Portal join the community
CSDMS for you
What is CSDMS?
The Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) deals with the Earth's surface - the ever-changing, dynamic interface between lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere. We are a diverse community of experts promoting the modeling of earth surface processes by developing, supporting, and disseminating integrated software modules that predict the movement of fluids, and the flux (production, erosion, transport, and deposition) of sediment and solutes in landscapes and their sedimentary basins.
The CSDMS Project is an NSF-funded, international effort to develop a suite of modular numerical models able to simulate the evolution of landscapes and sedimentary basins, on time scales ranging from individual events to many millions of years. CSDMS is an acronym for Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System. Ideas behind the CSDMS concept were discussed by participants of an international workshop, Numerical Experiments in Stratigraphy (University of Kansas, May 15-17, 1996), with formal presentation of these findings at the third annual conference of the International Association of Mathematical Geology (Barcelona, 1997: Syvitski, et al, 1997). The formal CSDMS idea, however, took shape at a panel convened by the Geology/Paleontology Program of NSF in March 1999. That panel identified a CSDMS as a high priority NSF research initiative in sedimentary geology, and since then the concept has been widely discussed in the North American sediment-dynamics community.
The history behind CSDMS began in the mid-1960s, with a very interesting article (Bonham-Carter and Sutherland, 1967; also see Harbaugh and Bonham-Carter, 1970). Graeme Bonham-Carter coded up sediment transport equations related to a river's discharge into the ocean, to provide us with new insights into the formation of sedimentary deposits. The exercise was completed at a time when application of the Navier-Stokes equation to sediment transport remained in its infancy, and when we fed computer cards into memory-poor, slow-speed mainframes. Ten years later saw the first volume describing the full spectrum of numerical models related to ocean dynamics (Goldberg et al, 1977). The emphasis of these articles was on getting the dynamics correct and this resulted in some papers (e.g. Smith, 1977; Komar, 1977) being conceptually ahead of available field tools and data.
Through the next decade, as computers advanced with our ability to develop code, the softrock community applied its maturing understanding of hydraulics and sediment transport to the formation and modification of sedimentary deposits. In 1988, a large representation of this community met in the mountains of Colorado, and the concept of quantitative dynamic stratigraphy (QDS) was born (Cross, 1989). At the meeting, a mechanistic view of QDS was contrasted with the more rapidly maturing rule-based (sometimes known as geometric-based) stratigraphic models (see Syvitski, 1989, for discussion). The need to understand local to regional boundary conditions, either over long periods of simulated time, or for conditions where we have little field data (i.e. extreme event modeling) went on to change the way sedimentologists conducted their field and numerical experiments.
Through the next decade, the QDS community and discipline grew and influenced the field of both sedimentology and stratigraphy (Agterberg and Bonham-Carter, 1989; Martinez and Harbaugh, 1993; Franseen et al., 1991; Harff et al., 1998; Harbaugh et al., 1999; Paola, 2000; Syvitski and Bahr, 2001, Syvitski et al.,, 2007). Now we approach a time when these marvelous individual efforts can be multiplied in their effectiveness if better coordinated, and openness is developed between the modelers and field-oriented geoscientists.
The earth system surface dynamic models, like the established Community Climate System Model or the Regional Ocean Modeling System, are based on algorithms that mathematically describe the processes and conditions relevant to water, sediment and solute transport, and would incorporate all the important input and boundary conditions that define an environmental system. The CSDMS effort is coordinated and funded by government agencies and industry, to support the development of optimum algorithms, input parameters, feedback loops, and observations at the relevant scales necessary, to better provide an understanding of earth-surface systems. The Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System is being designed to address issues, for example, when the earth was abiotic, hotter or colder, when there was no flocculation, when the moon was closer, or the oceans were more saline. CSDMS provides modeling support to those working on modern environmental applications, future global warming scenarios, natural disaster mitigation efforts, natural hazard efforts, reservoir characterization, oil exploration, and national security. New satellite and geophysical databases will only realize their full potential in collaboration with efforts like the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System.
CSDMS Contact Information
More about directions to the CSDMS Integration Facility
CSDMS would like to acknowledge INSTAAR, the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, for providing the physical space for the CSDMS Integration Facility.
What can CSDMS do for me?
Becoming a member of CSDMS and actively participating in community activities provides benefits for a variety of member types. We are a community of earth surface process modelers; CSDMS provides open-access to numerical models, maintains data for modelers and educational resources on earth science modeling for teachers, provides computing resources for members, offers help in advanced model coupling, and is a platform of discussion for earth science research. We realize you may fit different categories, we all wear different hats at times. Common trait is that you will be part of a family of experts sharing research to advance quantitative earth surface process modeling.
Are you interested in using surface process models for your science problems or classes? To explore sediment transport and morphodynamic problems either in the terrestrial, the coastal or the marine domain?
Are you a researcher or student interested in using surface process models for scientific problems? To explore sediment transport and morphodynamic problems either in the terrestrial, the coastal or the marine domain?
Are you a researcher or student interested in developing new numerical surface process models for scientific problems? You will have all the benefits of any model user, but in addition there are services specifically for model developers….
Are you an earth science researcher or student who collects and analyzes field data or experimental data and want to compare it with numerical model output?
Are you an educator interested in using numerical models in class? Are you looking for material to use teaching about earth surface processes, hydrology and sediment transport? Do you want your students to be more familiar with handling quantitative data and mathematical analysis?
Are you a planner or a policy-maker interested in modeling to support your efforts? CSDMS is a community of experts that promotes the understanding of earth-surface processes through numerical simulation experiments. The experiments employ an open-source library of community-generated, continuously evolving software. CSDMS is partnered with related scientific programs in order to provide a strong linkage between predictions and observations.
Are you working on applied stratigraphic, fluid flow and reservoir modeling problems? CSDMS members work on applied sedimentary geological problems and develop models for industry.
What are the different CSDMS groups?
CSDMS currently has a total of 8 groups, which includes 5 Working Groups, and 3 Focus Research Groups. The groups meet once per year, coordinating much of their ongoing activities through email and associated to some of the important disciplinary meetings (for example AGU). Chairs are appointed on a 3 to 5 year rotating basis, vetted through the Steering Committee. Go to organization/groups to find out more about the tasks, or to join one or more CSDMS Group(s).
The Terrestrial Working Group (currently 1126 members) deals with erosion, sediment and solute transport, and deposition on land. The processes concerned are wide ranging, from the sculpting of glacial landscapes to the formation of soil and the transport of erosional materials to the coastline.
The Group's working goals include:
The Coastal Working Group (currently 852 members) deals with delta, estuary, bays and lagoons, and nearshore challenges.
Its working goals are to:
The Marine Working Group (currently 518 members) deals with shelf, carbonate, slope, and deep marine challenges.
→ Education and Knowledge Transfer (EKT)
CSDMS plans on strong and fully integrated Education and Knowledge Transfer components. CSDMS EKT (currently 383 members) will focus its knowledge transfer efforts on three CSDMS end-user groups: researchers, planners, and educators. CSDMS will target:
Our principal Education audiences are university students, professionals, teachers at the secondary school and college levels, and the general public. Resources to support this effort will not become available until the third year of the CSDMS effort, due to NSF budget reductions. CSDMS will jump-start our Education and KT activities by coordinating them closely with the EKT programs at the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED), a funded NSF Science and Technology Center devoted to developing a predictive, quantitative understanding of the processes that shape the Earth's Surface.
EKT WG quick links:
→ Cyberinformatics and Numerics
The Cyberinformatics and Numerics Working Group (currently 327 members) deals with technical computational aspects of the CSDMS, ensures that the modeling system properly functions and is accessible to users; software protocols are maintained, along with model standardization and visualization; and works with our cyberinformatic partners.
Focus Research Groups
Welcome to the CSDMS Hydrology Focus Research Group (FRG). The Hydrology FRG is a research group (currently 880 members), that is additionally co-sponsored by CUAHSI, the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. Our goal is to provide input to the CSDMS effort on how to best represent hydrological processes and models within CSDMS. Another role that the Hydrology FRG will play is to facilitate links to other community hydrologic modeling activities, including those led by CUAHSI.
→ Carbonates and Biogenics
The Carbonates and Biogenics Focus Research Group (C-FRG) (currently 171 members) has been created with the aim of identifying and then addressing the grand challenges for fundamental research on ancient and recent carbonates and biogenics systems. This aim will be accomplished through creation of the next generation of numerical carbonate and biogenic process models under the umbrella of the CSDMS initiative. The initiative is driven by the idea that open-source numerical models and associated quantitative datasets can be state-of-the-art repositories for our knowledge of how carbonate and biogenic systems work, as well as being experimental tools to apply to develop and enhance that knowledge.
A first step in addressing this aim occurred in February 2008 when various members of the carbonate community attended a workshop at the Colorado School of Mines. The purposes of the workshop were to identify grand challenges for fundamental research on ancient and recent carbonate systems, and to identify promising areas for advancing the next generation of numerical process models to enhance our ability to meaningfully and accurately model carbonate systems. Thirty-one attendees from academia and industry worked to initiate a carbonate community across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including sedimentology, stratigraphy, geobiology, oceanography, paleoclimatology, numerical process modeling, and carbonate diagenesis. More about the meeting and its results are on the web, at: Carbonate systems
The next steps planned to advance the group’s aims were to:
To meet these steps, the Carbonate Focus Research Group met again in January 26-27, 2009 at the CSDMS Integration Facility. The specific purpose of this meeting was to further build the carbonate focused research group research programme by doing two things:
See Carbonate FRG 2009 for more information about the second meeting.
Carbonates and Biogenics FRG quick links:
This is the first Geographically-Focused Research Group (GFRG) (currently 130 members) associated with CSDMS. The group is a partnership between CSDMS and the Chesapeake Community Modeling Program (CCMP, http://ches.communitymodeling.org/) currently run by the Chesapeake Research Consortium.
CCMP developed as the Chesapeake Bay research community came together to cooperatively build an open source system of watershed and estuary models. Through support from CRC member institutions and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, CCMP modelers have committed to developing a modeling framework that will enable free and open access to code specific to the Chesapeake Bay region. As a complementary activity to the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) modeling program, the Chesapeake Community Model Program will strive to develop a comprehensive model consisting of interchangeable individual modules covering all aspects of hydrodynamics, ecosystem dynamics, trophic exchanges, and watershed interactions towards a future linked watershed-estuary model. There are obvious areas of overlap between CSDMS and CCMP, and the CSDMS Chesapeake FRG intends to capitalize on synergies from both programs. We continue to solicit members of the Working Group, and your participation would be welcome.
Our first meeting was held at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Annapolis, MD, on April 3, 2009, and our second meeting was held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, on November 10, 2009. These meetings aimed to get attendees up to speed on the model integration pathway that CSDMS is employing and to solicit guidance in developing short, intermediate and longer term goals for the Chesapeake FRG.
If you are interested in learning more about these meetings, please visit the Chesapeake FRG Reports page. If you would like to participate in the discussions and meetings of the CSDMS Chesapeake Focus Research Group, we invite you to join the group.
Chesapeake FRG quick links: