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Spring School Tracing 2020

Spring School Tracing 2020


Emerging strategies of sediment and contaminant tracing in catchments and river systems


(initially planned from 11 to 15 May 2020, cancelled following the covid-19 outbreak)

The new schedule later in 2020 or in 2021 will be announced as soon as possible

after the 2020 EGU General Assembly in Vienna, Austria (3–8 May 2020)

Meeting place: LSCE, University Paris-Saclay Campus,

 Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris, France

Main organizer: Olivier Evrard, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE)

Local organization committee : Sophie Ayrault (LSCE), Cécile Quantin (Géosciences Paris-Sud)

International support organization committee: Allen Gellis (USGS), Jean Minella (UFSM, Brazil), Tales Tiecher (UFRGS, Brazil)

With the financial support of the following institutions


This event is supported by the IPSL - Climate Graduate School which is funded by the French National Research Agency - ANR (ANR-11-IDEX-0004 - 17-EURE-0006).

Context and objectives of the School

Soil and water resources that are essential to human and aquatic life are increasingly threatened by human activities and the impacts of land use and climate change. Sediment and sediment-associated constituents, in particular, can contribute substantially to water-quality impairment.  In order to take effective conservation measures to protect these resources from erosion and alteration, and use them in a more sustainable way, a preliminary assessment is needed to: (1) quantify soil losses; (2) identify the sources and the pathways of runoff and sediment across the landscapes to the river systems; and (3) calculate the transfer and residence times of sediment and particle-bound contaminants in the river network.

Several innovative techniques have been developed recently opening up new avenues to establish this assessment of sediment flux in the critical zone. These innovative techniques include the tracing or “fingerprinting” methods to identify the sources and quantify the dynamics of sediment and particle-bound contaminants, high resolution topographic mapping using various emerging technologies (i.e Lidar) to map connectivity and sediment pathways, the development and installation of multiple low-cost sensors in the rivers. However, the use of these techniques is often associated with several methodological and statistical limitations, that are often reported although rarely addressed in the framework of concerted actions taken at the level of the international scientific community. Among the main methodological difficulties associated with these techniques are the following:

In this context, the objective of this Spring Thematic School workshop is to bring together French and international experts working on these topics together to develop the critical guidance and standardization needed so that sediment fingerprinting and ancillary approaches can be adopted as a utilitarian and readily applicable sediment management and academic tool. Thematic workshops will be organised, drawing on the varied expertise, to set-up a concerted strategy to develop methodological approaches to apportion sediment to its source(s). Original and international experiments will be designed, and an initiative (clearinghouse) will be presented for data sharing. A potential practical contribution of the School could be the publication of dataset(s) in open access to test/calibrate/validate sediment tracing approaches in contrasted environments across the world.

This Spring School is organised to follow-up the discussions initiated during specifically dedicated sessions organised during the last years at the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union (EGU) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This event will take place during the week after the 2020 edition of the EGU conference to facilitate the participation of non-European colleagues and minimize the environmental impact of the School.


Researchers/lecturers, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students.

The candidates were selected based on their CV and motivations to get trained to sediment tracing techniques. The deadline to apply was 31 January 2020. Potential participants were informed of the committee decision mid-February 2020. The application questionnaire is nevertheless still available here.  

The official language of the Spring School will be English.



The Spring School will take place in the new building of LSCE (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement) on the campus of Paris-Saclay University located in Gif-sur-Yvette, southwest of Paris, in France.

Meeting rooms, and lunch will be provided in the nearby restaurant ‘Les Algorithmes’ (accessible on foot from the lab).

Access by train to the Paris-Saclay campus (station ‘Massy-Palaiseau’ or ‘Le Guichet’) via the RER B suburban train line, directly connected to both airports of Paris (Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly) and easily accessible from the City of Paris and the high-speed train/TGV station of ‘Massy-TGV’.

From these stations, public bus services are available to the LSCE (the bus stop ‘Orme des Merisiers’ is located just in front of the laboratory).

From ‘Massy-Palaiseau’ RER B station: bus 91.06 direction ‘Christ de Saclay’ (~25 minutes).

From ‘Le Guichet’ RER B station: bus 9 direction ‘Christ de Saclay’ or ‘Campus HEC’ (~10 minutes).


All transport itineraries can be found on the following link:

Participation cost

Thanks to the sponsors, the participation to the Spring School (including lunch) will be free of charge for those selected/invited participants. Only the transport cost to/back from Gif-sur-Yvette and the accommodation will have to be supported by the participants.

Training format of the Spring School

The main objective is to update the participant knowledge of all the state-of-the-art techniques/methodological issues associated with sediment/particle-bound tracing. Most of the experienced researchers (including postdocs) participating to the Spring School will therefore be invited to share their knowledge in their primary field of expertise through the preparation of specifically dedicated lectures.

All participants will also be invited to prepare databases to implement some of those techniques/models taught during the School with their own data.

All participants will be invited to prepare two slides to present them and their research/background at the beginning of the School.

Significant time slots will also be devoted to additional practical workshops and discussions on the potential solutions that could be found to address the methodological problems associated with tracing and design concerted strategies for future research.

Programme of the Spring School

The School has been cancelled following the covid-19 outbreak and will be re-scheduled later in 2020 or in 2021 depending on the evolution of the situation





#310 - : 17/03/2020
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