General Information

The Italian-French summer school on "Fundamental processes in geophysical fluid dynamics and the climate system" is organized each year by the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (ISAC) - CNR (Turin, Italy) and by the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France).

The directors of the Course 2016, "Cross-Scale Interactions in the Coupled Geosphere-Biosphere System ", are

Antonello Provenzale , Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, CNR, Pisa, Italy
Carl Beierkuhnlein, Chair of Biogeography, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Presentation of the Course

The Earth biosphere evolves responding to the physical, chemical and geological constraints of the geosphere and, at the same time, is able to significantly modify them - from the role of organisms as ecosystem engineers, to the workings of the global carbon cycle, to the ensemble of coupled biogeochemical cycles, to the same presence of oxygen in the atmosphere. Pioneering views of this tightly coupled dynamics were proposed by Vladimir Vernadsky in his book "The Biosphere" (1926) and by James Lovelock in the formulation of the Gaia hypothesis (1974). In such a highly dynamical complex system, interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales are at the heart of the processes through which the biotic and abiotic worlds function and communicate with each other, shaping the dynamics of the Earth System. In this framework, following Tansley (1935), ecosystems include "not only the organism-complex, but also the whole complex of physical factors forming what we call the environment of the biome - the habitat factors in the widest sense" and organisms cannot be separated by their special environment, "with which they form one physical system." These topics, extremely important for understanding the dynamics of our own Planet, are becoming even more challenging given the strong pressures that anthropic activities are placing on natural ecosystems and environments, with the related danger of losing essential ecosystem services and, in the hardest cases, of generating ecosystem collapse.

This Course aims at providing young researchers - in particular Ph.D. students - with an up-to-date interdisciplinary course presenting a quantitative approach to the physical, chemical, geological, biological and ecological principles of geosphere-biosphere interactions on multiple spatial and temporal scales, focusing on the role of Earth Observations and of modelling approaches. The Course is organised in the framework and with funding from the H2020 European Project 641762 "ECOPOTENTIAL: Improving Future Ecosystem Benefits through Earth Observations".

The Course will be held from June 15th to June 24th, 2016 at the Conference Center at the City Hall of Valsavarenche, a small village at about 1500 meters above the sea-level in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Aosta Valley, Italy. Participants will be lodged in hotels in Valsavarenche. Transportation will be arranged from Torino to the school and back on June 14th and on June 25th respectively. The transportation page has more info.

The school has no registration fee. The cost of full board lodging (including all meals) for 11 nights, from June 14th evening to June 25th, 2016, is 737 euro sharing a double room with another participant, and 935 euro for a single room (please note that only a limited number of single rooms is available). The lodging cost will have to be paid directly to the hotel during your stay. The finance page has some more info.

Deadline for applications is April 30th, 2016.

If you need more information, please contact the Scientific Secretary at the following Email address:



(Updated: Jan 2016 by JvH )