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Earthcasting: Geomorphic Forecasts for Society

Ferdowsi, Behrooz and Gartner, John D. and Johnson, Kerri N. and Kasprak, Alan and Miller, Kimberly L. and Nardin, William and Ortiz, Alejandra C. and Tejedor, Alejandro (2021) Earthcasting: Geomorphic Forecasts for Society. Earth's Future, 9 (11). Art. No. e2021EF002088. ISSN 2328-4277. doi:10.1029/2021ef002088.

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Over the last several decades, the study of Earth surface processes has progressed from a descriptive science to an increasingly quantitative one due to advances in theoretical, experimental, and computational geosciences. The importance of geomorphic forecasts has never been greater, as technological development and global climate change threaten to reshape the landscapes that support human societies and natural ecosystems. Here we explore best practices for developing socially relevant forecasts of Earth surface change, a goal we are calling “earthcasting”. We suggest that earthcasts have the following features: they focus on temporal (∼1–∼100 years) and spatial (∼1 m–∼10 km) scales relevant to planning; they are designed with direct involvement of stakeholders and public beneficiaries through the evaluation of the socioeconomic impacts of geomorphic processes; and they generate forecasts that are clearly stated, testable, and include quantitative uncertainties. Earthcasts bridge the gap between Earth surface researchers and decision-makers, stakeholders, researchers from other disciplines, and the general public. We investigate the defining features of earthcasts and evaluate some specific examples. This paper builds on previous studies of prediction in geomorphology by recommending a roadmap for (a) generating earthcasts, especially those based on modeling; (b) transforming a subset of geomorphic research into earthcasts; and (c) communicating earthcasts beyond the geomorphology research community. Earthcasting exemplifies the social benefit of geomorphology research, and it calls for renewed research efforts toward further understanding the limits of predictability of Earth surface systems and processes, and the uncertainties associated with modeling geomorphic processes and their impacts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ferdowsi, Behrooz0000-0003-3406-7273
Johnson, Kerri N.0000-0002-0125-4227
Kasprak, Alan0000-0001-8184-6128
Miller, Kimberly L.0000-0002-4299-9006
Nardin, William0000-0002-5490-879X
Ortiz, Alejandra C.0000-0002-7566-9572
Tejedor, Alejandro0000-0002-3800-5304
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Issue Online: 02 November 2021; Version of Record online: 02 November 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 06 October 2021; Manuscript accepted: 28 September 2021; Manuscript revised: 12 September 2021; Manuscript received: 24 March 2021. We thank Mike Ellis, Gordon Grant, Liam Rienhardt, Joel Sankey, and an anonymous reviewer for their reviews and suggestions that helped us to improve the structure and clarity of this manuscript. We also thank Chris Paola for insightful suggestions and comments during the process of writing and revising the manuscript. We thank Mariela Perignon and Ajay Limaye for their contributions to an earlier version of the manuscript. All authors acknowledge support from the National Center for Earth surface Dynamics-2 Postdoctoral Synthesis Fellowship through grant NCED2 NSF EAR-1246761. Behrooz Ferdowsi has been partially supported by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston via startup funds, Harry H. Hess Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University, the US Army Research Office, Division of Earth Materials and Processes grant W911NF-13-1-0458, US National Science Foundation (NSF) grant EAR-1224943. John D. Gartner has been partially supported by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alan Kasprak was supported in part by funding from the US Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program and the Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the U.S. Geological Survey. Kimberly L. Miller has been partially supported by NSF EarthCube RCN Award 1324760. Alejandra C. Ortiz was partially supported by NSF grants 1426997 and 1135427. Alejandro Tejedor has been partially supported by the Water Sustainability and Climate Program (NSF grant EAR-1209402) and the International BF-DELTAS project on “Catalyzing action towards sustainability of deltaic systems” funded by the Belmont Forum (NSF grant EAR-1342944). The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. Data Availability Statement: The data sources used in Figures 4 and 5 are cited in the corresponding figure captions. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of HoustonUNSPECIFIED
Princeton UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-13-1-0458
North Atlantic Landscape Conservation CooperativeUNSPECIFIED
U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceUNSPECIFIED
U.S. Bureau of ReclamationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:predictions in geomorphology; practicable predictions; earthcasting; impacts of geomorphic processes
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211012-211827728
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ferdowsi, B., Gartner, J. D., Johnson, K. N., Kasprak, A., Miller, K. L., Nardin, W., et al. (2021). Earthcasting: Geomorphic forecasts for society. Earth's Future, 9, e2021EF002088.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111376
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Oct 2021 17:24
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:16

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