Soils Processes and Critical Zone Technical Committee

Mission statement

The Soils Processes and Critical Zone Technical Committee promotes the understanding of soils at the interface of biogeochemistry, critical zone science, and hydrology within AGU.


Soil as a compartment of the biosphere and as a scientific discipline is involved in most global challenges including climate change, food security, energy, water resources, and ecosystem functioning. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of soils studies, no single section in AGU holistically integrates the interests and professional preparation of current and future students, or fosters vibrant soil science discipline.

The activities of the “Soil and Critical Zone Technical Committee” will broaden understanding of critical functions and ecosystem services of soils in Earth Systems, integrate the interests of soils across AGU sections, and provide context for the following key roles of soil:

  • Soil is a functioning, complex natural system with unique characteristics that cannot be deduced from a collection of its constituents or individual processes.
  • Soil is the most biologically active compartment of the biosphere, hosting Earth’s largest pool of biodiversity.
  • Soil is a thin film of life covering much of the terrestrial surface and acting as the planet’s life support system; mineral weathering in soils controls nutrient release and occlusion.
  • Soil, with its related biota, is Earth’s recycling system, providing most of our needs for food, feed, fiber, and energy, while forming a global biogeochemical cycle of C, N, and P and serving as the largest terrestrial stock of organic carbon.
  • Soil provides essential ecosystem services such as provision of fresh and clean water, essential for human primary needs of drinking water and food production, and functions as a water purification system.


    To further this goal. This committee will act as an interface between sections by:

    • Organize sessions
      • at AGU Fall Meeting (focused on SWIRL sections)
      • soil sessions in AGU spin off meetings
      • Other special symposia, workshops, and/or special meetings (e.g., Chapman conferences) related to soil processes
    • Promote soil activities across
      • Professional societies including: European Geophysical Union, Earth Science Information Partnership, International Soil Modeling Consortium, International Soil Carbon Network, Soil Science Society of America, Geological Society of America, Goldschmidt, Gordon Conferences
      • Other institutions (ie universities)

      Ways to become involved

      • Join the TC logistical calls
      • Contribute to the newsletter
      • Help curate soils sessions for AGU Fall Meeting
      • Organization of networking events - AGU social

      Committee Members

        • Kathe Todd-Brown - Chair (University of Florida)
        • Umakant Mishra - Outgoing Chair (Sandia National Laboratories)
        • Binayak Mohanty (Texas A&M University)
        • Michael Young (University of Texas, Austin)
        • Ester Sztein (National Academy of Sciences)
        • Dani Or (Desert Research Institute)
        • Alfred Hartemink (University of Wisconsin Madison)
        • Rose Abramoff (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement)
        • Kathleen Lohse (Idaho State University)
        • Salvatore Calabrese (Texas A&M University)
        • Jingyi Huang (University of Wisconsin-Madison)