Networking solutions to data-model coupling at the land-sea interface

Allison Myers-Pigg1, Nicholas D Ward2, Jerry Tagestad3, James Stegen4, David E Butman5, Charlette Anne Geffen6 and Vanessa Bailey6, (1)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory, Sequim, United States, (2)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Coastal Sciences Division, Richland, WA, United States, (3)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Earth Systems Science Division, Richland, United States, (4)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, United States, (5)University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, (6)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, United States
Systems at the land-sea interface – such as tidal rivers, streams, estuaries, marshes and deltas – experience a broad range of physiochemical and biogeochemical processes, encounter a myriad of compounding disturbances, and span traditional delineations of ecosystems and scales. As such, identifying and incorporating relevant processes into Earth System Models is a challenge due to the range in system sizes and disciplinary boundaries these interfaces span. Identifying and prioritizing measurements and observations from these interfaces in ways that enable the integration and inclusion of these under-represented ecosystems into predictive models should be a focus area for collaborative effort. One of the major challenges in accurate representation of coastal ecosystems and processes in contemporary models is the classification of terrestrial-aquatic interface ecosystem types on regional and continental scales. While the majority of existing data-model synthesis efforts occur in a select number of larger systems, we show that coastal fluvial systems are dominated by low-order streams, which will be disproportionately influenced by anticipated sea level rise. For example, our analyses suggest that 66% of tidal stream length in the conterminous US is from 1st to 3rd order streams and that 1m sea level rise will eliminate 17% of the current length of US tidal rivers.

Process-level understanding of biogeochemical cycling across such systems is understudied and undersynthesized. As such, continental-scale environmental sampling and experimental networks, responsible for collection of baseline data vital for modeling efforts, is fragmented in coastal systems. A large proportion of current observational networks contain at least one coastal monitoring site, yet only a fraction explicitly combine such efforts across scales relevant to data-model integration. We advocate for an integrated conceptual framework and approach capable of addressing observational data needs for comprehensive modeling and upscaling biogeochemical processes at the land-sea interface. Here we present a conceptual framework informed by post hoc analysis of ongoing continental scale observational efforts relevant to the validation and calibration of coupled inland-coastal models.