning geodynamic models. Measurements of U-Pb ages of titanite of subducted crust can provide a map of how extensively quartzofeldspathic rocks recrystallize at subduction-zone conditions. In this project, U-Pb ages and trace-element concentrations of titanite will be measured in situ by laser ablation split-stream ICP mass spectrometry to provide a nappe-scale map of strain in the Brossasco–Isasca unit of the diamond-bearing Dora Maira massif. In collaboration with T. Gerya, geodynamic models of subduction of quartzofeldspathic rocks at similar P-T conditions will be assessed for concordance with the implications of the titanite measurements. Methods: Detailed field study, chemical mapping of major elements, trace elements and U-Pb ages using EPMA and LASS.



Brad Hacker     John Cottle            2/15/16-1/31/19                                          332,772


National Science Foundation, 1551054


Collaborative Research: Characterizing and Modeling Crustal Recycling


Recycling of continental crust into the mantle is among the most-important processes driving the chemical and physical evolution of Earth. Mechanisms of crustal recycling include arc subduction, sediment subduction, continent subduction, subduction erosion, and foundering. These processes dictate the rates and types of crustal chemical and physical evolution—and even more-fundamental issues such as the secular evolution of continental volume—but are only loosely understood. This limitation has led to a wide range of viewpoints on the efficiency of the recycling process. If, for example, 95% of continental crustal material that is ablated by subduction erosion is returned to the mantle [Scholl and von Huene, 2007], this process reduces the global continental volume at a rate of ~1.3 km3 /yr and the eroded material comes from all crustal levels. Alternatively, if crustal material removed by subduction erosion undergoes buoyancy-driven fractionation, the mafic material may return to the mantle, but the felsic material may be relaminated to the base of the crust [Hacker et al. , 2011; 2015]. Our understanding of crustal recycling comes chiefly from i) geodynamic models, ii) large-scale box models that use specific isotopic systems to quantify recycling rates [Coltice et al. , 2000; Simon and Lécuyer, 2005]; iii) exposed arc rocks [Kelemen et al. , 2003; Ducea et al. , 2013], from which one can infer the magnitude and timescale of lower crustal foundering; iv) geophysical images of foundering material [Zandt & Carrigan, 1993]; and v) xenoliths, which provide snapshots of processes at depth. Among these techniques, xenoliths provide our only actual samples of the physical and chemical materials and processes involved in crustal recycling, and constitute our only way to verify or “ground truth” inferences made from geodynamic models, box models, exposed arcs, and geophysical images. For example, xenoliths provided the spectacular record of foundering of the Sierra Nevada arc lower crust and upper mantle [Ducea & Saleeby, 1996; Chin et al. , 2013], and the foundation for interpreting seismic velocities as images of the recycling process [Zandt & Carrigan, 1993]. In spite of the tremendous insight that xenoliths afford our understanding of crustal recycling, basically all xenoliths from mantle depths are mafic or ultramafic—with two exceptions: one locality in the Pamir and one in Tibet. These unusual xenolith localities thus present a special opportunity to understand the chemical and physical processes that attend crustal recycling.

We propose to integrate geochemical constraints from the Pamir xenoliths with geodynamic models to address the following questions:

• What is the timescale of recycling: how rapidly did the crust sink, metamorphose and melt?

• How do typical continental crustal rocks reach mantle depths?

• What mineralogical changes occur during recycling?

• How do density and buoyancy evolve during recycling?

• Under what circumstances can part of a typical crustal section founder?

• To what extent does sorting occur during recycling? For example, can mafic or ultramafic rocks pull felsic rocks

down into the mantle? Or do the felsic rocks always manage to escape on the way down?

• Is crust in the process of being recycled differentiable from the surrounding mantle using seismic wavespeeds?



Brad Hacker  Andrew Kylander-Clark      3/1/14-2/28/18                         304,644


National Science Foundation, EAR-1348003


What Causes UHT Metamorphism: Lengthscales and Timescales


Four endmember hypotheses for the cause of UHT metamorphism--subduction beneath an arc, collisional thickening + plutonism, strain heating, and extreme collisional thickening—will be tested using Ti-in-zircon, Ti-in-quartz, and Zr-in-rutile thermometry and pseudosection modeling, in conjunction with laser-ablation split-stream U/Th-Pb dates and trace elements of monazite and zircon.




Brad Hacker                          9/1/14-8/31/17                                                 173,765


National Science Foundation, EAR-1419751


Collaborative Research: Did the Pamir gneiss domes and salient form by northward underthrusting of India or southward subduction and rollback of Asia?


The Pamir orogen is distinguished by a pronounced, northward-convex salient and a spatially extensive, orogen-parallel suite of gneiss domes. Both the salient and gneiss-dome suite are thought to have developed synchronously and largely since Miocene time. At depth, the thick crust (≥ 65 km) of the Pamir is underlain by a cold mantle lid, interpreted to be northward underthrust Indian lithosphere; it is bound in the north by a southward-dipping zone of intermediate-depth seismicity that has been attributed to intracontinental subduction of Asian lithosphere. We propose to test two end-member ‘tectonic drivers’ that may genetically link all of these features: (1) a lower-plate-driven, relatively rapid and short-lived phase of northward rollback/retreat of a southward-subducting slab of Asian lithosphere, during which the Pamir gneiss domes accommodated significant net horizontal extension (~150 km) and growth of the Pamir salient; versus (2) an upper-plate-driven, protracted northward underthrusting/indentation of Indian lithosphere, which forced vertical exhumation of Asian mid-crust above it and southward subduction of Asian lithosphere beneath it. These two end-member scenarios are not mutually exclusive in that they may have acted in concert or played varying roles in space and time. Nevertheless, they make contrasting predictions at the scale of the entire orogen that can be assessed with geologic investigations. We focus this project on testing end-member model predictions for the kinematic, metamorphic, and magmatic evolution of the gneiss domes. Our approach will integrate (i) metamorphic petrology and monazite U/Th-Pb geochronology and heavy REE analysis to quantify the history of prograde and retrograde metamorphism, (ii) geologic mapping and structural analysis to constrain the kinematics of gneiss dome exhumation; (iii) moderate- and low-temperature thermochronology to quantify the history of exhumation; and (iv) U-Pb geochronology and isotope analysis of zircon (Hf) and titanite (Nd) to quantify the history and sources of Cenozoic magmatism.



Laura Hess                                       1/6/12-10/5/16                                         1,139,723


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX12AD27G


Land and Resource Use on the Amazon Floodplain Under Evolving Management Systems and Environmental Change: Fish, Forests, Cattle, and Settlements


We propose to carry out integrated remote sensing, field, and modeling studies in order to quantify key drivers of land cover and land use change on the lower Amazon floodplain. We will use existing and new satellite (ALOS PALSAR, Landsat TM), aerial (historic aerial photography and videography), and socioeconomic data sets to address the following questions:

1) What have been the main trends in land cover change in the Lower Amazon region over the last fifty years?

2) What are the economic strategies of the three main groups of resource users: ranchers, smallholders and commercial fishers?

3) What has been the impact of the settlement and co-management policies now being implemented on land and resource use and floodplain vegetation cover?

4) How might climate induced changes in the Amazon flood regime impact floodplain land and resource use and consequently vegetation cover?

The study area for the proposed work encompasses the Amazon floodplain from the western border of the state of Para, Brazil, downstream to the mouth of the Xingu River.



Laura Hess    John Melack  Thiago Silva   1/14/14-1/13/18                                   529,966


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 426670-19B03 (NASA Flow-through)


Impacts of floods and droughts on aquatic macrophytes, forests, and fisheries of central Amazonian river floodplains


The annual flood of the Amazon River is the world’s largest inundation event, flooding about 300,000 km2 for six or more months each year, with water levels reaching as high as 15 meters. This seasonal inundation connects river channels to adjacent floodplains, driving immense biological and ecological productivity. The ecosystem services derived from this floodplain system provide food and livelihoods for local people. However, climate and land-cover changes are increasing the frequency and severity of extreme climate events such as droughts and intense rain, resulting in greater variability and decreased predictability of the annual flood. This disruption may adversely affect fishery yields and floodplain vegetation productivity. Despite the importance of Amazon inundation dynamics for both ecosystem health and local livelihoods, we know relatively little about the vulnerability of these systems to changing climate and extreme events. This project will increase our understanding of the mechanisms linking basin-wide hydrology, river-floodplain connectivity, and the productivity of floodplain ecosystems by 1) quantifying the relationship between flood extent and the productivity of fisheries and floodplain vegetation and 2) modeling the effects of deforestation and extreme climatic events on inundation dynamics under historic and alternative future scenarios. This work is funded by NASA's Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science program.




Patricia Holden                                              1/1/15-11/30/19                                                           1,987,869


California Department of Water Resources, 14-476-550


Microbial Source Tracking in the Santa Barbara Region


Coastal marine waters in human developments may be contaminated by fecal indicator bacteria whose presence signals fecal pollution that impinges on public health and coastal fisheries.  New DNA-based technologies can assist in determining if fecal pollution is associated with human waste and thus human pathogens, or if other animal hosts or natural sources explain. Further, such technologies, if applied in a watershed context within a qualified field study design, can enable determining fecal sources, e.g. failed civil infrastructure whose repair by owners can remedy the pollution and restore water quality.  To date, several beaches in the Santa Barbara area have been researched for fecal pollution since fecal indicator bacteria concentrations in coastal waters were chronically elevated.   Three beaches in Santa Barbara remain a high priority as determined by the Clean Beach Initiative in CA: East Beach at Sycamore, Leadbetter Beach, and Goleta Beach.  In this project, the lower watersheds of each beach will be characterized for sources of fecal pollution, including evaluating infrastructure location and age.  Hypotheses will be developed regarding potential fecal sources that impinge on surf zone water quality.  Hypotheses will be tested using state of the art approaches in microbial source tracking applied within a field sampling program for each beach.  Results will be used to inform stakeholders, i.e. water quality and infrastructure managers in the region, regarding sources that can subsequently be remediated.  This is a three year project that builds on expertise in the Holden Lab group previously demonstrated in various State of CA clean beach initiatives and in the Santa Barbara region.



Patricia Holden                                                          11/8/16-12/31/17                                                                     29,999


City of Santa Barbara, 21700093


Research in New Source Detection


In urban coastal zones where cities have variably aged sanitary sewer and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), untreated sewage can migrate from sanitary sewer defects through subsoil and into nearby storm drains. Such subsurface communication between these separate pipe systems threatens coastal water quality, since storm drains discharge to creeks that flow to the ocean. There is some evidence that the proximity of leaking sanitary sewers to storm drains, including where sanitary sewers cross over storm drains, may influence sanitary sewer contamination to MS4s. We previously showed this by real time studies, using rhodamine WT dye released into sanitary sewers and probing dye fluorescence continuously in a nearby storm drain coupled with sampling and analyzing for molecular evidence of human waste. In a separate study, we showed that populating a pipe leakage algorithm with GIS-based sanitary sewer system information (i.e. pipe material, diameter, and depth)—for pipes with invert depths within 3 m of the shallow groundwater table—allowed for explaining wastewater contamination in shallow groundwater as originating from leaking nearby sewers. We have further shown that this approach can be predictive of groundwater contamination. The goal of this current research is to determine if a similar GIS-based modeling approach of sanitary sewer pipe exfiltration probabilities can be adapted for predicting where storm drains might be contaminated by human fecal material entering MS4s from nearby leaking sewers. Through modeling of municipal sanitary sewer and MS4 infrastructure, this project identifies storm drains for field sampling. Up to twelve samples will be analyzed for fecal indicator bacteria, DNA-based markers of human waste, and potentially chemical markers.  The broader goal of understanding which storm drains may be impacted by human fecal contamination would be addressed, thus enabling the City to employ their management approaches to remedy contamination. The overall and long-term goal of this research is to improve microbiological water quality and public health at urban beaches.  In conducting this research, transferable knowledge and approaches are to be generated and disseminated via the published literature, thus contributing to the general body of knowledge in environmental management of microbiological water quality. 




Patricia Holden                                              1/1/17-12/31/19                                                                       76,262


UC Irvine, 2017-3429


Fighting Drought with Stormwater: From Research to Practice


In this project, researchers from the six southern California UCs will catalyze widespread adoption of natural treatment systems (in particular, biofilters) for capturing, treating, and reusing urban runoff. The faculty team will conduct collaborative research across the following themes: (1) Human and ecosystem benefits of biofilters (UCLA lead); (2) Microbial communities in biofilter sediments in relationship to nutrient and pathogen removal (UCSB lead); (3) Biofilter removal of metals and nanoparticles (UCR lead); (4) Multi-physics modeling of biofilter water budgets and treatment performance (UCI lead); (5) Tailoring biofilter hydraulics to minimize urban flood risk (UCI lead); (6) Ecosystem and human co-benefit modeling plus coordinating field sampling across five UC campuses (UCI lead); (7) Cost-benefit analyses to uncover the true value of biofilters (relative to conventional stormwater management approaches), and evaluating the effectiveness of existing economic tools to incentivize their adoption (UCSD lead); and (8) Institutional and governance barriers to biofilter adoption (UCI lead). A citizen science component, to facilitate technology information transfer beyond the borders of UC campuses, will be led out of UCLA. Because the six campuses will be utilized as experimental test beds, our project will inform UC’s aggressive systemwide water-saving goals, and leverage UC’s goal of aligning research and academics with campus operations in a functional ‘living laboratory’.

This multi-campus UC program will solve, through interdisciplinary research and education, the biophysical and social barriers that currently limit the capture, treatment, and reuse of urban runoff in Southern California.  The center will focus on natural treatment systems, such as biofilters (also known as rainwater gardens) that simultaneously augment municipal water supply and provide myriad co-benefits, including: receiving water quality and ecosystem protection, flood mitigation, urban heat island mitigation, carbon sequestration, urban green space creation, and local community engagement. Our center will be unique in its tailoring of sustainable runoff harvesting and reuse to southern California’s semi-arid climate, and it will leverage a multi-million dollar NSF-funded Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project that supports an evaluation of natural treatment systems implemented in Melbourne (Australia) during their decade long Millennium Drought.




Peter Homyak               Joshua Schimel      6/1/17-5/31/18                                                             45,000


Ford Foundation, SB170159


Evaluating paradigms in phosphorus (P) biogeochemical cycling: The paradox of high P

availability in ecosystems developing on P-poor parent material


Californians, and residents in many arid regions, depend on montane ecosystems for freshwater. Environmental changes that threaten the quality of montane water supplies, therefore, have social, economic, and ecological implications. For example, because dusts can transport nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), processes increasing dust inputs to ecosystems can degrade water quality. In drought-impacted regions like California, fallow agricultural fields may serve as fertilizer-rich dust sources. Because in the Sierra Nevada Mountains—California’s principal water source—P availability drives landscape development, understanding how dusts impact these ecosystems is critical from an ecological and water management perspective. A long-held paradigm in ecosystem science postulates that while N is derived from the atmosphere, P originates from the weathering of rock, where denudation processes control P supply during ecosystem development. Over time, these processes deplete P-bearing minerals, leading to a “terminal steady state” of profound P-limitation. Paradoxically, in high-elevation ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada, shifts from P- to N-limitation and enrichment of soils and lake sediments with P suggest that over time, P availability is not decreasing—rather it is increasing. In these P-poor granite-derived systems, increasing P enhances loss to streams and lakes, lowering water quality, and may be altering the balance ecosystem C:N:P ratios. Changes in nutrient stoichiometry can affect plant and microbial activity and diversity, altering rates of primary production and organic matter decomposition. Exceptional drought covered >50% of the state with conditions expected to worsen. ( question: if rock-derived P is expected to decline over time, what mechanisms maintain P supply to both lakes and terrestrial ecosystems?




Matthew Jackson                                                      7/1/16-6/30/19                                     299,928


National Science Foundation, 1624840


Preservation of Hadean geochemical signatures in the Icelandic high 3He/4He mantle domain


Helium isotopes provide a powerful tool for tracing early-formed reservoirs in the

Earth’s interior. Lavas erupted at the Baffin Island flood basalt province, which record the initiation of Icelandic hotspot volcanism at 62 Ma, host the highest know terrestrial mantle-derived 3He/4He (50 Ra, ratio to atmosphere). Mid-Miocene Icelandic lavas record the second highest 3He/4He globally (43 Ra). Unlike the Baffin Island lavas, the mid-Miocene Icelandic lavas were not emplaced through continental crust. Thus, the Icelandic lavas provide the best opportunity to evaluate the radiogenic isotopic composition of the highest 3He/4He mantle domain, free of continental assimilation.


A recent discovery identified large magnitude 182W anomalies in Baffin Island lavas with high

3He/4He (≥ 43 Ra). In the 182Hf-182W system, 182Hf decays to 182W (t1/2 = 8.9 Ma), thus all 182W/184W heterogeneity was generated during the lifetime of 182Hf (<50 Ma after accretion). Therefore, the discovery of 182W anomalies shows that early-Hadean signatures have survived for >4.5 Ga in the dynamic mantle. The preservation of Hadean 182W anomalies in the modern high 3He/4He mantle is an exciting discovery, and provides a key constraint for geodynamic models seeking to describe the time-scales over which geochemical heterogeneities are preserved in the mantle.


The discovery of Hadean-generated 182W anomalies in lavas sampling the modern (62 Ma)

mantle leads to several key questions regarding the high 3He/4He mantle sampled by the Icelandic hotspot:

1. Are positive 182W anomalies associated with high 3He/4He ratios in mantle-derived lavas at

other localities? A pilot study identified several high 3He/4He Icelandic lavas that have 3He/4He >39 Ra. If 182W anomalies are associated with high 3He/4He in the Iceland plume, there is reason to be optimistic that 182W anomalies also will be found in high 3He/4He lavas along the entire Icelandic hotspot track, not just Baffin Island. Thus, the mid-Miocene high 3He/4He Icelandic lavas, which have 3He/4He (up to 43 Ra) overlapping with the Baffin Island lavas hosting 182W anomalies, are obvious targets for encountering additional 182W anomalies.

2. Does a moderately high 3He/4He lava from Iceland’s neovolcanic zone, which hosts a

Hadean 129Xe/130Xe signature, also preserve a Hadean 182W anomaly? The presence of a

Hadean 129Xe/130Xe signature in Iceland’s neovolcanic zone lava provides supporting evidence that other Hadean signatures, including a Hadean 182W anomaly, may be identified in the same lava.

3. Do 182W anomalies exhibit relationships with He, Sr, Nd, Pb and Os isotopes? Such

relationships will provide insights into the geodynamic processes that preserve 182W anomalies in the mantle.



Matthew Jackson                                          8/1/14-7/31/17                                     37,702 


National Science Foundation EAR-1347377 


Collaborative Research: The role of oxygen fugacity in calc-alkaline differentiation and the creation of continental crust at the Aleutian arc 


Geochemical exchanges between the Earth’s surface and interior at subduction zones drive major changes in magmatic composition that potentially generate Earth’s continental crust. Among the key characteristics shared by bulk continental crust and some subduction zone magmas is calc-alkaline affinity, a rapid draw-down in Fe concentration early in a magma’s cooling history. Most hypotheses for explaining calc-alkaline differentiation from a primary magma invoke a combination of the effects of elevated H2O and oxygen fugacity (fO2), both of which are common in arc magmas, on the early solid phase assemblage when arc magmas begin to crystallize. The relative importance of H2O, fO2 and magmatic bulk composition in generating calc-alkaline magmas, however, remains an outstanding and important question. Moreover, although the elevated H2O contents of arc magmas are generally thought to derive from the subducted lithosphere, no such consensus has been reached for the cause of elevated fO2 in arc magmas. Contrasting models link oxidizing processes either to an oxidizing flux from the subducted plate, concomitant with (though not directly caused by) the addition of H2O, or to an oxidizing process in the overriding plate (e.g., crystallization, degassing), through which magmas pass before eruption. Resolving the key roles that H2O, fO2, and magmatic bulk composition play will have important implications for models of how Earth’s continents initially formed and have grown through time. Lavas of varying calc-alkaline affinity, from strongly calc-alkaline to mildly tholeiitic, erupt along the Aleutian arc, making it an ideal natural laboratory for constraining the petrogenesis of these magma types. This study will provide critical new constraints on the fO2 of variably calcalkaline magmas in the Aleutian arc, and explore how fO2 is linked to magmatic H2O, contributions from the subducted plate, and various differentiation processes, through the combined study of melt inclusions, whole-rocks, and petrological experiments. To do this, we will measure dissolved volatiles, Fe3+/ΣFe ratios, and isotopic signatures of melt inclusions and/or whole-rocks from the Eastern and Western Aleutians, and pair these natural studies with experimental constraints on the effects of H2O, fO2, and bulk composition on the phase equilibria of Aleutian parental magmas.   



Matthew Jackson                                          3/15/17-8/31/17                                                           24,770


University Corp For Atmospheric Research - UCAR, Z17-28065


Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program


Two major components of the NOAA OER mission are to prepare for and execute multidisciplinary scientific expeditions that integrate explortion, education, and outreach objectives, and to ensure that deliverables from these expeditions are generated and distributed. EX conducts expeditions that execute a new paradigm for systematic ocean exploration utilizing telepresence technology installed aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer (EX), a concept reffered to as "remote science".  One of the vessel's key capabilities is utilizing telepresence to engage scientists ashore. Through telepresence, scientists will participate from Exploration Command Centers on shore in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusettts, Maryland, Silver Spring, and other remote locations using internet and telephone access. These scientists will monitor and guide the operations of the ship's technical team to accomplish mission objectives. 



Matthew Jackson     John Cottle       Brad Hacker      Matthew Rioux   Syee Weldeab

                                                                                    9/1/14-8/31/18                                                 524,244

National Science Foundation, EAR-1429648


MRI: Acquisition of a Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) for high-precision research of the Earth's mantle, crust and oceans


The Earth Science Department at UCSB has maintained a core strength in radiogenic isotope geochemistry since the 1960s, from the Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS)-based geochronology and geochemical advances of George Tilton and James Mattinson to the modern laser ablation split-stream (LASS) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) facility currently operated in the department. Four young PIs leading this project (Jackson, Cottle, Rioux and Weldeab) were trained on modern TIMS instruments and actively utilize TIMS-based measurements in their current NSF-funded research; the students and post-docs of PI Hacker also make extensive use of TIMS in their research. However, a modern functioning TIMS is lacking at UCSB. This project will replace the 30-year-old MAT261 TIMS at UCSB to enhance the success of the research programs of the PIs and their ability to teach and mentor graduate and undergraduate students. The arrival of the new instrument will coincide with the completion of a state-of-the-art, metal-free clean lab built as part of PI Jackson’s start-up. The new TIMS facility at UCSB will: 1) enable new fields of discovery by opening up new analytical avenues for research (e.g. ultra-precise 142Nd/144Nd, precise analyses of sub-nanogram quantities of Sr and Nd isotopes, and high-precision U/Pb ages on (sub-) single zircons); 2) transform UCSB’s analytical capabilities, permitting development of cutting edge new analytical techniques that combine high precision TIMS with in situ isotopic and elemental analyses using the laser ablation multi-collector (LA-MC)-ICP-MS and electron-probe microanalyzer (EPMA); and 3) carry the excitement for research and discovery in analytical geoscience to the next generation of researchers and teachers. The new TIMS at UCSB will enable transformative research in studies of the Earth’s crust, mantle and oceans.



Chen Ji      Ralph Archuleta           2/1/13-1/31/17                                              25,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-I


SCEC4 Participation, Project I: Developing and testing Realtime finite fault inversion and ground motion prediction algorithms using ShakeOut synthetic datasets


The Great Southern California Shake-Out ( is a NEHRP-coordinated, multihazard response exercise based on an Mw 7.8 rupture scenario of the southern San Andreas fault (Jones et al., 2008) in order to improve public awareness and readiness for the next great earthquake in southern California. Several kinematic and dynamic rupture scenarios (Graves et al., 2008; Olsen et al., 2009) had been created to artificially break a 305 km long segment of the San Andreas fault, from Bombay Beach, on the Salton Sea, to Lake Hughes, 20 km northwest of Palmdale. Multiple groups have preformed the deterministic ground motion modeling for low frequencies (<1Hz) using SCEC CVM4 velocity structure and some of results were in good agreement (Bielak et al., 2010). Graves et al. (2008) also generated the broadband (0–10 Hz) ground motion simulations, which combines a 3D deterministic approach at low frequencies (<1 Hz) with a semi-stochastic approach at high frequencies (>1 Hz). Currently, this unique dataset has been used yearly for the ShakeOut earthquake drill, which had 8.6 million participants this year. Here we propose to use it as a benchmark to test algorithms of quick finite fault inversion and ground motion prediction. We propose to address the following questions:

1) How quick can we determine the focal mechanism, seismic moment of this scenario earthquake using the new MDC approach?

2) How quick can a finite fault source model based on current algorithm be available?

3) What is the spatial-temporal resolution using current strong motion and high rate GPS stations?

4) Can we improve the results with additional stations? If so, where are their locations? Note that the previous simulations produced the waveforms at dense surface grids, allowing us to address this subject without additional expensive forward calculations.

5) How well will the predicted strong ground motion be? Considering the limited waveform information used to constrain the realtime finite fault, the quick solution might not be very precise. Then what is the quality of the predicted ground motion parameters such as PGV and intensity?

In the end, as suggested by committee, efforts will focus on internally operating this

realtime system in UCSB and USGS Pasadena office. We also attempt to incorporate the

USGS realtime GPS data flow into the system.




Chen Ji          Ralph Archuleta       2/1/12-1/31/17                                              30,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-R


SCEC4 Participation, Project R: Characterization of induced micro-seismicity associated with one hydraulic fracturing experiment near the San Andreas Fault, Central California


With an agreement between UCSB and Venoco, we are able to access micro-seismic observations of one multi-stage hydraulic experiment. The experiment was conducted on a site only 8 km away from the San Andreas fault in Central California. This will allow the following three research activities: 1) Improve the location and detecting limitation of microseismic events using a linear array of receivers. All research activities rely on precise event locations.  Due to cylinder symmetry, we cannot locate earthquakes using only the travel-time information collected by such a sub-vertical array; the polarity information must be used. Most uncertainties in locations result from the relatively large uncertainties in polarization analysis. We expect that the multiple path effects of a cluster of events shall be similar, the relative locations of these events shall be much better. The relocate earthquake catalog will be used to track the migration of micro-seismic events during the post-stages periods. 2) Focal mechanisms. A single-azimuth data set (as in single well monitoring) in the far field cannot resolve the dipole perpendicular to the plane of stations and the hypocenter [Vavrycuk, 2007]. However, we could exclude the unresolvable moment tensor (MT) component in a suitable coordinate system and determine the class of MTs constrained by the data [Jechumtalova and Eisner, 2008]. As the initial attempt, we will specially focus on the events with single-phase. 3) Stress drop of seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing. For small magnitude events, reliable determination of corner frequency requires accurate knowledge of Qp and Qs, which can be constrained using spectral ratio derived from perforation shots [Eaton et al., 2014]. A better constraint to stress drop may help us to distinguish the events directly associating with hydraulic fracking and induced tectonic earthquakes along the fault.



Chen Ji          Ralph Archuleta       2/1/12-1/31/17                                              11,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-S


SCEC4 Participation, Project S: M 7.x SIV-Benchmark Simulations for greater L.A. Region


This collaborative project will develop the specifications and synthetic data for the next Source Inversion Validation (SUV) benchmark problem (2015/2016). The overall action plan, time line, and roles of each team are as follows:

• April 2015, Teams Caltech/ UCSB: define macroscopic rupture specification, in consultation with SCEC’s Community Fault Database, previously generated scenario ruptures (e.g. Cybershake) and the SIV-requirements in terms of complexity of the rupture and its radiated spectral contents

• May 2015, Teams KAUST / Prague: develop the complete space-time description of the finite-fault rupture model, based on the above specifications; small-scale variability in slip, rupture speed, rise time will be included using the k2-square‐model or pseudo‐dynamic source simulations; we will examine whether spontaneous dynamic rupture simulations are feasible, and preferable over kinematic scenarios

• June 2015, Team UCSB: compute initial set of teleseismic synthetics using the “standard” approach by the UCSB group (same as in the USGS finite-fault inversion approach) • June 2015, Team Caltech: generate regional-scale synthetics and teleseismic data for back- projection analysis

• June-July 2015, Teams KAUST / Prague: generate local synthetics (seismograms and GPS) in 1D, and 3D model, including multi-scale random perturbations in the velocity structure

• July 2015, Team KAUST: Generate near-field data set and synthetic GPS; disseminate synthetic data for inversion validation, computed in a fully deterministic velocity structure (e.g. “no noise” synthetics)

• August 2015, Team KAUST: Generate and distribute various datasets, computed with multi-scale random variations in near‐source velocity structure (e.g. “noisy” synthetics)


In particular, the UCSB team will be involved in the following tasks:

Task 1. Define the source model: In coordination with the Caltech team, we will help to defining the source for the benchmark scenario, a hypothetical large rupture in Southern California based on the following general characteristics: Magnitude between 7 and 7.4, such that the teleseismic data clearly show finite-fault effects; thrust-faulting mechanism, potentially on a buried fault; location in the greater L.A. region.

Task 2: Generating the Synthetic Data for finite fault Source Imaging: In coordination with Caltech team, we will generate synthetic seismograms for the benchmark of finite fault source imaging methods. Two sets of synthetic data will be produced. The first set of data is constructed precisely using 1D earth model. The data noise caused by scattering-attenuation in earth crust structure will be included in the second set of synthetic data.

Task 3: Finite fault inversion using local and teleseismic waveforms: Finite fault inversions using local and teleseismic data will be conducted. The impact of inaccurate Green’s functions will be investigated.




Arturo Keller     Patricia Holden     Hunter Lenihan     Galen Stucky     Joshua Schimel Roger Nisbet      Barbara Harthorn Sangwon Suh                                                                   Robert Miller      Jay Means

                                                           9/1/13-8/31/18                                         4,463,046


National Science Foundation, SB140059


CEIN (2013-2018) Predictive Toxicological Assessment and Safe Implementation of Nanotechnology in the Environment


The UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN) studies the effects of nanomaterials on a range of biological systems in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. From this research, the UC CEIN will design a comprehensive risk-ranking model, based on the potential toxicity, mobility, and persistence of the nanomaterials. With the rapid development of nanotechnology, little is known about the possible environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials. UC CEIN research is primarily conducted at UC Los Angeles and UC Santa Barbara, with several important partner institutions. Within the UC CEIN, UCSB takes the lead on fate and transport, ecotoxicological, and risk perception studies, collaborating primarily with researchers at UCLA, UC Davis, UC Riverside, University of Texas at El Paso, Columbia University, and University of British Columbia.                     



Edward Keller                                  1/19/16-12/30/16                                            9,264


UC Sea Grant College Program, R/HCME-31PD-F


The Impact of Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Erosion: Using the Coming 2015-2016 El Niño as a Surrogate for 50-100 years of Expected Sea-Level Rise in Central California


California has the third largest population living within a meter of sea level in the United States (Strauss 2012). A major impact of climate change with rising sea levels is increased coastal erosion of beaches and sea cliffs. Billions of dollars of property are at increased risk if coastal erosion accelerates (Ryan et al. 1999). The last powerful El Niño in 1998 raised local sea levels in Central California by as much as 20-30 cm (Huyer et al., 2002). This rise is equivalent to the projected sea-level rise in Central California near the end of the 21st century (Cayan et al. 2008, 2009; NRC, 2012). The 2015-16 El Niño is shaping up to be a very strong event that will likely bring higher sea levels in California. Tidal records in Santa Barbara suggest that it has already risen about 15 cm as of mid-October, 2015. Mean sea level rise for Santa Barbara in recent decades is 0.73 ± 1.2 mm/yr (NOAA, 2015). For Southern California, considering tectonic processes, the rate is 1.5 to 2.4 mm/yr (Reynolds and Simms, 2015). Projected global rise in sea level is 18-48 cm by 2050 (Board of Earth Sciences and Resources, 2015).

The purpose of the proposed research is to quantify the extent of coastal change in beaches and sea cliffs as a result of both the expected El Niño storms during the winter of 2015- 2016 and the rise in sea level as a result of El Niño. We intend to use a combination of existing 2006, and 2009-2011 high-resolution airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), as well as new terrestrial LiDAR data, which we will obtain from equipment available at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Higher waves and sea levels will increase rates of coastal erosion along beaches and sea cliffs (Sallenger et al, 1998; Komar, 1998). However, very little work has quantified these changes over a particular time period and at particular places. The 2015-2016 period provides a unique opportunity to observe changes attributable to higher sea levels, and perhaps, to more intense storms with higher waves. These may then be compared with existing 2006 and 2009- 2011 LiDAR airborne results to visualize and measure changes (Rosser et al. 2005; Young et al. 2006). The research will continue after the El Niño into 2016, to determine if erosion rates return to pre-El Niño values.



Edward Keller                 Daniel Morel             5/1/17-6/30/18                                                                    2,840


Evolving Earth Foundation, SB170164


Chronology and Deformation of the Gaviota Coast near Santa Barbara, California


The main goal of this research project is to resolve the terrace chronology across the

SBSYF. OSL is an ideal geochronometer for this study for a number of reasons. Fossil corals on

the Gaviota Coast are sparse, making U-series dating impractical. There are occasional mollusk

shell beds, but radiocarbon dating cannot be relied upon completely because the terrace ages may

be beyond the upper limits of radiocarbon dating (~45-50 ka without isotopic enrichment;

Walker, 2005). West of the SBSYF, this is almost certainly the case. Fortunately, marine terrace

quartz sands are abundant and have ideal characteristics for OSL dating, i.e. a depositional

environment and texture (fine-medium grain size, well-sorted) that suggest a high degree of

bleaching (Nelson et al., 2015). These characteristics mitigate potential concerns with OSL

dating. Moreover, local terrace sands have been shown to be amenable to OSL (Gurrola et al.,

2014), further affirming the method’s utility in this coastal setting. Lastly, the upper limits

(~150-200 ka depending on dose rate) and resolution of OSL (± 5-10%; Rhodes, 2011) are

sufficient to date and distinguish between the expected terrace ages of ~45 ka and ~80 ka.



Gary Libecap     Christopher Costello    Andrew Plantinga    Olivier Deschenes

Paulina Oliva Vallejo     Kyle Meng        1/1/15-12/31/17                                  283,780


UC Office of the President, MR-15-328650


Legal Economic Data and Analysis of Environmental Markets


New initiatives in environmental and natural resource management are based on property rights that assign resource ownership directly or use rights in specified ways. This rights-based approach can be more effective than traditional regulation. Rights-based management helps California meet environmental goals in innovative ways, and joint legal/economics analysis of such approaches places the University of California at the forefront of new environmental approaches. Establishing property rights is necessary for markets that create incentives and facilitate transactions to enhance resource value and provide environmental quality. Examples are individual transferable quotas in fisheries, tradable development rights and mitigation banks in land use, habitat credits for endangered species, water rights and water quality trading, and conservation banking for ecosystem protection. Knowledge of how these rights must be structured and how the resulting markets function to achieve environmental and other goals is incomplete. Comprehensive empirical research requires information bases that have not been assembled. We propose a Planning Award for this research infrastructure through efforts by scholars in economics and law and to make it available to the UC System and California. Legal scholarship is needed for understanding which aspects of property rights enable transactions, for showing how legal institutions affect creation of property rights, and for identifying how uncertainty, monitoring problems and asymmetric information are addressed. Economics scholarship is needed to understand how property rights affect incentives, resource use and social value. This project consists of economists and law faculty in the UC System. This Planning Award project has the goal of defining research agendas and assembling data bases on property rights and market transactions to solve environmental problems. These databases would include registries of transactions for use rights associated with fisheries, water, and land. Ultimately, we will use the data assembled by the Planning Award for drafting a Program Award for collaborative efforts in empirical research aimed at understanding why property rights can be used in some situations but not in others, and why markets arise easily and function smoothly in some environmental resource settings, but not for others. California policy questions motivate the databases compiled, including over-exploitation of fisheries, inefficiencies in water use, conservation of endangered species, and ecosystem protection.                       




Stéphane Maritorena                       8/12/15-8/11/18                                          144,592


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Inc., 154444UCSB


CORAL: COral Reef Airborne Laboratory


Dr. Stéphane Maritorena will support the COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) project by contributing to the development, implementation and refinement of the benthic production and calcification algorithms. In addition, Dr. Maritorena will participate in several Productivity and Calcification field experiments and will perform validation analyses of the Level-4 data products (Production and Calcification).

Specifically, Dr. Maritorena, in collaboration with PI Eric Hochberg, will be involved in:

1)   the conception and implementation of the benthic production and calcification algorithms and the associated processing flows (Years 1-3)

2)   the benthic community productivity and calcification field experiments in Key West and Guam (Year 2)

3)   the benthic community productivity and calcification field experiments in Hawaii and Moorea (Year 3)

4)   the comparison of the production and calcification in situ measurements with the products derived from the PRISM measurements (Years 3-4)

5)   performing individual and/or collaborative data analyses to address the project objectives (Years 3-4)

6)   The refinement and modification of the production and calcification algorithms and processing flows as dictated by the comparison analyses described in item 4 above (Years 3-5)

7)   presenting results at national/international meetings and in peer-reviewed journals (Years 2-5)




Stéphane Maritorena                       11/25/14-11/24/17                                      364,386

David Siegel                                     


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX15AC65G


How useful will the PACE UV bands be for IOP retrievals and atmospheric correction?


Several prospective ocean color sensors such as PACE will have spectral bands in the UV in addition to those in the visible and those designed for atmospheric correction in the NIR and SWIR regions. The expected usefulness of the UV bands for ocean color sensors is two-fold: 1) they should allow a better discrimination between phytoplankton and CDOM -through their inherent optical properties, IOPS-in the ocean and 2) they can help in the atmospheric correction when absorbing aerosols are present. They PACE UV bands are expected to help mostly in coastal and turbid waters where both high amounts of CDOM and the presence of absorbing aerosols are frequent. Because both CDOM and absorbing aerosol show increased absorption toward short wavelengths, confounding effects may limit the ability of the UV bands to discern the role of CDOM and aerosols in the remote sensing signal. Here, we propose to test the use of the PACE UV bands for both IOP retrievals and atmospheric correction. We will test the performance of a semi-analytic ocean color algorithm (an upgraded version of the GSM model) for the retrieval of IOPs using available in situ data that cover the UV and visible domains. Using simulated data, we will also test how perturbations in the NIR and SWIR atmospheric bands affect the spectral IOP retrievals (from UV to the green wavelengths). Last, we will test if the UV bands can be used to better constrain the aerosol path radiance and improve atmospheric correction. Some of these analyses will also be considered with the HICO data.




Stéphane Maritorena      David Siegel      5/15/13-5/14/18                               956,638


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX13AK22A


Creating Unified Ocean Color Data Records with Uncertainties


The generation of unified satellite data records through the merging of ocean color data from multiple sensors has proven beneficial to the science user community at various levels. First, merged products offer improved coverage of the ocean at daily to monthly time scales, which reduces the uncertainties in estimates derived from those products for both local and global studies. Second, merged data products often have lower uncertainties than the same product from any single sensor. Last, data merging has also proven a powerful tool to identify inconsistencies among the different data sources or issues with the sensors’ radiometry. In all, data merging benefits both the ocean color and biogeochemistry science that uses its data and the inter-sensors calibration/validation activities. Here, we propose to continue the development of unified and coherent ocean color time series through the merging of data from multiple sensors. We will continue the development of merged ocean color products from the GSM semi-analytical model. This model merges data at the Remote sensing reflectance level and derives several biogeochemically relevant data products simultaneously along with uncertainty estimates at each pixel. In addition, we will also generate merged products from higher level data (e.g. chlorophyll-a concentration) as such products are no longer available to the science community. We will also develop new merged ocean color products. In particular, we will develop a merged remote sensing reflectance product that will allow users to work with a data set with improved spectral resolution and lower uncertainties. Last, uncertainty estimates for all merged products will be generated on a pixel-by-pixel basis. All products and uncertainty estimates will be validated through matchup analyses. The merged records will cover the time span over which multiple ocean color sensors are or will be available (SeaWiFS, MODIS, MERIS, VIIRS, OLCI,…). Both global (9-4 km resolution from level-3 data) and regional (1-4 km resolution from level-2 data) merged products will be developed.



Robin Matoza                                   8/1/15-7/31/18                                            220,000


National Science Foundation, 1446543

Characterizing fault zones at Kilauea & Mauna Loa volcanoes by large-scale mapping of earthquake stress drops and focal mechanisms


The analysis and interpretation of seismic sources from within Earth’s mantle up to the surface plays a key role in understanding how volcanoes work. Hawaii Island is one of the most tectonically, volcanically, and seismically active regions on Earth.  The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) operates a seismic network that has recorded over 260,000 earthquakes since 1986, but this rich dataset has not been fully exploited. This project supports collaboration between HVO and U.C. San Diego to apply a number of new large-dataset processing methods to learn more about seismic activity on Hawaii and its relationship to faults and volcanoes. It also supports the educational program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and U.C. San Diego by providing funds for graduate student support. The results from this study are expected to yield a sharper and more comprehensive view of fault zone characteristics as well as generate public databases of high-resolution information on seismicity characteristics, suitable for other researchers in their studies of Hawaiian geology, tectonics, and volcanism. This research will lead to improved descriptions of seismicity and tectonics for Hawaii, which will improve our ability to monitor and characterize volcanic and earthquake hazards.


By performing systematic and comprehensive analyses of seismicity recorded by HVO, this work will improve earthquake location precision, provide robust estimates of the patterns of earthquake stress drops, and compute more reliable earthquake focal mechanisms on Hawaii.  Integrating these results will better characterize crustal and mantle fault zones and magma conduits in and around Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, and will help to resolve the relationships between seismicity, volcanic activity, and strain transients.  Our results will address the following questions: (1) Relocated microearthquakes in Hawaii align along resolvable fault and conduit structures—what do these structures reveal about tectonic and volcanic processes? (2) What is the origin of recently discovered seismicity rings in Hawaii? (3) How do the stress drops of Hawaiian earthquakes compare to other regions?  Are there variations in earthquake stress drops that can be used to characterize stress field heterogeneity and identify regions of stress concentration? (4) Can focal mechanisms be improved for small earthquakes in Hawaii and what do they reveal about the faulting process and stress state? (5) Can repeating earthquakes with nearly identical waveforms be used to resolve temporal variations in seismic velocity associated with tectonic and volcanic activity? (6) How do the characteristics of long-period (LP, 0.5-5 Hz) seismicity at Kilauea volcano relate to redistributions of magma and stress within its magma supply system?



Robin Matoza                                5/11/15-7/31/16                                                               63,493


National Science Foundation, 1546139


Collaborative Research: Constraining Volcanic Jet Dynamics with Infrasound Using Numerical and Empirical Models


Explosive volcanic jets produce eruption columns that often form buoyant ash clouds and may fully or partially collapse to form pyroclastic density currents, dangerous fast-moving lateral flows of hot ash and gas. These natural hazards directly threaten surrounding communities and global air traffic. Our ability to mitigate these risks is restricted by our inability to safely measure volcanic jets or monitor them co-eruptively. Infrasound (acoustic signals with frequencies below that of human hearing) provides a means to detect the atmospheric oscillations from volcanoes at distances of meters to thousands of kilometers from the source. This project aims to use these signals to constrain the physics of volcanic jets and measure them in real-time. These measurements may be used as input parameters for aviation safety ash-cloud prediction models and toward assessing the hazard presented to local communities by a given eruption. Additionally, this work will provide constraints on eruptive parameters and physics for numerical and experimental studies.


Recent infrasound recordings of volcanic jets have frequency spectra similar to the acoustic signal produced by man-made jets (jet noise). For the past 60 years, aeroacoustics has studied the relationship between the flow properties of man-made jets and the acoustic signal produced. Our long-term objective is to reverse this concept by determining the flow properties of volcanic jets based on the infrasound signal produced by the eruption. This work represents a first step toward this long-term goal. We begin by building a catalog of infrasonic jet noise observations to determine characteristic volcanic jet noise features and determine any correlations between these features and known eruptive parameters. This process includes searching existing infrasound databases using new signal processing tools and empirical and theoretical propagation modeling. We will then use analytical and numerical models of volcanic jets to adapt established empirical models of man-made jet noise to volcanic systems.



Robin Matoza                                   6/1/16-5/31/19                                            261,778


National Science Foundation, 1614855


Collaborative Research: Quantifying explosive volcanism in Alaska using seismo-acoustic wavefields recorded by USArray


Alaska is home to 130 potentially active volcanoes, of which more than 50 have been active in historical times. On average 2 volcanoes are in a state of eruption every year. Volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula, and Cook Inlet are capable of sudden, explosive, ash-cloud forming eruptions, which are potentially hazardous to passenger and freight aircraft along this heavily travelled air corridor. Many of Alaska’s volcanoes are in remote locations with harsh environments. Monitoring these volcanoes represents a formidable challenge and many of the volcanoes are not instrumented. Infrasound (acoustic waves with frequencies below the 20 Hz hearing threshold of the human ear) is a rapidly developing technology to understand and monitor explosive volcanic eruptions. Modest-sized explosive eruptions produce powerful infrasound signals that propagate efficiently over thousands of kilometers in the atmosphere. However, to date, these signals have been recorded by sparse infrasound sensor networks, limiting our understanding of their source generation and propagation through the atmosphere. The EarthScope Transportable Array (TA) is currently being deployed in Alaska, bringing the densest ever combined seismic and infrasonic network to one of the world’s most active volcanic regions. Exploiting this novel dataset, this project will advance the capability of acoustic early warning systems of volcanic eruptions for aviation safety and will assess the potential contribution of large sensor networks such as the TA to volcano monitoring. At the end of the project, an operational volcano-acoustic monitoring system resulting from this work will be implemented at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.


This work will capitalize on the unprecedented seismo-acoustic dataset starting to become available as the TA records Alaska’s routine explosive volcanism with dense spatial wavefield sampling. Volcano seismo-acoustics is a rapidly advancing research field, where basic questions remain on the source mechanisms, source directionality, atmospheric propagation, and seismo-acoustic coupling from explosive volcanic eruptions. This project will focus on detection, discrimination, and location of the signals using novel methods; quantifying the seismo-acoustic wavefield; investigating the source mechanisms; quantifying seismo-acoustic wave coupling; and understanding infrasound propagation in the spatio-temporally varying atmosphere. Through a combination of data analysis and modeling, we will characterize and quantify diverse seismic and infrasonic signals recorded at a range of distances and directions from the explosive eruption source. We will address the following questions: (1) How do observed acoustic and seismic signals from explosive volcanic eruptions vary with distance and azimuth to the source? (2) How does acoustic propagation differ for various types of explosive eruptions? (3) What kind of volcanic source information can be determined from long-range seismo-acoustic data? (4) What are the wavefield sampling limitations in previous volcano infrasound studies? (5) What other infrasound sources are present in Alaska? Our team will work with the EarthScope National Office at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to help highlight this research and its impacts. Multi-media products illustrating seismo-acoustic wavefields from volcanic eruptions in Alaska will be distributed via the web for use in public information packets and education and outreach. Event catalogs and related data products will be publically available, with notable infrasound events uploaded to the IRIS TA Infrasound Reference Event Database (TAIRED).




Robin Matoza                                                                        3/1/17-2/29/20                                     290,000


National Science Foundation, 1620576


Investigating the seismic signatures of volcanic unrest and eruption: Spatiotemporal distribution and source origin of tiny long-period seismicity


Seismicity generated during volcanic unrest and eruption plays a central role in our understanding

of how volcanoes work. Long-period (LP, 0.5-5 Hz) seismicity, a particular type of volcanic

seismicity, is used routinely by volcano monitoring scientists to forecast and assess eruptions

and mitigate hazards, but its source origin remains controversial. This project will perform

detailed investigations into the origin of an intriguing and largely overlooked additional

type of volcanic seismicity: numerous tiny-amplitude LPs (LP subevents) that accompany the

regular LPs. Tiny LP subevents have apparently been recorded at multiple volcanoes worldwide,

but their origin remains mysterious. Millions of tiny LP subevents were exceptionally well

recorded by a dense seismic network during the 2004-2008 eruption of Mount St. Helens (MSH),

but were not cataloged or analyzed. These LP subevents contain rich, unexploited information

that has the potential to better elucidate the processes generating volcanic seismicity. This

project will utilize novel computationally intensive processing methods adapted from studying

regional seismicity in Southern California and Hawaii. This research will map the spatiotemporal

distribution and source mechanisms of millions of tiny LP subevents to high precision and

determine their relation to other volcanic seismicity and eruptive activity. The primary dataset

is from MSH, but additional datasets from Mammoth Mountain, CA, Kilauea Volcano, HI, and other volcanoes will be exploited for comparative analyses and hypothesis testing across multiple

volcanic systems.




John Melack                                     9/1/12-8/31/18                                                              182,476


National Science Foundation, DEB-1242594


LTREB Renewal-Collaborative Research: Responses of High Elevation, Acquatic Ecosystems to Interannual Climate Variability


Three decades of investigation of high-elevation Emerald Lake and neighboring lakes and watersheds in the Sierra Nevada (California) have transformed our understanding of how interannual changes in snowmelt and rates of atmospheric deposition have modified the timing and magnitude of hydrological and chemical fluxes, and thereby modulate the ecology of high elevation ecosystems. Experiments, both in the field and laboratory, have added mechanistic understanding of biogeochemical processes of Sierran lakes and watersheds. Comparative studies of biological and hydrochemical aspects of lakes, conducted from 1982 to the present, provide a regional context for examination of Sierra-wide conditions and responses to global change. Recent paleo-investigations at Emerald Lake and companion lakes have provided a multi-century context for the 31-year dataset from Emerald Lake. In our LTREB renewal, we propose to complete our decadal research plan to test the hypothesis that altered climate, changing snow regime and changes in atmospheric composition are driving biogeochemical and ecological changes in high elevation ecosystems. We propose to continue long-term study of the Emerald Lake watershed, Tokopah Valley and nearby catchments in order to test conceptual hypotheses regarding drivers of environmental change in high-elevation aquatic ecosystems. The primary foci of the proposed study are: i) continued assessment of the response of lake phytoplankton to changing atmospheric deposition and ii) continued study of the coupling between climate variability and N and P biogeochemistry. These questions will be answered through the continuation of on-going watershed measurements; additional study of lake metabolism; enhanced measurements of atmospheric deposition; and paleolimnological study of lake sediments. Climate conditions have a strong influence on potential N&P source areas, on the incidence of fires, on transport and deposition, and lake ecology. Hence, as a consequence of the considerable interannual variability in California’s Mediterranean climate, it is essential to conduct these studies for at least ten years.



John Melack                                     9/1/13-8/31/18                                            411,216


Pennsylvania State University, 4916-USB-DOE-0620 (DOE Flow-through)


Scale-aware, Improved Hydrological and Biogeochemical Simulations of the Amazon Under a Changing Climate


About 20% of the Amazon basin is seasonally inundated, and these wetlands are sites of intense biological activity that can have a strong influence on the regional carbon dynamics. Understanding the effects of these dynamics on air water exchanges of CO2 and CH4 is of critical importance if we are to estimate the net contribution of Amazon wetlands to greenhouse gas emissions. To quantify this influence, it will be necessary to improve estimates of the fluxes and balance of carbon, incorporating the principal sources of spatial and temporal variability and developing numerical models to simulate and integrate their effects. To do so, we propose to combine hydrological and biogeochemical modeling with analysis of existing data.


The overarching question of our proposed research is: How do the overall CO2 and CH4 cycles and carbon pools in the Amazon, including catchment and aquatic systems, respond to the changing climate, especially significant changes in the water cycle? To address this question, the UCSB aspect of the proposed research will enhance the modeling capabilities of Community Land Model by adding an aquatic ecosystem module that includes multi-scale carbon and methane biogeochemistry.



John Melack         Sally MacIntyre                5/3/17-5/2/20                                    97,157


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX17AK49G


Methane fluxes from tropical aquatic systems: Integration of measurements, hydrological and biogeochemical models 

and remote sensing


Tropical aquatic systems, including floodplains and other wetlands, lakes and rivers, are major sources of methane to the atmosphere. The considerable uncertainty about the estimated fluxes of methane stems from the large seasonal and inter-annual variations in ecological conditions and inundation typical of floodplains and other wetlands. In this proposed project, we will combine results from our field measurements, hydrological simulations and advances in remote sensing to develop mechanistic models that couple floodplain inundation dynamics to the production and emission of methane. Our work will quantify and reduce uncertainty associated with estimates of methane fluxes and expand understanding of their temporal and spatial variability. Our results will provide necessary inputs to regional atmospheric models of methane fluxes derived from airborne campaigns and satellite retrievals, and provide key improvements in the tropics for models applied globally. Among tropical river systems, the Amazon basin is the largest and has the most extensive floodplains. Hence, our analyses will focus on aquatic systems in the Amazon basin, and be extended to tropical systems elsewhere based on modeling and remote sensing. Remote sensing of inundation and vegetative dynamics will be combined with recent results from in situ measurements of methane fluxes, related physical processes and hydrological models to provide regional estimates of methane fluxes. We will utilize existing datasets complemented by focused field studies to develop and validate a model of methane evasion tailored to tropical aquatic systems with strong seasonal and inter-annual variations in inundation, water depths and vegetative cover.




Joel Michaelsen      Lisa Stratton         5/27/14-3/31/18                                     869,300


California Coastal Conservancy, 13-115


North Campus Open Space Restoration (previously named Upper Deveroux Slough) Project Planning Phase, UCSB


This work is associated with initial planning phase for the restoration of upper Devereux Slough in the area formerly used as Ocean Meadows Golf Course (63.8 acres) and adjacent open space area known as South Parcel (68 acres). The project involves interim management, planning including preliminary design, technical studies, environmental compliance documents, permitting and commencement of seed collection and propagation. Together the project area is part of the newly named North Campus Open Space (NCOS). The UC Regents, through UCSB and its partner The Trust for Public Land (TPL) will direct the planning phase for the Project. 


The planning work will support the restoration goals of the project:

1) restore estuarine function to the upper arms of Devereux Slough by creating a diversity of wetland habitats (sub-tidal, mudflats, salt marsh, transitional freshwater marsh); 2) re-create a diverse set of upland habitats and vernal wetlands by returning a significant portion of the fill soil from the excavation of the slough arms to South Parcel; and 3) design a public access component of trails and, potentially, boardwalks which will connect to local and regional trail networks in adjacent open spaces.  Benefits of the project include reduced localized flooding and enhanced habitat quality for threatened and endangered species currently or potentially using the area. These species include tidewater goby, western snowy plover, California least tern, California red-legged frog, Ventura marsh milk vetch and multiple species of special concern such as White-tailed Kite.


Joel Michaelsen     Lisa Stratton     Jennifer King     6/30/15-3/1/20               999,989


California Department of Fish and Wildlife, P1496006


North Campus Open Space Wetlands Restoration


The North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Wetlands Restoration Project Phase 1 will restore 34 acres of diverse coastal wetlands and 20 acres of upland habitat in coastal Santa Barbara County. The project is projected to sequester 549 metric tons (t) of carbon over the first 100 years of establishment and to contribute to the science of quantifying the greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration potential of intermittently tidal coastal estuary systems through a research and monitoring program.  Anticipated fish and wildlife co-benefits include supporting recovery plan recommendations for federal and state threatened and endangered species by providing expanded and improved habitat for the Tidewater Goby (TWG), Western Snowy Plover, California Least Tern, California Red-legged Frog, Ventura Marsh Milk Vetch and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow. In addition, expanded habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl and resident wetland and upland bird species will be created. Ecosystem benefits include reducing localized flooding problems and disturbance associated with flood control management activities, improving downstream water quality through expansion of wetlands and bioswale systems within the urban to wetland interface, and supporting expanded carbon sequestration, denitrification and other microbial processes. Educational benefits from this project are significant because of its location on the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus with its rotating student body of 20,000 students, active academic research, and hands-on restoration implementation and training program run by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER). In addition, the project site borders a relatively dense urban area (City of Goleta and the community of Isla Vista) and 652 acres of recently protected coastal open space. A trail system will be developed through the restoration project site which will connect the community to the recreational amenities of this protected open space and the beach.



Joel Michaelsen     Lisa Stratton            5/1/15-12/31/18                                1,000,000


California Natural Resources Agency, U59316-0


North Campus Open Space Restoration


The North Campus Open Space Restoration Project will restore nearly 50 acres of coastal wetland and approximately 50 acres of upland habitat that will provide an important community green space to this densely populated area.  The trails and boardwalks to be created will invite people to intimately experience a unique, seasonally variable wetland ecosystem and provide connectivity between residential areas, schools, commercial areas, and adjacent coastal open space. This project will restore the hydrologic function lost in 1965 when nearly 500,000 cubic yards of soil were moved from adjacent uplands into a once functioning estuarine system.  Opportunities to work on this scale in developed southern California cities are very limited, and this project provides an unprecedented local opportunity in a region that has lost more than 80% of its coastal wetlands and has experienced a significant loss of public access to open space areas.  By restoring a natural system, this project will improve water quality, increase flood capacity, support wildlife and enhance regional adaptation to projected sea level rise by providing room for the migration of habitats. 




Joel Michaelsen     Lisa Stratton     12/21/15-6/30/18                                        923,718


Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, SB160090


North Campus Open Space Devereux Creek Flood Plain Restoration Project


In coastal Santa Barbara County a 60+-acre floodplain at the junction of Devereux and Phelps Creeks was filled with soil from the adjacent uplands in 1965 to create a golf course that left the creek in a narrow, channelized form, added 3-10 feet of fill and significantly reduced habitat for fish and wildlife, including the endangered tidewater goby. These impacts remain and contribute to localized flooding problems for Goleta City residents living adjacent to these creeks. The proposed project (Phase 1) will reverse these impacts by removing approximately 250,000 cubic yards (cy) of fill from the floodplain of these creeks (DWR funds support removal of 150,000 of the 250,000cy in the project). The project will provide flood control benefits to the residents living north and east of the project site, restore and protect riparian and diverse wetland and upland habitats by connecting the creek to the downstream estuary, thereby providing wildlife habitat for migratory and resident bird species, and estuarine fish, including the Tidewater Goby, Western Snowy Plover, and Belding's Savannah Sparrow which have been identified by federal and state governments as threatened or endangered. The project will also promote community involvement through public access trails and restoration activities, as well as educational programs and signage, that will benefit a rotating population of UC Santa Barbara students and community members for years to come.



Joel Michaelsen     Lisa Stratton                  1/1/16-12/31/18                                               997,095


Cal Department of Fish and Wildlife, P1696006


North Campus Open Space Coastal Wetland Restoration Project


The full North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Restoration Project will restore 90 acres of diverse

coastal habitat that will provide important ecological and hydrological benefits to Santa Barbara

County through excavation of 350,000 cy of fill from the former extent of Devereux Slough on

property owned by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and restoration of diverse

habitats and estuarine processes which will provide multiple benefits (Figures 1 & 2 Location

maps, Figure 3 a& b Restoration Plans). These include reduction in flood risk to habitats and

property currently within 100 year flood zone and vulnerable to projections for 3 feet of sea level

rise, provision of long-term support for diverse threatened and endangered species,

improvements in water quality, greenhouse gas sequestration and the provision of educational

and public access benefits for students and members of Isla Vista, a disadvantaged community in

Santa Barbara County.

Funds will support the implementation of the majority of the wetland-related restoration components of the full project. A CDFW Proposition 1 grant funds will specifically fund the: a) removal of approximately 40,000 cy of the 300,000 cy that will be removed with other, secured funding, b) implementation of fine grading and restoration actions to support the conservation of 18 acres salt marsh habitat in the face of sea level rise, and 3) construction and restoration of habitat features in support of federally endangered tidewater goby, migratory shorebirds and special status birds and plants. The project’s impact will be expanded through monitoring and reporting to EcoAtlas and interpretive signage that will complement public access components of the larger project.



Joel Michaelsen        Lisa Stratton               1/19/17-11/1/20                                               2,449,000


Cal Department of Transportation, 05-6300F15


UC Santa Barbara, North Campus Open Space Multi-Modal Trail Project


The project site is on a 64-acre property donated to the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) by the Trust for Public Land on 04/30/2013 to restore the site and incorporate public access through trail installations. UCSB supports the establishment of multi-modal public trails on the site, but has no dedicated resources for this development. Through an ongoing community-based planning process, it became clear that the community has a strong desire for trails and public access across the land for wildlife and open space appreciation and passive recreation, including walking, cycling, jogging, and as a safe route to school. With funding from the Active Transportation Program, the trail would provide both educational opportunities and access to bus stops, public schools and UCSB, and to trails located on Ellwood Mesa and other portions of the adjacent 652-acre preserve (part of the Ellwood Devereux Open Space).   



Joel Michaelsen                  Lisa Stratton                9/1/16-8/31/19                                     1,000,000


California Ocean Protection Council, P01-1-07


North Campus Open Space Coastal Wetland Restoration


The North Campus Open Space Restoration Project is a project to restore 90 acres of degraded cut and fill areas, including the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course, to a matrix of estuarine, palustrine, transitional and upland habitats characteristic of the Devereux Slough ecosystem through excavation of fill from the former upper arms of Devereux slough. The property to be restored is located on UCSB campus, adjacent to the main campus and immediately north of UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve. The project site encompasses the interface of four tributaries to the Devereux Slough, and is south of the City of Goleta.

The larger project will return the channelized Devereux Creek to an estuary and restore the 64 acre invasive plant-dominated former private golf course to wetland and upland habitat. It will provide stormwater capture and flood control benefits, expanded rare species and migratory bird habitat, and create 1.2 miles of trail connecting adjacent residential neighborhoods and the protected lands to the California Coastal Trail. This grant will fund a portion of the second phase of the project, specifically restore 8 acres of wetland and transitional habitat along the western side of the restored estuary.




Joel Michaelsen                  Lisa Stratton                7/27/16-6/30/20                                               3,820,000


California Wildlife Conservation Board, WC-1589DC


Upper Devereux Slough Restoration


The Wildlife Conservation Board grant for the Upper Devereux Slough Restoration will support restoration of portions of the historic northern extent of the Devereux Slough primarily on the former Ocean Meadows golf course property and adjacent borrow site (South Parcel) that will expand slough, wetland, transitional and upland habitats (Project) on approximately 136 acres of land commonly known as the North Campus Open Space, located in Santa Barbara County, California. Project supports grading, restoration and project management components of the project.



Joel Michaelsen                  Lisa Stratton                3/1/16-6/30/17                         18,000


Santa Barbara County, SB170097


North Campus Open Space (NCOS) Public Access Design Project


This particular restoration project is extremely significant because it connects the upper and lower arms of the slough to each other and to adjacent areas of protected open space, including the Coal Oil Point Reserve and Expansion Area, Goleta Slough, the Sperling Preserve at Ellwood Mesa, and the Coronado Monarch Butterfly Preserve. Situated as such, the restoration of this site will have beneficial impacts to the entire estuary, for water quality and wildlife habitat, by providing wildlife connectivity, as well as important wetland habitat. 




Joel Michaelsen                     Lisa Stratton             1/1/17-12/31/21                                               980,000


State Coastal Conservancy, 16-044


North Campus Open Space Vernal Pool Complex Restoration Project


This project supports restoration of 12 acres of rare wetland and upland habitat on the University of California, Santa Barbara's (UCSB's) South Parcel, including a 6-acre vernal pool complex, back dune swale, vernal marsh and salt marsh wetland habitats. The project site is adjacent to Devereux Slough within UCSB's North Campus Open Space (NCOS), part of the protected, 652-acre Ellwood

Devereux coastal open space area (Exhibit B, Figures 1a,b,c, Project Location). Historically, the upper Devereux Slough contained significant wetland values with both palustrine and estuarine habitat types and supported more than half of the coastal wetlands within the slough system (Exhibit B, Figure 2, 1871 topographic map). In 1965, wetlands in the upper slough were filled to create the Ocean Meadows golf course. Up to 500,000 cubic yards of soil were moved from adjacent lands causing severe degradation of the borrow sites and raising the elevation of the lower estuary between four and 10 feet (Exhibit B, Figure 3, 1967 aerial). Filling reduced the flood capacity of the wetland, and significantly reduced habitat for estuarine and palustrine dependent wildlife, including fish, birds, insects and mammals of concern (Campopiano et. al, 2000). In 2011 and 2013, the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) received two NCWCP grants for a total of $2 million; $500,000 for the acquisition of the Ocean Meadows/Upper Devereux Slough that occurred in 2013, and $1.5 million towards restoration of that wetland to its historic status. The restoration portions of those grants have been combined to fund a portion of Phase 1a of the larger restoration vision for this estuary. This project is for Phase 1b (12 acres), which forms an integrated and integral part of the larger project.




Joel Michaelsen                  Lisa Stratton    1/1/17-12/31/21                                                           1,053,126


State Coastal Conservancy, 16-051


North Campus Open Space Wetland Transition


The goal of the project is to restore 12 acres of salt marsh and transitional habitat along the wetland side of the 1 mile long primary trail through the estuary. This area will be used for construction work through the project and a grant focused on specifically restoring this edge is vital to the final functionality and aesthetics of the restoration project. This zone will be part of the SLR transition zone and the challenging wetland to upland fringe that is the most challenging to restore.




Norm Nelson       David Siegel        1/26/01 – Fixed Price                                729,130


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NAS5-00200


The Bermuda Bio-Optics Project (BBOP) YRS 9-11


This project continues the field and laboratory activities conducted as part of the Bermuda Bio-Optics Project (BBOP). For the past eight years, BBOP has conducted profile observations of apparent and inherent optical properties (AOP and IOP) in collaboration with the U.S. JGOFS Bermuda Atlantic Time series Study (BATS), at a deep-ocean site 65 miles SE of the Bermuda islands. The close association between BBOP and BATS has led to new discoveries regarding the relationships between optical properties and physical, biological, and chemical processes in relation to the carbon cycle. The four areas of focus are: 1) continuation of the profile observations of apparent and inherent optical parameters on BATS cruises (including in situ spectroradiometric observations and measurements of CDOM and particulate absorption spectra from bottle samples), 2) the acquisition of near real-time distribution of remotely sensed reflectance spectra and chlorophyll a concentrations, 3) in situ data processing, database maintenance and distribution, and 4) instrument calibration and maintenance of the UCSB ocean optics calibration facility.




Norm Nelson       David Siegel              3/26/14-3/25/17                                    439,579


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX14AG24G


Ocean Color Observations on CLIVAR: Opportunities in 2014 and 2015


Since 2003 we have been participating in U.S. CO2/CLIVAR Repeat Hydrography expeditions, studying the distribution and dynamics of CDOM in the global ocean, and collecting a global database of particulate and CDOM absorption, radiometric profile measurements, phytoplankton pigments via HPLC, and related data for ocean color validation and algorithm development. Recently we have added an automated system that measures surface particulate backscattering, spectral particle absorption and attenuation, and particle size distribution to our suite of measurements, allowing us to study the impact of plankton community structure on the remotely-­‐sensible optical properties. Uncertainty in ship availability and scheduling for CLIVAR expeditions has in recent years made planning ahead for cruises through the conventional grant process challenging. We have an opportunity to participate in two expeditions in the Pacific in 2014 and 2015, and are submitting a Rapid Response proposal accordingly. We propose to analyze CDOM samples collected by the GSFC field team on the P16S expedition to the South Pacific and Southern Ocean in early 2014, and to mount a full effort with our own field team on the early 2015 P16N expedition to the equatorial and North Pacific along the 152W line. Our continuing research will contribute to understanding the effect of phytoplankton community structure on inherent optical properties, and to the development of new ocean color algorithms thereof.




Norm Nelson      David Siegel         7/1/14-7/1/18                                           1,056,179


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX14AM83G


Bermuda Bio-Optics Project: Continuation of Time-series and Retrospective Data Analysis


The subtropical Sargasso Sea southeast of Bermuda has been and continues to be a model system for oceanographers studying earth system processes in the open ocean, in particular elemental cycles involving organic carbon and nutrients. The long-term studies being carried out at the U.S. JGOFS Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site (Steinberg et al. 2001) are providing a decade-scale view of the current state of the ocean climate and its changes, while the hydrographic measurements at Hydrostation S provide a record of ocean climate change over the last half century. The long baseline of these time series reveals patterns and processes that are not visible within shorter studies. In particular, the BATS record of the inorganic carbon system (Bates et al, 2012; Figure 1) shows a strong trend in increasing CO2 and decreasing pH and aragonite saturation state.  This trend may be a strong driver of the biological community that we can detect and analyze using bio-optical techniques. Our research within this time series context has focused on developing and applying methods for extending the reach of in situ time-series of oceanographic studies by using optical and remote sensing data to provide novel information and spatial context. Our past and ongoing research efforts (detailed below in Results of Prior Research) have been oriented toward analyzing the linkages between ocean optical properties (as measured in situ and from spaceborne sensors) and biogeochemical processes such as CDOM cycling and primary productivity as modulated by seasonal cycles and mesoscale processes.


Previous and ongoing studies have also made use of BBOP in situ data in combination with imagery and other sensor data from EOS and related platforms in both algorithm development, validation, and in answering science questions.

BBOP has also contributed significantly to data records required for deriving new products from ocean color data, and toward the validation of current spaceborne radiometric sensors and algorithms. Our goals for this project are to continue the time series of high quality observations at the BATS site, carry out studies of the long-term data set, transition to the new platform, and reprocess and quality control the historic data set using new community derived standards.




Nicholas Nidzieko                                   6/1/17-12/31/17                                                      81,865


AMPAC, Inc., AMPAC0180-17-012


Test of bi-static underwater optical imager from an autonomous underwater vehicle


UCSB will provide NAVAIR access to a Kongsberg-Hydroid REMUS 600 for the purpose of demonstrating a NAVAIR-provided bistatic LIDAR system, including initial testing in the coastal ocean near UCSB and a demonstration at Patuxent NAS. 




Nicholas Nidzieko                                            7/1/16-7/31/17                                              11,657


National Science Foundation, 1745258


Collaborative Research: Circulation and mixing in a coastally trapped river plume


The purpose of the research funded under this award was to make novel measurements of turbulent mixing at the spreading edges of a buoyant coastal plume. Such observations are exceedingly rare, with the majority of our knowledge and understanding of plume dynamics based on numerical simulations. We successfully conducted an extensive field campaign, capturing the leading edge of a plume with ship-based observations and the offshore edge of the plume with an AUV.



Nicholas Nidzieko                                            7/1/16-9/30/16                                              188,794


Northrop Grumman Corporation, 8200199216


Annual Naval Technology Demonstration


The Annual Naval Technology Exercise, hosted by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI, is an opportunity for industry and academia to demonstrate emerging technology and areas of research to the naval community. UCSB is collaborating with Northrop Grumman to demonstrate cross-domain autonomy using autonomous/unmanned underwater, surface, and aerial vehicles using the UCSB REMUS 600. 




J. Carter Ohlmann                          9/1/15-8/31/16                                            102,637


City of Los Angeles, 4500318931

Monitoring the Fate and Transport of the Diversion Effluent Plume from the Hyperion Treatment Plant (City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Sanitation)


An oceanographic study will directly measure the horizontal advection and mixing of effluent plume waters as they move from the shallow outflow diffuser (hereafter “shallow outflow”) during the Fall 2015 diversion.

At the shallow outflow discharge location, fresh (i.e. buoyant compared with ambient ocean saltwater) plume waters are expected to quickly rise to the ocean surface (top few meters). Drifters drogued at 1meter depth provide a direct measure of transport pathways taken by surface water parcels. CTD measurements following drifter motion give a direct measure of effluent plume dilution as fresh plume waters mix with ambient saltwater. Primary goals of the proposed study are: 1. Make repeated direct measurements of effluent plume pathways from the diffuser location with water-following drifters. 2. Make repeated direct measurement of plume concentration (via salinity) following plume (drifter) motion. 3. Identify where (and if) plume waters (as tracked with drifters) reach the offshore edge of the surf zone and indicate corresponding plume concentration. 4. Provide an independent ocean current data set that can be used to evaluate numerical ocean circulation model performance.




Susannah Porter                              9/1/14-8/31/18                                            421,588


National Science Foundation, EAR-1411594


Collaborative Research: Toward a global timeline of biological and ocean geochemical change during the early Cambrian


Global correlation of the lower Cambrian has been difficult to achieve. Biostratigraphic correlation has been hampered by the provinciality of many early animal groups, including trilobites, and the inevitable diachroneity of fossil first appearance datums (FADs). Likewise, deriving correlations based only on qualitative ‘wiggle matching’ of chemostratigrapic records such as carbon (δ13C) or strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotopes usually is ambiguous, and can be distorted by disconformities and carbonate diagenesis. Furthermore, without U-Pb zircon ages from interbedded tuffs and volcaniclastic rocks, even stratigraphy that is well correlated in relative time will not constrain the rate and duration of important biological and geochemical changes. The PIs will construct a comprehensive database of animal fossil occurrences, litho- and chemostratigraphy, and U-Pb zircon geochronology of interbedded volcaniclastics. Multiproxy records of variable diversity and completeness from around the globe will be correlated using the CONOP seriation software. The resulting composite stratigraphy will place each local record in relative and absolute time, based not on one variable, like FADs or δ13C, but rather on all available stratigraphic observations simultaneously. In addition, we will improve on the CONOP algorithms by adapting statistical techniques that compute uncertainties in stratigraphic correlation by taking into account variables such as curve-matching ambiguity and facies control on fossil preservation. The result will be a first-of-its-kind timeline of early Cambrian animal evolution and ocean geochemical change with quantitative uncertainties. We will use this timeline to constrain a new Earth-system model that tracks C, O, S, Mg, Ca, ALK, P, Sr, U and Mo in sea water and sediment pore-fluid.



Margarita Portnykh        Gary Libecap            8/1/14-3/31/17                                           192,692


Donors Trust, 73346928


Essays on Adaptation to Climate Change


The main focus of this research is the analysis of the economic effects of climate change. Climate change is perceived to be quite costly, there is a growing literature, which presents estimates of the costs of rising temperatures in different countries. However, at the moment adaptation mechanisms, especially provided by means of free-markets are studied much less. While there are some studies indicating that adaptation is likely to help, the exact scope and the magnitudes of the effect of various adaptation mechanisms on climate change costs are not well understood. This research will help fill in this gap in the literature. Prior research on migration as an adaptation mechanism allowed for the assessment of the efficacy of migratory responses as a means of adapting to rises in temperature. In this effort, I found that migration, while having a somewhat small effect on average, will be very helpful in reducing the costs for the areas which are extremely hit hard by the climate change (notably Florida and some currently densely populated areas on the East Coast). That paper provided a methodological contribution by constructing a discrete choice model, which explicitly accounts for general equilibrium effects. This model takes into account that while population density might affect individual migratory decisions it is also a function of those same individual decisions on the aggregate level. Currently, my research accounts for general equilibrium effects for population density only. One might expect that wages might change as a result of both migration (due to change in labor demand) and climate change (supply side shocks). These will be the next steps in my research.




Simone Pulver                                  1/1/16-8/31/18                                            349,308


National Science Foundation, 1534976


Egregious Polluters: A socially-structured explanation of disproportionality in the production of pollution


Rankings of firm environmental performance consistently reveal that the production of pollution is uneven. There are some facilities whose pollution burden on the environment is egregious compared to peer facilities. Freudenburg (2005) termed this pattern disproportionality in the production of pollution. Disproportionality as a measure to characterize inequality in the production of pollution is gaining ground in organizational research on society and the environment. Studies of disproportionality have been conducted for the primary metals industry (Freudenburg 2005), the dairy industry (Collins 2012), the electric utility industry (Grant et al. 2013), and comparatively across a range of industries (Collins forthcoming), and they all confirm the disproportionality pattern. However, such studies take a cross-sectional approach, analyzing disproportionality at one point in time. This research proposes a longitudinal, comparative, mixed-methods approach, investigating the social structures and contexts that affect if, how, and under what circumstances disproportionality changes over time. The research focuses on three questions: 1) How does disproportionality in the production of pollution change over time? 2) What drives those changes? and 3) What factors account for the persistence of egregious polluters? These questions are answered by analyzing facility-level toxic chemical emissions data reported to the US EPA's Toxics Release Inventory from 1988 to 2012 for three industry classifications- pulp and paper milling (NAICS 3221), printed circuit board manufacturing (NAICS 334412), and PVC pipe manufacturing (NAICS 326122).



Matthew Rioux                                                                     8/1/16-7/31/18                                                 210,557


National Science Foundation, 1636678


Collaborative Research: The four-dimensional distribution of magmatism during the growth of lower oceanic crust: High precision U-Pb dating of IODP Hole U1473A, Atlantis Bank, SWIR


Recent application of high precision U-Pb zircon geochronology to samples of lower ocean crust has begun to provide unprecedented insight into the spatial and temporal distribution of magmatism during accretion, providing key constraints for the development of robust petrogenetic models. In this proposal, Cheadle, John, and Rioux propose to use integrated Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) zircon trace element analysis and high precision isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) U-Pb dating to study the formation and cooling rates of the lower oceanic crust cored by the new deep IODP drill hole (Hole U1473A; 789.2 meters below sea floor). Cheadle, a shipboard scientist, collected over 90 samples from the core providing high spatial resolution. Previous work by the PIs on samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Holes 1105A and 735B, yielded analytical uncertainties for single zircon U-Pb dates as low as +/-0.011 Ma, and weighted mean uncertainties of +/-0.004 to +/-0.009 Ma for the most precisely dated samples. These data permitted the recognition of individual intrusive events, placing constraints on the constructional dimensions and history of lower oceanic crust.



Matthew Rioux                                                                     4/15/17-3/31/19                                                           231,072


National Science Foundation, 1650407


Formation of the metamorphic sole of the Semail ophiolite: High-precision U-Pb dating of the preserved remnants of a subducted slab


The Semail (Oman-United Arab Emirates) and other Tethyan ophiolites are underlain by a thin sole of amphibolite- to granulite-facies metamorphic rocks. As preserved remnants of the underthrust plate, sole exposures can be used to better understand the formation and obduction of ophiolites. In two previous projects, PI Matt Rioux and his collaborators have used high-precision isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) U-Pb zircon dating to study the timing of ophiolite formation and the development of subduction below the ophiolite. New data from two large exposures of the metamorphic sole yielded surprising results, indicating that that the earliest sole metamorphism was synchronous with or pre-dated formation of the ophiolite crust and that metamorphism was diachronous along the length of the ophiolite, spanning ≥1.3 Ma, contrary to current models. To better understand the implications of these results to the origin of ophiolites, Rioux proposes to carry out high-precision dating at exposures of the metamorphic sole throughout the Semail ophiolite.




Leonel Romero     J. Carter Ohlmann     9/18/15-8/31/17                                798,220


Centro De Investigacion Cientifica De Ensenada CICESE


Inner-Shelf Near-Surface Horizontal Dispersion


This project is part of the SENER-CONACYT/Hydrocarbons project to quantify horizontal dispersion over the inner shelf. This will be achieved with a series of field experiments in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Brownsville, TX. The project performance is 4.5 years, which is divided in three periods: Period 1 (9/11/2015 – 2/28/2017), Period 2 (3/1/2017 – 2/28/2019) and Period 3 (3/1/2019 – 2/28/2020). In the 1st Period UCSB will deliver a preliminary report of dispersion analysis and flow characteristics. In Period 2 UCSB will deliver a report with analysis of coastal dispersion with respect to background flow structures, as well as wind and wave forcing conditions. In Period 3 UCSB will deliver the final report with scale dependent diffusivity analysis with respect to distance from the shore, bathymetry, and forcing, including the characterization of background flow structures. The final deliverable will enable comparison with deep‐water dispersion studies and modeling efforts to be carried out by other members of the SENER‐CONACYT/Hydrocarbons project.



Leonel Romero                                                                      7/1/16-6/30/19                                                 172,631


Office of Naval Research, N00014-16-1-2936


Numerical Modeling of Wave-Current interactions in the Presence of Submesoscale Ocean Features


This project studies wave-current interactions in the presence of oceanic submesoscale features such as fronts, filaments, and eddies. The work will investigate feedbacks on submesoscale processes due to wave-current interactions. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) will be coupled to a wave model to study realistic wave-current interactions over the mid and inner continental shelf. The wave model will be validated in conditions with significant wave-current interactions, including both current-induced refraction and direct forcing by surface currents, against existing field observations. Coupled simulations will be carried out to investigate wave-current interactions and feedbacks over regions of elevated submesoscale activity. The coupled model will be validated against field observations collected during the DRI. The simulations will enable investigation of the importance of vortex forces on submesoscale processes. The resulting coupled model will provide a numerical framework for future capability expansion to incorporate additional effects of waves on currents such as modulation of the surface stress, and mixing due to breaking and non-breaking waves.




Dylan Rood                                            9/15/11-8/31/16                                                      150,017


National Science Foundation, 1114436


Collaborative Research: Deciphering Connections Among Land Management, Soil Erosion, and Sediment Yield in Large River Basins


This research is a systematic, multidisciplinary study of the relationship between land-use and fluvial sediment transport in a mountainous region of western China. In this region, a unique hydrological dataset provides a framework to relate sediment transport changes to land-use, in the context of rapid urbanization and climate change. We will use hydrological observations and isotopic measurements to estimate sediment transport over a variety of temporal and spatial scales, determine the sources and sinks of the sediment, and tie our findings to regional land-use history. We anticipate these efforts will demonstrate that understanding the source and fate of sediment is important as it will allow us to unravel the effect of land-use on sediment transport in sensitive mountain regions undergoing population expansion, provide critical information for development and environmental conservation projects, and better allow us to use sediment flux measurements on a variety of time scales to estimate geological-time-scale rates of mass export from the landscape.



Roberta Rudnick                                             9/1/16-8/31/18                                              140,000


Arizona State University/Tempe, EAR-1338810


FESD Type 1: The Dynamics of Earth System Oxygenation


Because Mo abundances in black shales remains the most important proxy for the rise of atmospheric oxygen, it is imperative that the behavior of Mo during crust formation and evolution (e.g., during magmatic differentiation and weathering) be determined. Attempts to use Mo abundances in black shales as an oxybarometer for the atmosphere have rested on the assumption that Mo is mainly contained within sulfides (particularly pyrite) in the upper continental crust, and that increased pyrite dissolution rates at higher pO2 results in greater release of Mo. The work to be carried out seeks to test this assumption.



Roberta Rudnick                John Cottle                           2/15/17-1/31/20                         133,329


National Science Foundation


U-Pb thermochronology of lower crustal xenoliths -- estimating Moho temperature in order to constrain crustal heat production


This project will focus on developing methods that will allow crustal heat production

to be ascertained from in-situ U-Pb thermochronology of lower crustal xenoliths combined with

surface heat flow data. We will focus our initial efforts on a large and well-characterized

suite of granulite-facies xenoliths from northern Tanzania, followed by similar studies of

well-characterized lower crustal xenoliths from the Siberian Craton (Udachnaya kimberlite)

and the Superior Craton (Attawapiskat kimberlites). The methods developed here can be applied

to other suitable xenolith suites in order to develop global constraints on the proportion

of heat producing elements that reside in the continental crust.




Joshua Schimel                                7/1/14-6/30/18                                            704,320


National Science Foundation, PLR-1417758


Does E. vaginatum take up organic N?


Twenty years ago, Chapin et al. (1993) showed that Eriophorum vaginatum, the plant species that dominates arctic tussock tundra, not only can use organic N-sources, but actually grows better with amino acids as a sole N-source than with inorganic N salts. This catalyzed a cascade of research that transformed our vision of the plant-soil N-cycle; small N-containing organic compounds have replaced NH4+ as the centerpoint of the N cycle. A challenge of this shifting view however, is that no one has actually quantified, for any plant species growing in the wild, let alone for E. vaginatum-- how much of its total N demand is met by organic N-sources! The challenge to answering this question has been methodological; standard 15N isotope tracer methods show that many plants can take up amino acids, but without accounting for dilution of the 15N tracer into the native N pools as they rapidly turn over, they can not assess how much of the native compounds are taken up by plants. This project would overcome this problem and answer the question "Do plants really use organic N?" The project would use a combination of methods integrated through simulation modeling. The key novel method is microdialysis, in which a probe the size of a root is inserted into the soil, a carrier solution flows through it, and small molecules diffuse into it. If water is used as the carrier, it creates a diffusion gradient, while if a dextran solution is used, it draws water into the probe and so creates mass flow. Thus, this can indicate which substrates in soil are moving to the root surface. Microdialysis will be coupled with intact root uptake kinetic studies, isotope partitioning, and analyzing diffusion and transport of amino acids, NH4+ and NO3- through soil to parameterize a root uptake model that will be used to synthesize and integrate the results. This will allow evaluate the actual N sources used by E. vaginatum. The first phase of the work will be done under controlled conditions in the greenhouse; then having refined the methods and assessed model parameters, we will move into the field to assess seasonal patterns of N uptake and how it is affected by environmental manipulations.




Joshua Schimel     Joseph Blankinship     3/1/16-2/28/18                                  50,000


USGS Powell Center, G16AC000053


What lies below? Improving quantification and prediction of soil carbon storage, stability, and susceptibility to disturbance


Terrestrial carbon (C) dynamics and the fate of the soil C reservoir recently emerged as one of the largest sources of uncertainty in global C cycle models (Cannadell et al., 2007; Mishra et al., 2013; Scharlemann et al., 2014). Soils contain more C than the atmosphere and aboveground vegetation combined (Ciais et al., 2013), and will undeniably play a major role in determining future climate conditions. However, due to the complexities of biogeochemical processes governing soil C storage, it is largely unknown whether the role of soil will be to sequester C or instead to contribute further to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Defining the stability of this highly relevant C pool and predicting its behavior under future climate scenarios is imperative for understanding and mitigating global climate change. This challenge cannot be overcome without better constraining the primary controls of soil C dynamics across ecosystem types. Improving knowledge of the primary controls of soil C storage requires measurements of distinct soil C pools that are repeatable and comparable across different soil and ecosystem types. However, a consistent set of methodologies assessing the fundamental biogeochemical processes governing soil C storage is currently lacking (Jandl et al., 2014). Datasets are often collected using entirely different methodologies or at vastly different resolutions (molecular- to ecosystem-scale), limiting our ability to integrate process-level understanding into terrestrial ecosystem models. Overcoming this challenge begins with the careful evaluation of existing datasets, calibration and standardization of methodologies for future data collection, and data integration into models.



Joshua Schimel                                                         10/1/16-9/30/17                                                                       41,122


University of California - Berkeley, 00009485


Carbon sequestration potential of rangeland soils


Dr. Schimel's lab at UCSB will undertake to do a series of soil incubations to measure microbial biomass and nitrogen mineralization rates as an overall contribution to the project evaluating the effects of using compost applications to enhance soil C sequestration in grasslands around California. 



Katja Seltmann                                6/27/16-12/31/17                                          40,000


California Coastal Conservancy, 15-124


Kids in Nature Explore the Coast (KIN2)


The KIN2 program is designed to provide twenty 4-6th grade classrooms in our local area with one educational activity to one of the coastally focused KIN sites, which include CCBER (Storke Wetlands), Coal Oil Point Reserve (COPR), and Arroyo Hondo Preserve. In addition, one follow-up classroom visit will be provided: KIN2 staff will work in small groups to complete the specially designed activities.
KIN2 will provide opportunities for teachers and students to explore the coast. We will:
• Update 18 activity boxes
• Provide funding for bus transportation for 20 5th grade teachers to bring their classes (approximately 600 students) to one of our coastal locations—Storke Wetlands, COPR and Arroyo Hondo.
• Provide funding for each classroom to receive one follow-up visit from the KIN2 staff to work through the post field-trip activities.
• Expand opportunities for UCSB students to serve as mentors through the KIN2 program.
• Professional development will be incorporated into each fieldtrip. The fieldtrip activities will be demonstrated to the teachers and students and each teacher will receive a reader, which will include the coastally focused NGSS lesson plans presented during the field-trips along with any supplemental materials.
• Promote the use of 18 previously developed coastally focused activity boxes es that accompany each fieldtrip. The KIN2 program will engage graduate and undergraduate students to serve as mentors for the 4-6th grade students. Along with other scientists, these UCSB students will provide engaging and challenging activities, structured lessons and supportive interactions
both in class and in the field. with lesson plans that are available for check out and use in all local classrooms.



Katja Seltmann                                                                     10/1/16-9/30/18                                                           112,749


The Institute of Museum and Library Services IMLS, MA-30-16-0387-16


Upgrade of the historical Wenner insect collection: Utilizing collection data in Restoration Ecology


The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), a center under the Office of Research at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), is requesting funds from IMLS to accomplish the two-year project “Upgrade of the historical Wenner insect collection: Utilizing collection data in restoration ecology.”

The Wenner insect collection represents an uncommon historical record of insects in endangered coastal California habitats. Dr. Adrian Wenner developed the collection as part of a UCSB general entomology course that he taught from 1961 until he retired in 1993. The majority of the specimens were collected on UCSB campus and the UCSB Natural Reserve System habitats; consequently, he created an important natural history archive that is valuable to ongoing regional ecological restoration research initiatives. In this project we propose to: 1) curate, barcode, image, database, and georeference the existing 9,000 insect specimens in the collection, 2) disseminate the information broadly to national and international specimen data resources, 3) develop an insect curation skills course as part of the already established and successful Curation of Natural History Collections course offered by CCBER, 4) create a manual on contemporary practices for curating and digitizing insect collections for small museums, and 5) provide workshops on insect identification and insect biodiversity.


The project will be devoted to the moving of the insects into new cabinets and taxonomic identification for reorganization of the collection; barcoding, imaging, and label transcription to database the specimens; and finding decimal geographical coordinates that match the specimen locality labels. Concurrent to these activities, we will develop and teach the Curation of Natural History Collections course on insect curation skills and recruit student interns to work in the collection. The course will be offered in winter quarter 2017 and fall quarter 2017. In winter quarter 2017 and 2018 we will provide two workshops on insect identification and biodiversity for CCBER restoration staff, UC Santa Barbara Natural Reserve System staff, and other interested university staff, faculty and students.



David Siegel     Norm Nelson     Stéphane Maritorena     3/1/15-2/28/20        735,329


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX15AE72G


North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystem Study (NAAMES)


The UCSB In Situ Ocean Optics & Ocean Color Modeling Team will support the NAAMES field project by: 1) making in situ ocean optics profiles of downwelling and upwelling spectral irradiance and upwelled radiance spectra at each daylight station during the four scheduled field deployments; 2) collecting and analyzing discrete water samples for inherent optical property determinations (cf., ag(λ), aph(λ), adet(λ)), 3) archiving reduced and quality-checked data within four months after each deployment; 4) develop, validated and implement next generation biooptical models for retrieving ocean properties using NAAMES radiance spectra determinations; 5) participating in project planning and science discussions and meetings; 6) conducting individual/collaborative data analyses to address project objectives; and 7) presenting results at national/international meetings and in peer-reviewed journals in accordance with project schedules.




David Siegel                                   7/7/14-7/6/18                                                       840,001


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NNX14AL94G


Plumes and Blooms: A Multi-Decadal Coastal Bio-Optical Time-series and Retrospective Data Analysis

The focus of the Plumes and Blooms (PnB) program is to understand, predict and utilize changes in ocean color in the complex coastal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC), California. The core element of the PnB program is the monthly, day-long sampling of 7 stations across the Santa Barbara Channel.  At each station, a full suite of bio-optical and oceanographic measurements is sampled and nearly 80 stations are completed each year. Coupled with the highly dynamic nature of the SBC, the PnB data are incredibly useful for answering coastal ocean color science questions and for validating satellite data products. PnB field observations started in 1996 and they have continued continuously to the present. 



David Siegel     James Allen                    9/1/15-8/31/18                                    105,000


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX15AN87H


Retrieval of Phytoplankton Size Distribution from Satellite Imagery


Knowledge about the size, composition, and distribution of particles in the global ocean has led to breakthroughs in understanding surface ecosystem dynamics as well as the ocean’s role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. Remote sensing has recently become a powerful tool for characterizing the global particle size distribution (PSD) and phytoplankton size composition on relevant spatiotemporal scales through the use of two distinct optical modeling approaches. Spectral backscattering models perform well in oligotrophic marine regions due to the lack of terrestrially derived particles, while spectral absorption models work well in productive regions due to their ability to key into the flattening of spectral absorption features in larger particles due to the package effect. However, these models often fail because they do not address the bio-optical complexity of the ocean. The proposed work will improve on current studies by developing a novel algorithm that merges PSD information from both particle backscattering and absorption spectra. These new models, as well as existing techniques, applied to remotely sensed imagery from SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua, and Suomi VIIRS will be validated with available PSD field data. This allows for a detailed analysis of model sensitivities to changes in input variables while providing the ability to reconcile phytoplankton vs. particle size distributions. The power law size distribution assumption will also be reassessed in favor of a two-component model made up of fine and coarse modes following approaches used by the atmospheric aerosol community. The proposed project supports the NASA Science Plan objective to “Study planet Earth from space to advance scientific understanding and societal needs”.



David Siegel                                      6/30/14-6/29/17                                                            223,248


Oregon State University, NS257A-A (NASA Flow-through)


MODIS-based phytoplankton carbon and photoacclimation: responses to climate variability


On this collaborative project, the focus of the UCSB work will be comparing the MODIS-Aqua particulate backscatter coefficient (bbp) retrievals with LIDAR-based retrievals bbp from the CALIOP lidar. The UCSB group will work with global data from two ocean color algorithms; the Garver, Siegel and Martiorena (GSM) model (Maritorena et al. 2002, 2010; Siegel et al. 2013) and the Quasi-Analytical Algorithm (QAA; Lee et al. 2002). In particular, we will make refinements to the Garver, Siegel and Martiorena (GSM) algorithm based upon these comparisons and will develop uncertainty estimates for the bbp retrievals.





David Siegel         Dylan Catlett                 9/1/16-8/31/18                                                               75,000


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX16AO44H


Linking Ocean Optical Properties with Marine Microbial Diversity Assessed by Next-Generation Sequencing


Understanding global patterns and distributions in marine microbial diversity is imperative in developing knowledge of global primary production, biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem structuring. Given the excessive time and cost required to study these distributions on significant temporal and spatial scales, developing the use of ocean color remote sensing as a means to monitor these distributions is of great interest to oceanographers. Thus, many efforts have been made to develop relationships between optical properties, such as remote sensing reflectance and spectral absorption and backscattering coefficients, and phytoplankton community structure, which is generally characterized in these efforts by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Recent advances in the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) as a taxonomic method have provided a new way to characterize microbial community structure and diversity in situ, but its utility in studies linking optical signatures with diversity has yet to be examined. The goal of the proposed research is to further elucidate the two-way linkage in in situ optical signatures and phytoplankton community structure and to develop a relationship between these optical signatures and the non-photosynthetic microbial community by employing a combination of HPLC and NGS. The proposed project addresses the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems science goal of NASA’s Earth Science Division to “detect and predict changes in Earth’s ecological and biogeochemical cycles, including land cover, biodiversity, and the global carbon cycle.”




David Siegel                                                               8/25/16-8/24/19                                               256,599


NASA Shared Services Center, NNX16AR49G


Data Mining Global Ocean Ecosystem & Carbon Cycling Observations for EXPORTS Planning & Synthesis


The biological carbon pump is thought to export ~10 Pg C each year from the surface ocean to ocean’s interior largely in the form of settling organic particles. The monitoring and prediction of global carbon export and time scales for its sequestration remain important unknowns of the ocean’s carbon cycle. To attack this problem, NASA is implementing the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) field campaign. The goal of EXPORTS is to gain a predictive understanding of the export and fates of global ocean net primary production (NPP). The EXPORTS Science Plan focuses on quantifying the pathways in which NPP is exported from the upper ocean and is sequestered at depth. The EXPORTS field campaign as planned will likely observe maybe eight distinct ecosystem / carbon cycling states; yet its plan is to answer its science questions by performing longitudinal analyses of observations made across a range of states. Unfortunately, the statistical confidence in these results may be quite poor as only a

small number of realizations may be afforded from the field program alone. The good news is that there are many sites where high quality ecosystem / carbon cycling observations are available from online repositories and literature accounts from previous and ongoing research programs. Because of the available of these data, the “data mining” of available observations is an integral part of the EXPORTS Science Plan and likely critical to its success.


Here, we propose a pilot study to assess how to address the EXPORTS Science Questions by “data mining” previous observations. Specifically, our proposed objectives are to…

• Collect and collate available global ocean ecosystem and carbon cycling field observations useful for addressing the EXPORTS Science Questions,

• Construct EXPORTS data products and “wiring diagrams” from available data and distribute and publish them for their wide use, and

• Evaluate the use of the mined data products for assessing the EXPORTS Science Questions and developing advanced satellite algorithms and numerical models.


Although the geographic focus for the collection of useful data is global, an emphasis will be made for assembling data from the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific sites that are the planned locations for the EXPORTS field campaign efforts. By completing the objectives of the proposed work, we will clearly contribute to the EXPORTS planning and risk reduction process conducted by the EXPORTS Science Definition Team. Our request responds to Sub-Element 2.2 (and to a lesser degree Sub-Element 2.3) in the 2015 ROSES Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program Element A3.



David Siegel   10/1/16-9/30/17           69,233


University of Connecticut, 137828 (EPA flow through)


Water Quality Monitoring Enhancements to Support the Hypoxia Management in Long Island Sound


Long Island Sound (LIS) is one of the largest urban estuaries in the world with highly diverse, physically dynamic and optically complex water. Variability in inherent and apparent optical properties, as well as biogeochemical properties such as sediment and chlorophyll concentrations, is exceptional across the region (Aurin et al. 2010, Aurin & Dierssen 2012). Recent research has shown that the waters are “optically complex” and other constituents besides phytoplankton play an important role in light absorption and scattering within the estuary. Namely, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and suspended sediment are flushed into the estuary from rivers and these substance serve to absorb considerable amounts of blue light (400-500 nm) and also backscatter light across the visible spectrum. Because of this optical complexity, the standard NASA open ocean algorithms for assessing chlorophyll are not intended to be used and are highly inaccurate. Semi-analytical models can be used to retrieve the absorption and backscattering properties of dissolved and suspended materials of coastal environments and Aurin et al. (2010) has already optimized a semi-analytical ocean color algorithm for the dynamic and optically complex LIS estuary. The model provides a means to estimate the contributions of absorption and backscattering coefficients of each component (cdom, nap, and phytoplankton) and these derived optical properties can then be used to estimate biogeochemical parameters such as total suspended material (TSM) and chlorophyll (Chl). This tuned model, however, has not yet been regularly applied to imagery from the current ocean color satellites NPP VIIRS, and MODIS Aqua and Terra. Because of the challenges in accurately retrieving biogeochemical propeties in complex estuaries, little work has been done assessing the spatial patterns of biomass and the relationships between temperature and chlorophyll in this region. This work aims to improve the standard satellite image processing to retrieve more accurate measures of phytoplankton biomass. With application of new algorithms, we are now poised to assess the long-term relationship between surface temperature and chlorophyll and begin to tackle questions related to how LIS has changed over the last 15 years in response to climate and anthropogenic forcings.



Alexander Simms                             1/1/13-8/31/16                                            100,000


American Chemical Society, 52790-ND8


Hyperpycnal Subaqueous Fans of the Northern Santa Barbara Channel, Central California, USA


The importance of hyperpycnal flows in cross-shelf transport of sand has only recently been widely recognized.  Attempts at creating a facies model for hyperpycnal flow deposits are based on either ancient examples where their presence can only be inferred from sedimentary characteristics or modern studies that sample the flows themselves but not necessarily their deposits.  The study of Quaternary systems bridges the gap between modern processes, which provide predictive metrics of sedimentary characteristics, and ancient deposits representing petroleum reservoirs.   The few existing Quaternary examples of deposits produced by hyperpycnal flows focus on the broad scale of deposition and rarely describe individual geomorphic features resulting from hyperpycnal flows.   A recent marine bathymetric survey of the northern Santa Barbara Channel continental shelf by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) revealed the presence of shallow-water submarine fans immediately offshore of several small mountainous streams.  Based on observations of modern discharges from these and similar systems in the northern Santa Barbara Channel, we hypothesis that these geomorphic features represent the deposits of hyperpycnal flows and dense bedload-dominated underflows emanating from steep mountain catchments.  The purpose of this proposal is to characterize these features using high-resolution seismic profiles, sediment grab samples, underwater camera operations, and shallow cores.  The characterization of these deposits will allow an evaluation of their potential for reservoir quality sands and provide one of the few modern examples of a subaqueous fan delta from a semi-arid setting. 



Alexander Simms     Ralph Archuleta          2/1/12-1/31/17                               56,700


University of Southern California – SCEC Y86552-L


SCEC4 Participation, Project L: Collaborative Research: Documentation of Tsunami Deposits in the Carpinteria and Goleta Slough Estuaries: A signal of Great Earthquakes on the Pitas Point


Large earthquakes and their associated tsunamis including recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Sumatra (2004) and Japan (2011) have brought into sharp focus the hazards associated with convergent margins. The Transverse Ranges is southern California’s version of a convergent margin and recent work between Ventura and Carpinteria has demonstrated that the Ventura Avenue Anticline (VAA) and associated Pitas Point – Ventura thrust have produced large uplift events. The amount of inferred uplift, on the order of 7-8 m per event, likely results in the production of a sizable tsunami along the Santa Barbara – Ventura County coastline, although until recently no one has looked for tsunami deposits in this region. Prior work in Carpinteria Salt Marsh has identified a potential tsunami layer and a stratigraphy suggesting the presence of subsidence events within the marsh.  In this coming year, we propose two primary tasks to test whether a coseismic subsidence signal is present and provide more support for a tsunami origin for the deposits. First, we will need to create a metric within Carpinteria Salt Marsh to test for sudden subsidence events.  This will be done by conducting a survey of modern microfossils (foraminifera and diatoms) in order to establish transfer functions for high-resolution sea-level index points to be used to quantify subsidence.  Second, we propose to duplicate this study in nearby Goleta Slough to determine if a similar record of proposed tsunami deposits is present.




Alexander Simms     Ralph Archuleta     2/1/12-1/31/17                                    12,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-T


SCEC4 Participation, Project T: Testing Model Predictions of Large Tsunamis Associated with Great Earthquakes on the Pitas Point Thrust using Ground-Penetrating Radar


Model predictions of motion along the Pitas Point Thrust-Ventura Avenue Anticline (PPT-VAA) call for tsunamis with peak amplitudes of 6-9 m along the Santa Barbara and Ventura coasts (Ryan et al., 2015; Kie Thio et al., 2014; and Lotto and Dunham, 2014; Fig. 1); amplitudes similar to the tsunami generated by the Tohoku-earthquake. However, the fault motion and geometry used as a source for these model predictions has been called into question (Nicholson et al., 2015). To date, evidence for such large tsunamis is lacking. However, the only viable archive along this coastline that has been examined is Carpinteria Slough, which appears to be undergoing large environmental shifts at the same time as the purported large earthquakes, potentially masking any potential tsunami deposits within the slough (Reynolds et al., 2015). Most of the coastline of the Santa Barbara Channel is marked by cliffs or sandy beaches, with very few marshes like Carpinteria Slough to preserve evidence for tsunami inundation. However recent work along other coastlines known to have experienced large tsunamis (>6 m) like those predicted to have struck the Santa Barbara Channel coast have shown that sandy beach ridges also provide a record of past tsunami inundation and erosion (Meyers et al., 1996; Gouramanis et al., 2015; Simms et al., 2015). The purpose of this project is to determine if such erosional surfaces can be found in Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) profiles along the coastal beach plain of Ventura and Oxnard, California. Their presence/absence provides a test for tsunamis hypothesized to have been created by earthquakes events along the PPT-VAA.



Michael Singer                                  1/1/13-12/31/16                                            96,466


National Science Foundation, EAR - 1226741


Collaborative Research: Establishing Process Links Between Streamflow, Sediment Transport/Storage, and Biogeochemical Processing of Mercury


This research effort is an investigation that ties together fluvial geomorphology and biogeochemistry in a manner that will a) identify critical locations in fluvial systems where the risk of mercury (Hg) input to food webs increases and b) elucidate the processes by which this occurs. The proposed research will develop new understanding of the interplay between hydrology, sediment transport/storage, and biogeochemistry. The project is designed so that this new knowledge can be generalized and readily transferred to a wide range of fluvial systems beset by sediment-adsorbed contaminants. The study will focus on the longitudinal (downstream) transport and biogeochemical processing of sediment-adsorbed Hg derived from hydraulic gold mining in the Sierra Nevada and mercury mining in the Coast Ranges within and through the Yuba-Feather-Sacramento River system of Northern California, USA. It will document the primary sources (Coast Range v. Sierra Nevada) of Hg contamination to lowland ecosystems in the Sacramento Valley and Bay-Delta and the relative contribution and risks of each. It will challenge conventional wisdom by assessing how Hg bioavailability changes along sediment transport pathways, irrespective of total Hg concentrations, and by identifying/quantifying the controlling processes at the intersection of sedimentation/inundation and biogeochemical modifications of Hg speciation. The proposed work will: 1) mathematically model flood inundation in river corridors to identify areas of high potential of oxidation/reduction; 2) identify preferential zones of sedimentation through numerical modeling of eventbased washload transport and interpret relative sediment deposit age via a detailed and spatially extensive library of sedimentary histories from prior work; 3) identify distinct contamination sources to lowlands by conducting Hg stable isotopic analysis of sediment; and 4) investigate Hg speciation and reactivity in conjunction with changes in Hg species isotopic signatures, associated with redox conditions, sediment source, and ambient chemistry.



Christopher Sorlien                         10/1/15-9/30/17                                            87,059


National Science Foundation, 1537719


Collaborative Research: The North Anatolian Fault system in the Marmara Sea, Turkey - Insights from the Plio-Quaternary evolution of a multi-stranded transform


A continental transform is expected to originate as a distributed network of small faults with complex geometries that, with continued slip, gradually coalesce and simplify into a through-going fault. The North Anatolian Fault (NAF), a young continental transform, has been proposed as a prime example of this process. In the Marmara Sea, however, the NAF splits into several branches and forms a transtensional basin. Most of the strain is associated with the Northern Branch, which spawned three 1200-m deep basins. It has been proposed that the strain is focusing on the Northern Branch and that the Central and Southern branches are being abandoned. However, recent multichannel, sparker, and chirp seismic reflection and multibeam bathymetry data demonstrate continued activity of the Central Branch. These new data collected in 2013 and 2014 image the stratigraphy and numerous individual fault strands on the southern shelf of the Marmara Sea. We will use these data, in combination with a large suite of available

previous data, to map the stratigraphy and faulting related to the Central Branch of the NAF. We propose to extend our published stratigraphic age model covering the past 0.5 Ma to greater depth and age. Earliest Pliocene fill of Messinian (~5 Ma) erosional valleys dated on land will be projected short distances to our near-shore reflection data to provide a base to the age model. Based on this stratigraphic framework, we will evaluate fault kinematics of many strands over the southern Marmara Sea during the last several million years. We will test the age model using sequence stratigraphic modeling. Basin modeling will be used to separate the effects of sediment loading, compaction and tectonic subsidence and test the extension




Christopher Sorlien     Bruce Luyendyk       1/1/14-12/31/17                          170,539


National Science Foundation, PLR-1341585


Subsidence, Tilting, Sedimentation, and Oligocene-middle Miocene paleo-depth of Ross Sea


It has been proposed that the Ross Embayment and much of West Antarctica was a high elevation plateau supported by thick crust before rifting commenced 104 Ma, and has extended and subsided since then. As extension waned towards the end of the Cretaceous (east) or the Paleogene (west), the Ross Embayment lithosphere continued to subside creating the proto Ross Sea. A seismic-stratigraphic and modeling study is proposed to address the transition from basement rock near and above sea level across most of the future Ross Sea region in early Cenozoic time, to sedimentation in shallow water by the end of Oligocene time and into the early Miocene. Paleo-depths and the nature of the sea floor/subaerial surface through time will be quantified, providing models for Oligocene-early Miocene paleo-topography and tests for hypotheses for extension in the Ross Embayment. This work affects modeling of West Antarctic ice volumes, including large early Miocene volume fluctuations.




Frank Spera                                     2/15/16-1/31/19                                          193,848


National Science Foundation, 1551056


Collaborative Research: Thermodynamics of magma mixing


We propose to utilize the Magma Chamber Simulator (MCS), a thermodynamic model that describes open system evolution of magma bodies subject to heat and matter exchange in a composite system to study the thermodynamics of multicomponent-multiphase magma mixing. MCS defines thermal, mass, and compositional (major/trace element and isotope) characteristics of melt ± minerals ± fluid phase in a magmatic system undergoing recharge (magma mixing), assimilation, and crystallization. The goals of our proposed work are to (1) Finalize MCS for general release to the petrologic community by early 2017 based upon feedback obtained from beta users in the last year. Streamlined input and output, automated trace element and isotope calculations, web-based tutorials, workshops, and YouTube videos will allow a spectrum of scholars to use MCS in their own studies. (2) Building on successful development of the exploratory (i.e., toy) binary eutectic model, develop three new toy models that sequentially incorporate known thermodynamic features of natural systems (peritectic, solid solution, ternary). These will provide insight into the thermodynamics of magma mixing. (3) Apply MCS to volcanic (Karymsky, Llaima) and plutonic (Kiglapait and Bushveld intrusions) suites that show indisputable evidence of magma mixing. (4) Extend MCS capabilities to include reaction of cumulates with magma melt, eruption, and the rhyolite MELTS H2O-CO2 solubility model. These new versions of MCS will be released. (5) Develop a magma mixing taxonomy by using toy and MCS results and observations from natural systems to identify and group dominant characteristics of mixed magma products and evaluate if these are associated with diagnostic initial conditions.



Jamison Steidl                                  5/1/15-9/29/17                                            526,333


Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC-HQ-60-15-C-0001


Observations and Analysis of Geotechnical Array Data


This project is to provide observations from the densely instrumented geotechnical array field sites associated with the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) monitoring program for use in confirmatory research and in the development of regulatory guidance at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These field sites, the Wildlife Liquefaction Array, the Borrego Valley Downhole Array, the Garner Valley Downhole Array, the Hollister Earthquake Observatory, the Seattle Liquefaction Array, and the Delaney Park Array, are geographically distributed throughout the most hazardous part of the United States, including three sites in southern California, one site in central California, one Pacific Northwest site in Seattle, and one site in Anchorage Alaska. The design objective of these sites was to capture the penultimate earthquake in each region and instrumental observations of the earthquake effects associated with such events. The broader objective is to capture a suite of earthquakes covering a range of ground motions and strain levels at each of these sites, to enable calibration of ground motion prediction models that include the effects of the near-surface geology from linear through nonlinear behavior. The California sites are operated solely by UCSB, while the Seattle and Anchorage sites are operated by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) respectively, with some assistance from UCSB. The data from all six of these facilities flows in real-time to UCSB and is disseminated along with the relevant metadata at the UCSB geotechnical array data portal ( Contributing to the development and validation of models for site response, liquefaction initiation, ground displacements and settlement, and soil-foundation-structure interaction effects, are the primary goals of this observation and analysis effort.





Jamison Steidl     Ralph Archuleta                2/1/15 – Fixed Price                                     30,000


University of Southern California, 10358789-A


SCEC4 Participation, Project P: SCEC Borehole Instrumentation Program


Portable Broadband Instrument Center (PBIC) will continue to support individual PI project driven deployments of the older style RefTek and the newer next generation real-time data acquisition systems. The new systems use commercial grade cellular VPN routers or other available Internet based telemetry that allows for continuous transmission of data back to the USGS/Caltech component of CISN. Ongoing projects using PBIC equipment include: real-time deployment of the PBIC stations along the Elsinore fault zone; array deployment of 10 RefTek stations at Pinon Flat to monitor potential tremor activity in the region; and use of the broadband CMG-40T sensors at stations in the Anza regional network.


In addition to support of field deployments, the PBIC project will continue to maintain the existing pool of older instruments including the long-term loan equipment from the IRIS PASSCAL instrument center and newly acquired RefTek 72A series instruments from the DOE. Heavy involvement of undergraduates is an important part of the PBIC operations as these student laboratory assistants perform the majority of the routine maintenance work under the supervision of the PI and/or engineering staff at the Earth Research Institute. These students also participate in deployments getting hands-on training in the use of the PBIC seismic monitoring equipment and software processing tools. Outreach demonstrations and presentations to local K-12 schools is also a regular activity for the PBIC and will continue.



Jamison Steidl      Ralph Archuleta   2/1/15-Fixed Price                                    18,000


University of Southern California, 10358789-B


SCEC4 Participation, Project Q: The SCEC Portable Broadband Instrument Center


The PBIC was established in 1991 by Prof. Ralph Archuleta through funding from SCEC to provide a "pool" of digital seismic recording equipment for use in post earthquake response and on individual PI driven research experiments within southern California. The PBIC is currently managed at the Earth Research Institute (ERI) by Dr. Jamison Steidl with support from undergraduate student laboratory assistants from the department of geological sciences and electrical and computer engineering.


The ability for SCEC to respond rapidly to a major southern California earthquake with the deployment of seismographs in the near-source region was a catalyst for the creation of the PBIC and is a critical asset of SCEC earthquake research community. This has been highlighted recently by the successful deployment of PBIC equipment in the 2010 El Mayor–Cucapah earthquake as well as the 2008 shakeout experiments along the southern San Andreas. Other PBIC successful RAMP deployments occurred in conjunction with the 2004 Parkfield and 2003 San Simeon earthquakes, as well as the four major earthquake sequences in the previous decade (1992 M6.1 Joshua Tree and M7.3 Landers, 1994 M6.7 Northridge, and 1999 M7.1 Hector Mine). The ability to conduct individual PI driven research experiments in between these major earthquake sequences using PBIC equipment is another very important asset. One of the main goals of the PBIC is to facilitate research in the earthquake community by providing readily accessible seismic monitoring stations for deployment in the southern California region.

This year, as we embark on SCEC4, the Portable Instrument Center is starting to upgrade the data acquisition technology to current real-time systems, capable of integrating directly with the SCSN operations. Over the course of SCEC3, using its two newer real-time stations, the PBIC has demonstrated the capability to deploy and integrate it’s stations into the regional network, providing high-quality observations that are being used for earthquake locations and shake map applications. These stations have proven to be dependable and require very little maintenance. The previous generation of SCEC portable equipment is now coming up on two decades of operations. This older equipment is no longer completely reliable or cost-effective to deploy, as it requires regular site visits and post-processing efforts. Data recovery is about 75% in the winter months and as low as 50% in the summer months due to the age of the equipment, and failure of the older SCSI hard drives in the warmer summer temperatures. This year equipment will be added to provide a third modern real-time station to be used by the SCEC community, as well as maintenance and operations of the other two currently deployed stations.




Jamison Steidl      Ralph Archuleta      2/1/12-1/31/17                                     116,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-A


SCEC4 Participation, Project A: SCEC Borehole Instrumentation Center


The SCEC borehole program continues to be a highly leveraged and collaborative effort between SCEC and other agencies to maintain the existing network of borehole stations in California and to facilitate the integration of this data into CISN and the SCEC data center. The borehole program is highly leveraged, taking advantage of the resources of other programs and agencies that are active in monitoring southern California earthquake activity. This data is made available online to the public and research community.


As has been the case for many years, joint monitoring efforts continue between SCEC and the US Geological Survey and Caltech through ANSS, NSMP, and CISN, and the California Geological Survey to maintain the existing network of borehole stations. Other collaborators include the NSF funded NEES and HPWREN programs, as well as an NSF funded project to image the San Jacinto Fault zone, which has been leveraged to include the installation of additional borehole sensors along the San Jacinto.


In 2012, the SCEC borehole program will continue to maintain the existing borehole stations in the southern California region, and also continue the collaborations with; the NEES program through processing and data dissemination of the SCEC borehole data; the SCEC/EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory borehole strainmeter program that includes pore pressure observations, and both weak- and strong-motion seismic monitoring in the Anza region; and the strong-motion borehole sensors being installed as part of a new NSF funded study of the San Jacinto fault zone.



Jamison Steidl      Ralph Archuleta           2/1/12-1/31/17                                  89,000


University of Southern California, Y86552-B


SCEC4 Participation, Project B: The SCEC Portable Broadband Instrument Center


The SCEC Portable Broadband Instrument Center (PBIC) was established to provide researchers in southern California with year-round access to a "pool" of portable seismic recording equipment. The PBIC maintains this equipment and also serves as a RAMP facility in the event of significant earthquakes. At other times PBIC equipment is used on projects related to SCEC science and data gathering goals.


Instrumentation consists of Quanterra 6-channel 24-bit data loggers and Kinemetrics 8-channel 24-bit data loggers, all with real-time capabilities through cellular or internet telemetry. Sensors consist of high output velocity transducers to record very small ground motion and force balance accelerometers designed to stay on-scale for the strong ground motion expected from very large earthquakes (up to +/- 2G). A broad dynamic range of recording is obtained by pairing both types of sensors with a single 6-channel recorder. These include Mark Products L4C-3D 1Hz velocity transducers, Guralp CMG 40T broadband sensors, and Kinemetrics FBA-EST accelerometers.




Jamison Steidl                                                                       7/1/16-6/30/17                                                 200,000


University of Southern California, 10456511


Central California Special Project: Temporary Seismic Deployment


This component of the Central California Special Project is to collect broadband (40 seconds to 100 Hz) seismic data from both ambient and earthquake sources in a temporary network of 50 stations. The goal is to provide additional data to improve our understanding of seismic hazard. In particular, improving our understanding of the crustal structure and path effects that affect the seismic hazard in the central California region.




Lisa Stratton                                    3/1/16-5/31/18                                              18,000


Santa Barbara Foundation, SB160074


Restoration of the Eastern Mesa Top at Campus Point Along the CA Coastal Trail


This project will restore the eastern mesa top at Campus Point along the CA Coastal Trail, at the top of recently constructed public access stairway. This high profile site provides educational and hands on opportunities for UCSB students, elementary school students and community members to participate and learn from this restoration of the degraded Campus Point coastal bluff site.



Lisa Stratton                                    10/1/12-9/30/17                                            54,800


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, F12AC00683


Recovery Activities for Nipomo Lupine


Lupinus nipomensis (Nipomo lupine) is a small annual plant in the pea family (Fabaceae). Historically and currently, the species is known only from the southwestern corner of San Luis Obispo County, California, scattered over an area of approximately 2 miles wide and 2 miles long. Lupinus nipomensis is restricted to one extended population of a few hundred individuals. The species is faced with a high risk of extinction due to the extremely low number of individuals and an intense degree of threats. The species may face extinction within the next 5 years.

To reduce the risk of extinction, we propose to implement the following recovery actions: Task 1: introduce populations to suitable habitat in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes region. Suitable habitat may include lands managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, California State Parks, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, and private lands; Task 2: conduct a seed bank analysis at the existing and historical occurrences, and Task 3: Undertake population enhancement though supplemental watering of existing occurrences.




Sangwon Suh                                                            7/15/14-6/30/18                                                           466,517


City University of New York (CUNY), 40E48-A (NSF Flow-through)


WSC-Category 3: A National Energy-Water System Assessment Framework (NEWS): Stage I Development


This effort focuses on the development of a multi-sector dynamic model for energy deployment, which will be integrated to energy-climate-water model to be developed by CUNY. The model should reflect technology development, and changes in energy demand over time considering both direct and indirect relationships between sectors of an economy.




Samuel Sweet                                   6/1/12-6/1/17                                                12,013


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, F12AC01020


Research and Restoration at Casmalia Landfill: Ecosystem Evaluation and Restoration for Species Recovery


The Casmalia Landfill Superfund Site is located approximately 10 miles southwest of the city of Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County, California.  The site was owned and operated by Casmalia Resources and accepted approximately 5.6 billion pounds of waste between 1973 and 1989.  Waste disposal units at the site included: 6 landfills for pesticides/solvents, metals, caustic/cyanides, acids, and non-liquid polychlorinated biphenyls; 43 surface impoundments; 15 evaporation pads; 2 non-hazardous waste spreading areas; 6 oil field spreading areas; 11 shallow injection wells; 7 disposal trenches; 1 drum burial unit; and 6 landfills.


The site supports five stormwater ponds that may serve as an attractive nuisance to wildlife.  The federally endangered California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and federally threatened Calfornia red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) have been detected at the site.  In 2001 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) entered into an agreement with EPA to extend a covenant not to sue for Natural Resource Damages to potentially responsible parties as part of a de minimis settlement.  The Service received $178,250 in settlement funds in exchange for the issuance of the covenant not to sue.  The Service intends to use these funds to conduct restoration that will benefit the California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, and other trust resources.


Biological surveys were conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s in support of EPA’s ecological risk assessment and remedial investigation.  Updated surveys are necessary in order to determine current usage of the site by our trust resources, and to best guide the use of the limited settlement dollars available to conduct restoration. 


The Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office proposes to use the requested funding to conduct surveys for the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander in strategic locations within the site and surrounding habitats to determine current usage of the site by these species.  Surveys for California red-legged frogs were previously conducted in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.  Surveys for California tiger salamanders were conducted in 2002/2003, and 2004/2005.  California red-legged frogs were detected in all survey efforts with the exception of 2004.  California tiger salamanders were detected during drift fence surveys in 2004/2005. 

Because California tiger salamander surveys have never been replicated at the site in the six years since the species was detected, and because the species is so acutely imperiled within Santa Barbara County, information about presence or absence of the species at the Casmalia Resources site would be invaluable.  In addition, previous surveys for California tiger salamanders established presence of metamorphosed individuals in upland habitat, but the extent of California tiger salamander breeding in aquatic resources at the site remains unknown.  The trend in observations of California red-legged frogs throughout the 1998 to 2004 study period demonstrated a rapid decline from over 50 individuals detected in 1998 to no individuals detected in 2003 or 2004.  The absence of California red-legged frogs in 2003 and 2004 is suspected to be associated with low water levels in the stormwater ponds due to pumping of water for the construction of a landfill cap, and increasing total dissolved solids (TDS) in the stormwater ponds.  The water level in all ponds is currently high relative to 2003/2004, however TDS remains high and the use of the ponds by California red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders is unknown.  It is likely that the high TDS is creating an attractive nuisance for the California tiger salamanders and California red-legged frogs attempting to breed at the site.  This project will evaluate the need for (through aquatic and upland surveys) and feasibility of, creating additional breeding ponds at the site to provide suitable breeding habitat away from areas with high TDS.  Ponds will subsequently be created as deemed appropriate and monitored in subsequent years.


The proposed surveys will assist the Service in providing technical assistance to EPA during the remedial process, and implementing restoration for the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander.  Updated information about the use of the site by California tiger salamanders and California red-legged frogs will support the Service’s effort to work with EPA in evaluating and selecting a remedy that would provide maximum habitat for trust resources and understand the use of the site be these species. The study will be conducted in phases to achieve the overall objectives of the study.



Samuel Sweet                                   6/1/09-Fixed Price                                       29,914


Department of the Air Force FA4610-09-P-0102


California Tiger Salamander Survey


This project will provide an updated inventory of California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense).   California tiger salamanders are known to occur off of VAFB along Hwy 246 and near Casmalia (Sweet pers comm.)  Surveys for CTS on VAFB in 2001 and 2003 were inconclusive because of the dry weather during the survey years.  During dry years, CTS may not emerge and breed in pools.


 In 2008, the habitat capability of pools for CTS were assessed by a member of the Recovery Team, Professor Samuel Sweet of the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Sweet assessed the pools based on ecological requirements of the species.  For pools to be suitable, they must remain wet for a prolonged period, long enough to develop a prey base for the larval CTS.  For pools to be occupied, they need to have surrounding habitat through which salamanders can disperse.  The probability of occupancy increases in pools within 2 miles of occupied habitat off base.  Suitable dispersal habitat needed microenvironments which were cool or shaded with gradual slopes down to the pools.  The surrounding area of the pools needed friable soils or burrows which could shelter adult CTS during the nonbreeding season or years. 


In 2008, hoop-net and seine net samples of pools were conducted after pools had been inundated for about a month.  No CTS were observed by these methods although samples were only taken once at each pool.  The pools with suitable dispersal habitat had drift nets and pittraps installed; the drift nets will channel approaching CTS towards the pit traps.  These traps were installed during the dry season and kept closed.  Coverboards were also placed in areas with suitable dispersal and breeding habitat.  Locations of coverboards and pools with driftnets were noted on GIS.


Also, in 2008, surveys near VAFB noted whether the introduced barred salamander were present.  Barred salamanders were noted in many areas, including the penitentiary pond and near Rucker Road next to La Purisima Mission.  The close proximity of the barred salamanders highlights the conservation concerns for CTS.  Barred salamanders may also be present on VAFB. 




Samuel Sweet         Christopher Evelyn      8/15/16-12/31/17                                            46,778


Department of Agriculture, 2016-CS-11052007-086


Conservation Status of California Amphibians and Reptiles


The purpose of this agreement is to compile all available data from literature, reports, museum records and other related information on each of the taxa.  Information to be included is on current and historic distributions with respect to National Forest lands, life history information, identified risks to their populations and habitat, dispersal capabilities, abundance within the Pacific Southwest Region, population and habitat trends, vulnerability of their habitats to degradation and loss, and life history and demographic conditions that relate to effective management of National Forest lands where each species occurs.




Naomi Tague     Sarah Anderson     Andrew Plantinga                                              

                                                           9/1/15-8/31/19                                         1,724,821


National Science Foundation, 1520847


Hazards SEES: Land Management Strategies for Confronting Risks and Consequences of Wildfire


A team consisting of natural scientists and social scientists from U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C. Extension, and U.W. Seattle proposes to identify land management strategies that will mitigate

the risk and the impacts of wildfires. Federal and state agencies apply fuel treatment techniques

such as thinning and controlled burns. Fuel treatments often generate unintended consequences

for humans and ecosystems because neither the agencies nor the research community fully understands the interactions among fire, vegetation, and ecosystem services. Furthermore, agency decision makers may make decisions about fuel treatments on the basis of economic and political dynamics, rather than on the basis of the best science. To assess the consequences of current fuel treatment decisions and facilitate alternative strategies, the proposing team will integrate an empirical socio-economic analysis of agency decision making with RHESSys, a premier physical model of the linkages between ecological and hydrological processes.




Naomi Tague                                    10/1/13-9/30/17                                          288,886


University of California, Merced, 1331939


Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory


The Southern Sierra CZO is a community platform for research on critical-zone processes along a steep elevation gradients that spans the rain-snow transition and ecosystems from the oak savannahs to subalpine forests in Southern Sierra Nevada. The characteristic spatial differences along these gradients offer the opportunity to substitute space for time, making the CZO an excellent natural laboratory for studying how critical-zone processes respond to perturbations. This project continues the previous 5 years of work at the Sierra CZO. The overarching goal is to use a combination of measurements and modeling to advance our mechanistic understanding of the bi-directional links between longtime-scale geophysical processes and ecosystem structure/function and material (water, carbon, nutrient) fluxes. This work addresses both fundamental science questions about how landscape structure and function coevolve and applied questions about how the critical zone influences ecosystems services and material fluxes and their sensitivity to intentional (land management) and unintentional (climate, disturbance land use) drivers of change.




Naomi Tague                                    4/1/11-3/31/17                                            410,984


Washington State University (Pullman, WA), 115320 G002931 (NSF Flow-through)


Collaborative Research: Type 2: Understanding Biogeochemical Cycling in the Context of Climate Variability Using a Regional Earth System Modeling Framework


One of the greatest science & engineering challenges of the 21st Century is managing nitrogen (N) in the environment to maximize agricultural productivity while minimizing negative environmental effects. Developing a clear understanding of climate & human-induced changes in environmental N cycling in tightly coupled atmospheric, terrestrial, & aquatic systems & understanding how these changes feed back into the climate system are critical to addressing this challenge. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW), the interactions among N, carbon (C), climate & human activities are complex. The region has extensive & diverse agricultural lands surrounded by pristine natural ecosystems, interspersed with heavily populated urban areas. The topography of the area is diverse, & the terrain is drained by extensive river systems, including the vast Columbia River Basin (CRB). Storm patterns are closely tied to the jet stream position & sensitive to long-term circulation patterns including the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) & Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO). Given this complexity, a challenge is to understand & quantify the interactions & feedbacks between N & C cycling in coupled atmospheric, terrestrial, & aquatic systems as they are affected by the climate system at inter-annual to decadal time-scales over the PNW region. The overarching goal of this project is to improve understanding of the interactions among C, N, & H2O at the regional scale in the context of global change to inform decision makers’ strategies regarding natural & agricultural resource management. The approach will create a regional modeling framework by integrating and/or linking a network of state-of-the-art process-based models that are currently in existence & that are undergoing continuous development & evaluation, & to do so in collaboration with stakeholders. The Bio-EASM framework includes: WRF for meteorology, CMAQ for atmospheric chemistry & transport, VIC for hydrology, CropSyst for agricultural dynamics, RHESSys for natural ecosystem dynamics, NEWS for aquatic nutrient transport & CREM for economic interactions. Subcontract PI is the principle developer of RHESSys. The subcontract allows PI expertise to integrate RHESSys within the EASM framework & contribute to application of the integrated modeling framework to improving understanding of environmental change. With this framework, UCSB will be involved in integration process: simulations in a series of steps with increasing model integration & coupling to address questions related to 1) how climate variability affects regional biogeochemical cycling with specific focus on N & C, 2) how do regional N & C cycles feed back to climate in terms of greenhouse gas fluxes in the context of landuse change & inter-annual variability, & 3) how do land use & agricultural production decisions affect the interactions of N, C & climate & how do these interactions interplay with economic drivers. PI will supervise a post-doctoral scholar who will work on the RHESSys evaluation for a series of focus study sites, & RHESSys integration into Bio-EAsSM. Evaluation of RHESSys will include set-up, calibration & sensitivity analysis of RHESSys carbon, nitrogen & hydrologic estimates at the focus study sites with particular emphasis on evaluation the nitrogen cycling component. UCSB will undertake any necessary refinements to RHESSys based on retrospective, site-specific analysis. PI will work with other PIs to decide on appropriate data sets for retrospective, & N-deposition & climate change scenarios for stand-alone RHESSys modeling, and will work with other PIs to develop papers on these off-line RHESSys model applications. PI will work with the other Bio-EaSM modelers to embed RHESSys within VIC & contribute to analysis of coupled modeled results; & will work with the Bio_EaSM team in the design & application of the fully coupled model & participate in developing papers, presentations & outreach.




Naomi Tague     Andrew Plantinga        7/1/15-7/31/16                                      74,366


University of Maryland, Z3708011 (NSF Flow-through)


Wildfire Management, Ecosystem Dynamics, and Climate: The Role of Risk Salience in Driving Ecological Outcomes


This project contributes to development of a new approach for examining the inter-connections between fire management actions (e.g. fuels treatments), fire risk and post-fire effects (e.g. risks to water resources and other ecosystem services). Salience theory, which predicts that management actions will be more responsive to salient wildfire events, will be used to guide data-driven analysis of previous public fire-management decisions. These results will then be linked to RHESSys, a spatial model of ecosystem dynamics, hydrology and fire risk. Results of this work are expected to improve understanding of wildfire risk and help land managers more effectively target limited management resources.



Naomi Tague                                    8/1/15-7/31/16                                              70,000


US Geological Survey, G15AC00359


The Western Mountain Initiative: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Western Mountain Ecosystems


U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Fort Collins Science Center solicits research on “Western Mountain Initiative - Central Rocky Mountains,” as part of the USGS integrated Western Mountain Initiative (WMI). The goal of this research is to increase process understanding explaining how hydrologic and ecosystem structure and function respond to climate variability and change, and land use/land cover changes in mountain environments in the Western US. Results from this work are communicated through peer-review publications, and through interactions with stakeholders - including land managers and the public. A key focus of this sub-proposal is the development of process-based spatial models as tools for both scenario generation and to integrate findings from field-based research by collaborators within the WMI initiative and elsewhere. Our ongoing model development with RHESSys (Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System) is made available to the larger science community through publically available code and regular training sessions.  


There is a long-standing collaborative partnership between USGS and University of California, Santa Barbara researchers to explore the effects of climate change on water resources, ecosystem structure and function, and disturbance regimes. Results contribute to improving understanding of how Western U.S. landscapes will respond to climate variation and change, and identifying key vulnerabilities and the consequences of land management options. For example, we have used model-based scenarios to quantify the contributions of underlying watershed geologic characteristics to the sensitivity of forest water use and streamflow to drought (e.g Tague and Peng, 2013). Our continued development of informatics tools provides improved techniques for assessing the impacts of thinning and fuel treatments on forest drought, fire risk, and water resources (eg. Tague et al., 2013). By providing a coupled eco-hydrologic perspective, our model scenarios provide information about the interactions among climate, forest management practices, and water resources that are needed for effective climate change adaptation planning. The connection with the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management’s professional Master’s program also provides an opportunity to communicate research findings to young environmental leaders and professionals. The Bren program is specifically designed to train environmental professionals for careers in environmental problem solving in government, industry, and non-profits, and has a very active outreach program to these societal groups.




Toshiro Tanimoto                            3/1/16-2/28/18                                            197,763


National Science Foundation, 1547523


Extreme Interaction Between Atmosphere and Solid Earth: Understanding the Forcing Mechanism by Hurricanes and its Application for Monitoring


Hurricanes generate strong ground motions in the solid earth that are one of the strongest cases of mechanical coupling between the atmosphere and the solid earth. This in turn suggests that seismic data may be used for monitoring the hurricane intensity, if its seismic-wave excitation mechanism could be understood. The Earthscope network unexpectedly recorded hurricane data in the last five years and exactly provide such information for understanding the atmosphere-land interaction. Our investigation on Hurricane Isaac (2012) has demonstrated that the Earthscope data do provide new important information on the seismic-wave excitation process. The primary goal of this project is to apply our current approach to other hurricanes from the Earthscope data and test the stochastic, seismic-wave excitation theory that has been developed. This knowledge will then be applied to monitoring the intensity changes of hurricanes while they are still in the oceans. If such a monitoring becomes possible, it may become a useful tool for hurricane-hazard mitigation.



Toshiro Tanimoto                            7/1/15-12/31/17                                            15,037


University of California, SB160023


Monitoring Hurricanes by the US and Mexican Seismic Networks


Developing a new approach for monitoring hurricanes would be quite useful for mitigating hurricane hazards in the US and Mexico. We propose to develop a new seismic approach for the dual purpose of (i) improving our understanding of the hurricane dynamics and (ii) developing a new monitoring methodology for predicting the intensity of incoming hurricanes so that warning may be issued.


We propose a new seismological approach because seismic networks that have become available in the United States and Mexico in the last 10 years now allow us to monitor hurricanes from seismic ground motions. The intensification of hurricanes is associated with strong pressure changes at the Earth’s surface that in turn lead to larger excitation of seismic ground motions. While progress by aircraft, radar and satellite observations in the atmospheric sciences has brought great progress to our understanding of hurricanes in the last 50 years, these seismic data will provide a fresh, new perspective because continuous streams of seismic data provide completely different views of a hurricane, views from the ground.


The first goal of this project is to improve our understanding of the hurricane dynamics. We plan to conduct this by extending our new seismological analysis to many more Atlantic hurricanes from the last 10 years, using data from the US and Mexico. We will focus on landfallen hurricanes that propagated through seismic networks. The primary scientific products will be (i) determination of the radius of the eyewall from the center of hurricanes and (ii) the changes in eyewall structure over time. They are unique results that provide new constraints on the hurricane dynamics.


The second goal is to develop a practical scheme to monitor the intensification of hurricanes by seismic data. This is useful for hazard mitigation, especially if the intensity changes can be monitored remotely, while a hurricane is still in the ocean. We will collect seismic data for past hurricanes and attempt to derive a practical scheme. This goal has implications to hurricane hazard mitigation as various forms of warnings may be issued based on the analysis.


We have done this line of work using seismic data only from the US so far. Addition of seismic data from the Mexican National Seismic Network will broaden the area of this study and is advantageous as some hurricanes hit Mexico before reaching the US. Our primary motivation for this project is the addition of the Mexican National Seismic Network data to the analysis and focus on studying hurricanes that pass through Mexico. We expect that there will be many features that we were not able to discover only with the US data.



Toshiro Tanimoto      Ralph Archuleta         2/1/13-10/30/16                             25,000


University of Southern California, 39073248


SCEC4 Participation, Project G: Modeling high-frequency seismic waves in Southern California


During the period 2/1/2013-1/31/2014, the PI, his student and his Japanese collaborator Dr. Taro Okamoto will perform waveform modeling of monochromatic high-frequency (1.12 Hz and 1.64 Hz) shaking data in the Los Angeles Basin. There were multiple sequences of shaking experiments that lasted 4-6 hours between 2000 and 2002 and were recorded by more than 100 stations in the regional seismic network. These data have not been modeled as the available computers were not fast enough to do modeling work until recently.


Through computer modeling, we will create a better attenuation model which will explain observed amplitudes on the average. We will also perform analyses, based on the adjointoperator approach, that will clarify the nature of seismic waves in the shaking wavefield. The wavefield is essentially a standing wavefield and should contain (equivalent) body waves and surface waves. This analysis will bring new information on the attenuation structure for highfrequency waves. We expect to learn how an attenuation model should be and how the SCEC CVM may need modifications. The two main goals of this project for the coming year will be:

1. Decipher the nature of harmonic signals and improve our understandings of high-frequency

wave propagation

2. Derive a better attenuation model that explains the shaking data.