Dani Or: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Name Prof. Dr. Dani Or
FieldEnvironmental Physics of Terrestrial Systems
I. f. Biogeochemie/Schadstoffdyn.
ETH Zürich, CHN F 29.1
Universitätstrasse 16
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 633 60 15
Fax+41 44 633 11 23
DepartmentEnvironmental Systems Science
RelationshipFull Professor

651-2915-00LSeminar in Hydrology0 credits1SP. Burlando, J. W.  Kirchner, S. Löw, D. Or, C. Schär, M. Schirmer, S. I. Seneviratne, M. Stähli, C. H. Stamm, University lecturers
701-0535-00LEnvironmental Soil Physics/Vadose Zone Hydrology Information 3 credits2G + 2UD. Or
AbstractThe course provides theoretical and practical foundations for understanding and characterizing physical and transport properties of soils/ near-surface earth materials, and quantifying hydrological processes and fluxes of mass and energy at multiple scales. Emphasis is given to land-atmosphere interactions, the role of plants on hydrological cycles, and biophysical processes in soils.
ObjectiveStudents are able to
- characterize quantitative knowledge needed to measure and parameterize structural, flow and transport properties of partially-saturated porous media.
- quantify driving forces and resulting fluxes of water, solute, and heat in soils.
- apply modern measurement methods and analytical tools for hydrological data collection
- conduct and interpret a limited number of experimental studies
- explain links between physical processes in the vadose-zone and major societal and environmental challenges
ContentWeeks 1 to 3: Physical Properties of Soils and Other Porous Media – Units and dimensions, definitions and basic mass-volume relationships between the solid, liquid and gaseous phases; soil texture; particle size distributions; surface area; soil structure. Soil colloids and clay behavior

Soil Water Content and its Measurement - Definitions; measurement methods - gravimetric, neutron scattering, gamma attenuation; and time domain reflectometry; soil water storage and water balance.

Weeks 4 to 5: Soil Water Retention and Potential (Hydrostatics) - The energy state of soil water; total water potential and its components; properties of water (molecular, surface tension, and capillary rise); modern aspects of capillarity in porous media; units and calculations and measurement of equilibrium soil water potential components; soil water characteristic curves definitions and measurements; parametric models; hysteresis. Modern aspects of capillarity

Demo-Lab: Laboratory methods for determination of soil water characteristic curve (SWC), sensor pairing

Weeks 6 to 9: Water Flow in Soil - Hydrodynamics:
Part 1 - Laminar flow in tubes (Poiseuille's Law); Darcy's Law, conditions and states of flow; saturated flow; hydraulic conductivity and its measurement.

Lab #1: Measurement of saturated hydraulic conductivity in uniform and layered soil columns using the constant head method.

Part 2 - Unsaturated steady state flow; unsaturated hydraulic conductivity models and applications; non-steady flow and Richard’s Eq.; approximate solutions to infiltration (Green-Ampt, Philip); field methods for estimating soil hydraulic properties.
Midterm exam

Lab #2: Measurement of vertical infiltration into dry soil column - Green-Ampt, and Philip's approximations; infiltration rates and wetting front propagation.

Part 3 - Use of Hydrus model for simulation of unsaturated flow

Week 10 to 11: Energy Balance and Land Atmosphere Interactions - Radiation and energy balance; evapotranspiration definitions and estimation; transpiration, plant development and transpirtation coefficients – small and large scale influences on hydrological cycle; surface evaporation.

Week 12 to 13: Solute Transport in Soils – Transport mechanisms of solutes in porous media; breakthrough curves; convection-dispersion eq.; solutions for pulse and step solute application; parameter estimation; salt balance.

Lab #3: Miscible displacement and breakthrough curves for a conservative tracer through a column; data analysis and transport parameter estimation.

Additional topics:

Temperature and Heat Flow in Porous Media - Soil thermal properties; steady state heat flow; nonsteady heat flow; estimation of thermal properties; engineering applications.

Biological Processes in the Vaodse Zone – An overview of below-ground biological activity (plant roots, microbial, etc.); interplay between physical and biological processes. Focus on soil-atmosphere gaseous exchange; and challenges for bio- and phytoremediation.
Lecture notesClassnotes on website: Vadose Zone Hydrology, by Or D., J.M. Wraith, and M. Tuller
(available at the beginning of the semester)
LiteratureSupplemental textbook (not mandatory) -Environmental Soil Physics, by: D. Hillel
701-1302-00LTerm Paper 2: Seminar
Prerequisite: Term Paper 1: Writing (701-1303-00L).
2 credits1SM. H. Schroth, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M.  Lever, K. McNeill, D. Or, B. Wehrli, L. Winkel
AbstractThis class is the 2nd part of a series and participation is conditional on the successful completion of the Term paper Writing class (701-1303-00L). The results from the term paper written during the winter term are presented to the other students and advisors and discussed.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper Seminars is to train the student's ability to communicate the results to a wider audience and the ability to respond to questions and comments.
ContentEach student presents the results of the term paper to the other students and advisors and responds to questions and comments from the audience.
Lecture notesNone
LiteratureTerm paper
Prerequisites / NoticeThe term papers will be made publically available after each student had the opportunity to make revisions.

There is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the presentation and ensuing discussion.
701-1303-00LTerm Paper 1: Writing Restricted registration - show details 5 credits6AM. H. Schroth, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M.  Lever, K. McNeill, D. Or, B. Wehrli, L. Winkel
AbstractThe ability to critically evaluate original (scientific) literature and to summarize the information in a succinct manner is an important skill for any student. This course aims to practise this ability, requiring each student to write a term paper on a topic of relevance for research in the areas of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper is to train the student's ability to
critically evaluate a well-defined set of research subjects, and to
summarize the findings concisely in a paper of scientific quality. The
paper will be evaluated based on its ability to communicate an
understanding of a topic, and to identify key outstanding questions.
Results from this term paper will be presented to the fellow students and
involved faculty in the following term (Term paper seminars class)
ContentEach student is expected to write a paper with a length of approximately 15 pages. The students can choose from a list of topics prepared by the supervisors, but the final topic will be determined based on a balance of choice and availability. The students will be guided and advised by their advisors throughout the term. The paper itself should contain the following elements: Motivation and context of the given topic (25%), Concise presentation of the state of the science (50%), Identification of open questions and perhaps outline of opportunities for research (25).
In addition, the accurate use of citations, attribution of ideas, and the judicious use of figures, tables, equations and references are critical components of a successful paper. Specialized knowledge is not expected, nor required, neither is new research.
Lecture notesGuidelines and supplementary material will be handed out at the beginning of the class.
LiteratureWill be identified based on the chosen topic.
Prerequisites / NoticeEach term paper will be reviewed by one fellow student and one faculty. The submission of a written review is a prerequisite for obtaining the credit points.
There is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the term paper and the submission of another student's review.

Students are expected to take Term Paper Writing and Term Paper Seminar classes in sequence.
701-1673-00LEnvironmental Measurement Laboratory5 credits4GP. U. Lehmann Grunder, D. Or
AbstractMeasurements are the the sole judge of scientific truth and provide access to unpredictable information, enabling the characterization and monitoring of complex terrestrial systems. Based on lectures and field- and laboratory training the students learn to apply modern methods to determine forest inventory parameters and to measure subsurface properties and processes.
Objective- explain functioning of sensors that are used for characterization of landscapes and terrestrial systems
- select appropriate measurement methods and sampling design to quantify key variables and processes in the subsurface
- deploy sensors in the field and maintain sensor network
- interpret collected laboratory and field data and report main conclusions deduced from measurements
Content1) Measurement Science: Measurement precision and accuracy; sensing footprint, sampling design and sampling errors, uncertainty reduction, spatial and temporal variability, sampling network design and information costs

2) Electronics: Basic introduction to electronic components, voltage and current measurements, A/D converters, power requirements, power consumption calculations, batteries, storage capacity, solar panels

3) Datalogging (Lecture): Data Logging, data transfer, storage, and sensing technologies; basic data logger programming; overview of soil sensor types and sensor calibration; including programming in the laboratory

4) Geophysical methods on Subsurface Characterization: Basic principles of ERT, GPR, and EM;

5) Soil and Groundwater Direct Sampling (Lab): Soil physical sampling; profile characterization, disturbed and undisturbed soil sampling, direct-push geoprobe sampling; soil water content profiles and transects;

6) Electronics Laboratory: Setup and measurement of simple circuits, selection and use of voltage dividers, batteries and solar panels; pressure and temperature measurements;

7) Deployment of monitoring network: Field installation of TDR, temperature probes, tensiometers, data loggers and power supply

8) Geophysics lab: Demonstration and application of geophysical methods in the field;

9 & 10) Forest characterization/ inventory: Principles of LIDAR; structures and features of the tree crowns, size/volume of the leaf area tree positions and diameters at breast height

11&12) Ecohydrological and Soil Monitoring Networks- Data management for long term monitoring networks Tereno, and other critical zone observatories

13) Remote Sensing- Basic principles and forest-related examples including data extraction and analysis
Lecture notesLecture material on page
LiteratureLecture material will be online for registered students:
Prerequisites / NoticeThe details of the schedule will be optimized based on the number of students; some blocks of the course will be offered as well to students of Environmental Engineering