About the Technical Committee

The unsaturated (or vadose) zone is critical in the partitioning of incident precipitation into run-off, storage, recharge, or evaporation. It is also the zone mainly impacting agricultural operations. The Unsaturated Zone Technical Committee works towards synergizing research activities on the various topics related to the unsaturated zone, and to highlight key issues, solutions, results, and researchers.

The unsaturated zone (UZ) community has been focused on the fundamental processes that govern flow and transport processes in the vadose zone and their engineering applications. Increasingly, we realize that these processes play a vital role in regulating subsurface biological and geochemical dynamics as well as land-surface processes. Therefore, the community has endeavored to form tighter partnerships with bio-geo-sciences and atmospheric and climate science in addressing contemporary challenges in water, climate, and food. Three critical questions that are of relevance to UZ are: 

  1. How do small-scale processes and heterogeneities in the unsaturated zone influence and regulate fluxes within and across the UZ across multiple spatial and temporal scales?
  2. How do resiliency and thresholds of UZ processes respond to anthropogenic disturbances, and how do they vary across climates, biomes, and geological settings?
  3. How can we harness the full potential of rapid advances in data science as well as communication and measurement technologies in developing predictions and decision support tools that benefit society?