REVIEW OF USGCRP PLAN FOR A NEW SCIENCE INITIATIVE ON THE GLOBAL WATER CYCLE

Committee on a Review of A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle

Water Science and Technology Board

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle REVIEW OF USGCRP PLAN FOR A NEW SCIENCE INITIATIVE ON THE GLOBAL WATER CYCLE Committee on a Review of A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle Water Science and Technology Board Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the Army Research Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NAG5-8651, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation under Grant No. EAR-9986796, National Weather Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Grant No. X-2895301, and U.S. Geological Survey. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08406-7 Available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet <http://www.nap.edu>. Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine National Academy of SciencesNational Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpe society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle COMMITTEE ON A REVIEW OF A PLAN FOR A NEW SCIENCE INITIATIVE ON THE GLOBAL WATER CYCLE ERIC F. WOOD, Chair, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey MARY P. ANDERSON, University of Wisconsin, Madison ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge WILLIAM K. NUTTLE, Consultant, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada MARC B. PARLANGE, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin, Madison EUGENE M. RASMUSSON, University of Maryland, College Park DIAN J. SEIDEL, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland JOHN L. WILSON, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Project Director ANITA A. HALL, Senior Project Assistant Editor RHONDA BITTERLI

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOAN B. ROSE, Vice Chair, University Of South Florida, St. Petersburg RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park KENNETH R. BRADBURY, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison JAMES CROOK, CH2M Hill, Boston, Massachusetts EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis PETER GLEICK, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California STEVEN P. GLOSS, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona JOHN LETEY, JR., University of California, Riverside DIANE M. MCKNIGHT, University of Colorado, Boulder CHRISTINE L. MOE, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst JERALD L. SCHNOOR, University of Iowa, Iowa City LEONARD SHABMAN, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Study/Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant JON Q. SANDERS, Project Assistant

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ERIC J. BARRON (Chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park RAYMOND J. BAN, The Weather Channel, Atlanta, Georgia, Robert C. Beardsley, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts ROSINA BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan HOWARD B. BLUESTEIN, School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts STEVEN F. CLIFFORD, Environmental Technology Laboratory, NOAA CASSANDRA FESEN, University of Texas, Dallas, Texas GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Radian Electronic Systems JUDITH L. LEAN, Naval Research Laboratory MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado MARIO J. MOLINA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine WILLIAM J. RANDALL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado RICHARD D. ROSEN, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts THOMAS F. TASCIONE, Sterling Software, Inc. JOHN C. WYNGAARD, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania Staff ELBERT W. (JOE) FRIDAY, Director LAURIE S. GELLER, Program Officer PETER A. SCHULTZ, Senior Program Officer VAUGHAN C. TUREKIAN, Program Officer DIANE L. GUSTAFSON, Administrative Assistant ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Project Assistant ROBERT A. GREENWAY, Project Assistant

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle Preface The global water cycle is central to Earth’s climate. It is a pervasive aspect of the physical, biological, and chemical processes and interactions of the coupled climate system. In addition, water exerts a profound influence on human activities and natural environmental processes. Global change related to anthropogenic effects on climate, land use, and water use increases the uncertainty in forecasts of the water cycle, especially as these forecasts relate to the management of water resources and mitigation of natural hazards. Study of the global water cycle transcends conventional discipline boundaries. Improved knowledge about land surface/atmosphere interactions, including more precise quantification of precipitation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, river flow, groundwater storage and flow, and the movement of carbon and nutrients—particu-larly at the continental and global scales—has been recognized as critical to our ability to understand variability and changes in the Earth's climate system. Consequently, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is planning to devote increased attention to improving knowledge of these phenomena. Last spring, the USGCRP produced the report A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle (USGCRP, 2001). This report was designed to represent a research strategy and scientific plan for investigating the global water cycle, and its interactions with climate and for developing an enhanced understanding of the fundamental processes that govern the availability and biogeochemistry of water resources. The USGCRP managers are currently considering how to move forward with implementation of this ambitious, broad, and potentially very fruitful plan on an interagency basis, and it requested that the National Research Council (NRC) advise them in this regard (see Appendix A). In response, the NRC appointed a special committee for the purpose of this review. Our committee of 10 members was drawn from the mem-

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle berships of two NRC standing committees—the Committee on Hydrologic Science and the Climate Research Committee. These two standing committees have much experience relevant to global change science and some knowledge of the water cycle science plan. The members were selected from the two existing committees with an overriding aim of having an appropriately sized committee, with a proper disciplinary composition and free of conflicts of interest and inappropriate biases. As requested, our report provides comments on the water cycle science plan as related to its recommended scientific initiatives and goals, and it provides comments on the usefulness of the water cycle science plan to the USGCRP agencies in developing a coordinated global water cycle implementation plan. We recognize that the Water Cycle Study Group (WCSG), which performed the study for the USGCRP, has finished its work, and thus the usefulness of our review must be considered in the currently developing agency implementation plans. In preparing this report, our committee sought to address the following statement of task: The committee will review and provide guidance on implementation of the recent report A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle (USGCRP, 2001). The review will focus on a research strategy and help set scientific priorities for a proposed national program concerning the global water cycle. Specifically, the committee will as-sess and advise on: how well the water cycle science plan reflects the breadth and depth of water cycle research currently ongoing and planned in the United States, and the compatibility of this plan with USGCRP objectives, and coordination, collaboration, and implementation by the agencies. In addressing this charge, we have found it useful to organize our advice in this report around four main issues: (1) assessment of the success of the water cycle science plan in addressing the charge to the WCSG, (2) evaluation of whether the water cycle science plan provides sufficient guidance to the USGCRP agencies for them to establish agency implementation plans, (3) assessment of the feasibility of the water cycle science plan’s recommended research strategy and scientific plans, and, (4) recommendations on priorities for the USGCRP program and agency implementation activities. Our study and the preparation of this report occurred on a rapid timetable of less than three months so as to accommodate the needs of the USGCRP. I appreciate the efforts made by the committee members

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle and NRC staff in working on this tight timetable to produce a report that should be useful in advancing this important area of water science. The USGCRP initiative on the global water cycle is of vital importance to the nation. The potential disruption to our well-being is significant if anthropogenic climate change affects the water cycle, resulting in changing patterns of rainfall and related changes in river flows, soil moisture, and water quality. The committee recognizes the complexity facing the USGCRP in developing coordinated implementation plans but urges USGCRP to take all possible steps to assure the success of this initiative. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscripts remains confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report and for their many instructive comments: Alan K. Betts, atmospheric research consultant, Pittsford, Vermont; Kenneth R. Bradbury, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey; Stephen J. Burges, University of Washington; Eville Gorham, University of Minnesota (retired); Upmanu Lall, Columbia University; and Margaret A. LeMone, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc-tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland. Appointed by the National Research Council, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carefully carried out in accordance with the institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Eric F. Wood, Chair Committee on a Review of a Plan for A New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle

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Review of USGCRP Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle Contents 1   INTRODUCTION   1 2   OVERVIEW A PLAN FOR A NEW SCIENCE INITIATIVE ON THE GLOBAL WATER CYCLE   3 3   RESPONSIVENESS OF THE WATER CYCLE SCIENCE PLAN TO THE USGCRP CHARGE   7 4   FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   19     REFERENCES   23 APPENDIX A   Letter from USGCRP Requesting Review of Water Cycle Initiative Science Plan   27 APPENDIX B   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   29

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