Project Profile: INTERACTION

Integrated Assessment of Climate Impacts on Ecosystem Functions and Productivity of Critical-Zone Eco-Hydrology


Principal Investigators: Davide Cammarano, Purdue University, USA
Partners: Chefi Triki, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar
Giuseppe Passarella, National Research Council, Italy
Mohammed Selmi, Kahramaa, Qatar
Sponsors: National Research Council, Italy
National Science Foundation, United States
Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar


Full Project Title: Integrated Assessment of Climate Impacts on Ecosystem Functions and Productivity of Critical-Zone Eco-Hydrology
Full Call Title: Soils2020


Project Objective: In semi-arid regions, coastal aquifers are extremely vulnerable because of high population density and groundwater use for production activities and touristic flow. Seawater intrusion, amplified by climate change and sea level rise, causes groundwater quality degradation and salinization of agricultural soils, reducing their quality. In addition, it causes changes in coastal wetlands, altering critical functions to safeguard biodiversity. Limited knowledge of the long-term impacts of human activities also hampers the sustainable management of coastal areas. Approaches considering system-wide interactions of physical, anthropogenic, and socio-economic factors offer holistic solutions to sustainability challenges in water-scarce coastal areas. Climate change, vadose zone, surface and ground-water, and human activities are often studied individually, without investigating their multiple and non-linear interactions as inter-dependent systems. Understanding the interactions among these factors helps defining pathways to pursue sustainability of water-scarce water soil systems (defined as Water-Scarce Critical Zone or WSCZ). This project will lay foundations for an integrated analysis framework aimed to appraise the human and climate induced impacts on coastal WSCZ systems in semi-arid areas of southern Italy, California (USA),and Qatar. The proposed framework is crucial to sustain coastal economies while mitigating their long-term environmental footprints. It develops actionable knowledge on WSCZ sustainability via multi-disciplinary and integrative stakeholders' narratives, including socio-economic components, bio-geochemical, geophysical, and hydro-geological data, vegetation-soil-atmosphere and economic modelling. The expected project's outcomes are: i) innovative and integrated assessment framework of current and future climate and socio-economic impacts on groundwater; ii) participatory scenarios development for sustainable WSCZ management, and; iii) guidelines to draw policies and incentives to enhance the long-term economic and environmental quality WSCZ.
Call Objective: The goal of this CRA is to produce the necessary knowledge and propose solutions to maintain well-functioning soils and groundwater systems in the Critical Zone1, or rehabilitate them where degraded, through:

1. Better understanding of the long- and shorter-time dynamics and functions of soils and groundwater, impacts from societal (including economics) decisions, integrative management practices, public policies, and how these systems have been transformed; and,

2. Providing avenues, pathways, and narratives toward transformation of management practices of the whole soil and groundwater systems through a fundamental shift of socio-economic actors’ practices and related-decisions making processes.


Regions: Asia, Europe, North America
Countries: Italy, Qatar, United States of America (USA)


Duration: 36 months
Call Date: 2020
Project Award Date: 2021