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ISMC News Sept 15 2023

Announcements + Featured Paper + Featured Soil Modeller
1. Announcements 
Program for the ISMC international conference May 6th to 11th 2024 at Tianjin University China now available
The 4th international ISMC conference will be held the first week of  (6th to 11th)  May 2024 at Tianjin University China. The program information can be found here and registration will be opened soon.
Online Food for thought sessions of the Summer School “Working with Dynamic Soil Crop Models” September 17th to 22th 2023 
The Summer School “Working with Dynamic Soil Crop Models” organized by the University of Kassel and Bayreuth and sponsored by ISMC is delighted to announce a special session featuring distinguished guest speakers from the scientific field of Soil Crop modelling, aimed at enriching the students of the course and our academic community with insights and expertise. The session will be an excellent opportunity for all of us to engage in thought provoking discussions and gain valuable knowledge from esteemed professionals. All the talks will be broadcasted online via zoom (join all presentations through this zoom link).
Detailed Schedule
1. Monday,18th of September, 12:00 12:30 CET
Dr. Peter Thorburn (CSIRO, Australia)
Title: Can insurance help farmers mitigate nitrogen pollution from intensive cropping?
2. Monday,18th of September, 13:30 13:45 CET
Prof. Dr. Martine van den Ploeg ( Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
Title: Presentation of the ISMC community
3. Monday,18th of September, 13:45 14:15 CET
Dr . Stanislav Schymanski (Luxembourg National Research Fund, Luxemburg
Title: Good science is open science.
4. Tuesday, 19th of September, 16:30 17:15 CET
Prof. Dr. Bruno Basso (Michigan State University, USA )
Digital Agriculture to design and scale climate smart practices
5. Wednesday, 20th of September, 09:00 09:30 CET
Prof. Dr. Nicholas Jarvis (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)
Title: “Improved descriptions of soil hydrology in crop models: The elephant in the
6. Wednesday, 20th of September, 17:00 18:00 CET
Dr. Jonas Jägermeyer (NASA, USA )
Title : Climate change impacts in global agriculture
7. Friday, 22nd of September, 13:30 14:15
Prof. Dr. Ioannis Athanasiadis (Wageningen University, The Netherlands )
Title: Mixing machine learning and crop models experiences for yield forecasting”
Nomination for ISMC awards now open
Nomination for the Rien van Genuchten Award for advanced modeling of soil processes, the ISMC Early Career Award and the ISMC publication award 2024 is now open. Nominations are directed to the ISMC coordination office for registration until 1 November 2023.
The biennial Rien van Genuchten Award is issued for outstanding contributions to the understanding of flow and transport processes in soils. It is dedicated to recognizing outstanding scientific achievements made by well-established researchers in the field of soil and vadose zone sciences.
The ISMC Early Career Award is issued biennial for outstanding scientific achievements made by early career researchers in the field of soil and vadose zone sciences.
The ISMC Publication Award is issued to honor an outstanding paper that will likely make a significant impact in soil systems modeling, consistent with the mission of ISMC.
Successful workshop on “How to collaborate: running unfunded working groups to get research done”
Friday 1 September 2023 Kathe Todd-Brown from the University of Florida ran an online workshop “How to collaborate: running unfunded working groups to get research done” hosted by the International Soil Modeling Consortium. Around 20 colleagues participated in this workshop which focused on templates to support group collaborations and tips on approaching sticky facilitation challenges.
You can find the slides here:  We have very positive feedback on the workshop and plan to offer followup workshops in the future on topics like group decision making models, practical development of guidance documents for specific groups, and integrating group decision making into larger organizations.
2. Featured Paper
Do you want your paper featured?
Please share your recent paper if you want to be featured in the ISMC newsletter. With your contributions, we will select one paper to be featured in every newsletter. Submission can be done here.
The Large-Scale Hydraulic Conductivity for Gravitational Fingering Flow in Unsaturated Homogenous Porous Media: A Review and Further Discussion
Gravitational fingering often occurs for water flow in unsaturated porous media. This paper reviews a recent effort in developing a macroscopic theory to describe the gravitational fingering flow of water in homogeneous and unsaturated soils, based on the optimality principle that water flows in unsaturated soils in such a manner that the generated flow patterns correspond to the minimum global flow resistance. The key difference between the new theory and the conventional unsaturated flow theories is that the hydraulic conductivity in the new theory is not only related to water saturation or capillary pressure, but also proportional to a power function of water flux, because the water flux is closely related to the fingering flow patterns and the power function allows for large hydraulic conductivities at locations where water fluxes are large as well to minimize the global flow resistance. The resultant relationship for the fraction of fingering flow zone is compared with that obtained from a parallel effort based on the fractal nature of fingering flow patterns.  
The relationships from the two efforts are found to be essentially identical for gravity-dominated water flow in unsaturated soils and can both be expressed as a power function of the water saturation. This work also demonstrates that the theoretical values for the exponent of the power function vary in a relatively narrow range between 0.75 and 0.80 for most soils, which is supported by observations from previous field tests. This remarkable finding makes it easy to apply the new theory to field sites where experimental data are not readily available for estimating the exponent value. The potential limitations of the theory and the suggested future research topics in the area are also discussed.
For further reading:
3. Featured Soil Modeller
Featured Soil Modeller (Athanasios Paschalis)
Modeling of soil - plant interactions
Athanasios Paschalis is a senior lecturer (Associate Professor) in hydrology at Imperial College London. He studied Civil Engineering in the National Technical University of Athens and did his PhD in Hydrology at the Institute of Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich. Prior to his current appointment he worked as a researcher at Duke University and at the University of Southampton.
- Please tell us briefly about yourself and your research interest.
My expertise is in developing mathematical models for ecohydrological applications. I am interested in understanding and modelling ecosystem responses to climate change, focusing on the interplays between the water and carbon cycles, from catchment to global scales. In my group we are working on multiple aspects of soil plant interactions, including forest and crop responses to climate change, as well as negative emission technologies including re(a)forestation and enhanced rock weathering.
-  How did you first become interested in soil modelling and learn about ISMC?
My interest in soil modelling started after my PhD, when I switched my research focus from developing stochastic weather generators for hydrological applications to physics based hydrological and ecohydrological modelling. The uncertainties and knowledge gaps regarding the water and carbon cycles in the soil fascinated me. I had the pleasure to participate in ISMC after an invitation of Prof Bonetti (EPFL) following our collaboration in a project quantifying the importance of pedotransfer function on ecosystem dynamics.
-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
My current research focuses on model development of ecosystem dynamics, linking hydrological processes to vegetation dynamics and soil biochemical processes. All our modeling results are published as open source freely available to ISMC scientists, stimulating further collaborations and research initiatives.
-Please tell us how can ISMC help you advance in your career?
I think ISMC offers great opportunities to connect with other soil modellers. Currently, I participate in the Pedotransfer functions and land surface parameterization.
- 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?
I would recommend a skill-set balanced between process understanding, physics, biology mathematics and programming. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of ISMC related research, an essential skill is communication across disciplines, bringing together experimentalists and modelers.
ISMC can help early career research by connecting them with established academics and researchers in multiple fields linked to environmental and soil science. Activities within ISMC can include collaborative model development, model intercomparisons, as well as data sharing that can advance our fundamental process understanding and model development capabilities.
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