During geologic spans of time, Earth's shifting tectonic plates, atmosphere, freezing water, thawing ice, flowing rivers, and evolving life have shaped Earth's surface features. The resulting hills, mountains, valleys, and plains shelter ecosystems that interact with all life and provide a record of Earth surface processes that extend back through Earth's history. Despite rapidly growing scientific knowledge of Earth surface interactions, and the increasing availability of new monitoring technologies, there is still little understanding of how these processes generate and degrade landscapes.
Landscapes on the Edge identifies nine grand challenges in this emerging field of study and proposes four high-priority research initiatives. The book poses questions about how our planet's past can tell us about its future, how landscapes record climate and tectonics, and how Earth surface science can contribute to developing a sustainable living surface for future generations.
National Research Council. 2010. Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth's Surface. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12700.
|1 The Importance of Earth Surface Processes||13-34|
|2 Grand Challenges in Earth Surface Processes||35-108|
|3 Four High-Priority Research Initiatives in Earth Surface Processes||109-118|
|4 Mechanisms for Developing Initiatives and Sustaining Growth in Earth Surface Processes||119-132|
|Appendix A: Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff||139-144|
|Appendix B: Community Input||145-148|
|Appendix C: Observing and Measuring Earth Surface Processes||149-154|
|Appendix D: Achievements in Earth Surface Processes||155-160|
|Appendix E: List of Acronyms||161-164|
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Chemical, physical, biotic, and human processes constantly reshape Earth's surface from particles to continents. These processes form a complex network of interactions and feedbacks, but these interplays are not well understood, and challenging questions face science and society: How did Earth surface processes interact to create the landscapes of today? How will changing processes shape Earth's surface in coming years? In this new video, Dr. Dorothy Merritts describes the research agenda laid out in the recent National Research Council report Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth's Surface.
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