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The continental surfaces comprise one of several interacting components of the climate system. Therefore, they play a role in the natural fluctuations and anthropogenic changes of regional and global climate. In light of the importance of land-atmosphere interactions to climate, the Atmospheric Sciences and Hydrology sections cosponsored a special session on land surface processes and climate variability at the AGU 1991 Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The focus was on physical interactions between the continents and the atmosphere through exchanges of mass, energy, and momentum, with an emphasis on the relevance of those interactions to natural and anthropogenic variations of climate and continental hydrology. The call for papers requested reports on process-oriented, model-based, and observational studies of the influence of land-surface processes on atmospheric variability, land-surface response to atmospheric variations, and climatic sensitivity to changes of the continental surfaces.