You are here: Home / News / Meetings - Reports - Publications / ISMC News 26th Apr. 2021

ISMC News 26th Apr. 2021

Soil Thermal Properties + Annual Report + Featured Soil Modeller


Soil Thermal Proporties Data

Call for Contribution to Soil Thermal Properties Data Base

We are seeking your support in compiling a dataset of globally distributed soil thermal properties, ideally combined with hydraulic properties, if available.
This dataset would serve to support development and verification of models simulating thermal properties, by both existing and novel approaches.

For the direct contact, write to:

Anne Verhoef (University of Reading, United Kingdom,
Yijian Zeng (University of Twente, Netherlands,
Hailong He (Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China,
Nan Wei (Sun Yat‐sen University, Guangzhou, China,
Yongjiu Dai  (Sun Yat‐sen University, Guangzhou, China,


For a first hand look, you want to check out the Full Call as PDF and/or the sample excel sheet for data submission.


ISMC Annual Report 2020

The ISMC Annual Report 2020 is just published!

You want to download it here:

BIG THANKS! to all contributed to the year 2020 activities!



ISMC Conference Registration deadline approaching

Expose yourself to more than 80 presentations of soil modeling.

Get in touch with the authors in highly interactive sessions.

Register now: LINK


Featured Soil Modeller

Mechanistic terrestrial biosphere models to address interdisciplinary questions in soil science

Simone Fatichi received a joint International Ph.D. from University of Firenze (Italy) and T.U. Braunschweig (Germany), he subsequently worked as Research Associate and Lecturer at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and he is currently an Associate Professor at National University of Singapore (Singapore). He is by training an environmental engineer and hydrologist but he has been working on various topics including ecohydrology, biogeoscience, soil physics, and climate change impact analyses.

- Please tell us briefly about yourself and your research interest.

My research aims at combining topics of hydrology, forest ecology, soil biogeochemistry and plant physiology, across a range of spatial and temporal scales using computing methods. More specifically, my research interests range from distributed ecohydrological modeling, modeling of plant physiological processes and tree-leaf hydraulic, modeling of soil biogeochemistry and nutrient dynamics, weather generators and stochastic hydro-meteorological forcing realizations, downscaling techniques to study climate change impacts and uncertainties, to arrive to more general questions related to global change and its interaction with water and soil resources, carbon cycle, and ecosystem services.

-  How did you first become interested in soil modelling and learn about ISMC?

Being trained as hydrologist, modelling of soil hydraulic processes has been always at the forefront of my interests. However, the attention for biophysical dynamics occurring in the soil has been strongly reinforced few years ago when I realized the central importance that microbial mediated soil biogeochemical transformations have in controlling plant mineral nutrition and ultimately the long-term dynamics of the carbon cycle. Numerous conversations with Prof. Dani Or at ETH Zurich, who introduced me to the ISMC and its activities a few years ago, also helped in getting a broader vision about the soil modelling topics.    

-Can you share with us your current research focus? And, please tell us briefly how your research could contribute to ISMC Science Panel’s activities

In the last decade, I have been developing a novel terrestrial biosphere model T&C1, which simulates energy, water, and elements budgets of terrestrial ecosystems and it resolves the physiological cycle of plants, representing different carbon and nutrient compartments. The model can also simulate distributed domains accounting for topographic effects in controlling incoming radiation and lateral water transfers2. The use of such a model allowed tackling scientific questions about global change and the future of water and carbon resources where complex non-linear interactions between hydrological, soil, and vegetation dynamics are at play3. The latest model version includes a soil biogeochemistry module4 that can be used for conducting virtual experiments to systematically study the effects of environmental variables on soil microbial dynamics, carbon storage, plant growth, and nutrient leaching. The application of such a mechanistic model can expand understanding of belowground soil biogeochemical responses to environmental changes, which are critical for a wide range of ecosystem services. Tools as T&C can contribute to ISMC panel activities by providing advanced modelling capabilities necessary to transfer the impacts of soil processes at the ecosystem or regional scale and to quantify their effects on water and carbon cycles5. These models can further represent the starting point to develop or include new soil physical and biogeochemical components.

-Please tell us how can ISMC help you advance in your career?

Principles of soil science and modeling of soil processes are fundamental for developing knowledge in hydrology and terrestrial ecology among others. Belowground processes are inherently difficult to observe but soil physical and biogeochemical responses to environmental changes are critical for a wide range of ecosystem services in the present and even more so in the future. ISMC role in linking together different colleagues and topics under the same consortium is invaluable and ISMC will surely continue providing the right venue to discuss and ameliorate the modelling of soil processes and in stimulating the development of multidisciplinary integrated models, which will help the careers of many scientists.

- What resources or skills would you recommend that early career members of ISMC should acquire? And how can ISMC help and support early career members in this regard?

ISMC is already supporting early career members by organizing workshops, conferences, and other events that enlarge and reinforce the network of scientists interested in soil modeling. I think organization of topical summer and winter schools may further benefit early career scientists in terms of acquired knowledge and possibility of networking with other early career researchers as well as established scientists. If anything, I would recommend students and early career members to look at models not merely as tools to answer specific questions but as a repository of knowledge built across years, which often summarizes in their structure and relation among variables the current understanding about a topic. Models are platforms upon which new knowledge can be built and they provide a continuous legacy, as the code typically persists longer than the applications, which are conducted with it. In this regard, acquiring technical knowledge necessary to understand, modify, and implement models is and will remain essential in the future.



  1. Fatichi S., and C. Pappas (2017). Constrained variability of modeled T:ET ratio across biomes. Geophysical Research Letters. 44(13), 6795-6803, doi:10.1002/2017GL074041.
  2. Mastrotheodoros T., C. Pappas, P. Molnar, P. Burlando, G. Manoli, J. Parajka, R. Rigon, B. Szeles, M. Bottazzi, P. Hadjidoukas, and S. Fatichi (2020). More green and less blue water in the Alps during warmer summers. Nature Climate Change 10 155-161, doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0676-5.
  3. Fatichi S., D. Or, R. Walko, H. Vereecken, M. H. Young, T. Ghezzehei, T. Hengl, S. Kollet, N. Agam, R. Avissar (2020). Soil structure – an important omission in Earth System Models. Nature Communications 11, 522, doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14411-z
  4. Fatichi S., S. Manzoni, D. Or, A. Paschalis (2019). A mechanistic model of microbially mediated soil biogeochemical processes - a reality check. Global Biogeochemical Cycles  33(6), 620-648,
  5. Yu L., S. Fatichi, Y. Zeng, and Z. Su (2020). The role of vadose zone physics in the ecohydrological response of a Tibetan meadow to freeze–thaw cycles. The Cryosphere, 14, 4653-4673,




News Archive

Looking for older announcements?
Visit the archive here.

This is Pacific Theme