The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) seeks to provide
a sound scientific understanding of both the human and natural forces that influence
the Earth's climate system. USGCRP science results provide useful information
for environmental decision-making on issues such as climate change, ozone depletion,
changes in ecosystems, and land use. This multi-agency effort is coordinated
through the National Science and Technology Council.
For FY 2001, the President is requesting $1.74 billion for the USGCRP, an increase
of $39 million above the amount enacted for FY 2000. $843 million is for scientific
research and improvements to surface-based monitoring, (an increase of $79 million,
or about 10 percent). $923 million is for NASAs development of Earth observing
satellites to monitor climate change and other global changes (a decrease of
$34 million, reflecting the phasing of funding for large development projects).
Important USGCRP budget highlights include:
Improved Climate Observations. The FY 2001 budget provides $26 million
to enhance NOAA surface-based observations, including creation of a climate
reference network to provide, for the first time, automated, simultaneous,
and ideally located measurements of changing temperatures, precipitation,
and soil moisture. Measurements of atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, ocean
temperatures, and ocean currents will also be expanded.
The Global Water Cycle. The FY 2001 budget provides $308 million
(an increase of $35 million, or about 13 percent) for research on changes
in the Earths water cycle, which is one of the primary determinants
of the Earths climate. The water cycle is emerging as a top research
priority because changes appear to occurring already. The launch of NASAs
EOS Aqua spacecraft in December 2000 will support this research by provide
new global measurements of humidity, cloud properties, precipitation, snow,
and sea ice.
Ecosystem Changes. The FY 2001 budget provides $224 million for research
on the potential impacts of climate change and other stresses on forests,
coastal areas, croplands, and other ecosystems (an increase of $19 million,
or 9 percent). New studies will improve our understanding of the relationships
among land cover, land use, climate, and weather, and help identify thresholds
for significant changes in ecosystems.
Carbon Cycle Initiative. The FY 2001 budget request continues strong
support for the multi-agency carbon cycle science initiative begun in FY 2000,
providing $227 million (an increase of $23 million or 11 percent). This request
includes funds to study how carbon cycles between the atmosphere, the oceans,
and land, and the role of farms, forests, and other natural or managed lands
in capturing carbon. Such carbon sinks may help the United States
and other nations offset greenhouse gas emissions. Key agencies include the
Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Energy, Interior, NASA, the National Science
Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. Included in the request is $13.5
million (an increase of over $12 million) to significantly expand USDA Natural
Resources Conservation Service soil carbon inventory and analysis efforts.