The NovCare 2013 International Conference (Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring: From Theory to Practice) took place May 13-16, 2013 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig. This conference, organized by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the University of Tübingen, the Kansas Geological Survey and the University of Michigan, is in its third successive year. This conference series, which began in Leipzig in 2009 and then moved to Cape Cod in the United States in 2011, has proven to be an excellent forum for exchanging ideas and experiences related to the challenges of subsurface characterization and monitoring.
NovCare 2013 again provided a rare opportunity and an outstanding platform for researchers and practitioners from all over the world to exchange their ideas and experiences in dealing with the challenges of subsurface characterization and monitoring using a variety of methods.
The conference had a strong interdisciplinary and international flavor, with around 100 participants from 13 countries involved. Twelve companies and institutes had information booths or gave field demonstrations of novel equipment designs and tools.
The seven thematic categories of NovCare 2013 were: (1) soils and unconsolidated deposits, (2) thermal use of the shallow subsurface, (3) stream-aquifer interactions, (4) flow and transport in the saturated and unsaturated zone, (5) geotechnical site characterization, (6) watershed characterization and (7) long-term monitoring. In total, 46 presentations were given and 19 posters were on display and presented. Nine invited speakers delivered talks of specific relevance to one of the focus areas or discussed topics of general interest. Keynote speakers included, among others, Tom Lunne, Dave Walsh, Philippe Behra, Steffen Birk, Jim Butler, Michael Cardiff, Anthony L. Endres, Michael Gooseff and Dave Hyndman. The conference started on May 13, 2013 with a Direct Push workshop where several methods and sensors were introduced and demonstrated to interested participants. At NovCare 2013 the organizers identified two important tasks - Direct Push Technology and geothermal use of the shallow subsurface - which were discussed in detail by the participants and important tasks to be considered in future research were defined. Selected presentations and the two discussion papers will be published in a special issue of the Environmental Earth Science journal.
The lively discussions during the formal sessions and the accompanying social events demonstrated the enthusiasm of the characterization, monitoring, and modeling communities for forums in which researchers and practitioners can come together. A fourth conference (NovCare 2015) will be held in Canada, and has tentatively been scheduled for May 2015 in Waterloo.