Geospatial Science and Technology for Understanding the Complexities of the Critical Zone
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The Critical Zone is undergoing constant change due to climatic, lithospheric, and anthropogenic forcing factors. It is widely recognized that an integrated multidisciplinary approach to studying the Critical Zone is required to identify key variables, characterize process mechanics, study scale dependencies, and model various system dynamics. Geospatial technologies that include the fields of remote sensing, geomorphometry, and geocomputation will play an ever increasing role in studying the highly coupled complex systems of the Critical Zone. We provide fundamental background information on the role of geospatial technology for data collection, information extraction, and numerical modeling of landscape conditions; present a new spatio-temporal surface irradiance model, and highlight the use of a geocomputational approach that represents expert knowledge; integrates surface biophysical and topographic information, and provides a framework for studying landscape-subsurface relationships. Our results demonstrate the significance of geospatial technologies for the study and prediction of parameters and concepts that characterize the complexities of the Critical Zone. 2015 Elsevier B.V.