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OZCAR: the French network of Critical Zone Observatories

Gaillardet, Jerome and Braud, Isabelle and Gandois, Laure and Probst, Anne and Probst, Jean-Luc and Sanchez-Pérez, José Miguel and Simeoni-Sauvage, Sabine OZCAR: the French network of Critical Zone Observatories. (2018) Vadose Zone Journal, 17 (1). 1-24. ISSN 1539-1663

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.2136/vzj2018.04.0067


This paper presents the French Critical Zone initiative, called OZCAR (Observatoires de la Zone Critique –Application et Recherche – Critical Zone Observatories – Application and Research), a National Research Infrastructure (RI). OZCAR-RI is a network of instrumented sites, organized in 21 pre-existing research observatories, or observation services, and monitoring over the long term, different compartments of the zone situated between “the rock and the sky”, the Earth’s skin or critical Zone (CZ). These observatories are regionally-based and all have their individual initial scientific questions, monitoring strategies, databases and modeling activities. The diversity of OZCAR-RI observatories and sites is well representative of the heterogeneity of the Critical Zone and of the scientific communities studying it. Despite this diversity, all OZCAR-RI sites share a main overarching scientific question, which is: how to monitor, understand and predict (“earthcast”) the fluxes of water, solutes, gases and sediments of the Earth’s near surface and how they will change in response to the “new climatic regime” (climate change, land use and land cover changes). We describe in this paper a vision for OZCAR strategic development in the next decade, aiming at designing an open infrastructure, building a national CZ community able to share a common and systemic representation of CZ dynamics, and educating a new generation of scientists more apt to tackle the wicked problem of the Anthropocene. We propose to articulate OZCAR around the following main points: i) a set of common scientific questions and cross-cutting scientific activities using the wealth of OZCAR-RI observatories along gradients and the diverse disciplines, ii) an ambitious instrumental development program, iii) a better interaction between data and models as a way of integrating the different time and spatial scales as well as fostering dialogue between communities. At the international level, OZCAR-RI aimed at strengthening the CZ community by providing a model of organization for pre-existing observatories and by widening the range of CZ instrumented sites. Embedded into the international CZ initiative, OZCAR is one of the French mirrors of the European eLTER-ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure) project.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture - IRSTEA (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Paris Diderot - Paris 7 (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:11 Dec 2018 09:52

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