Overarching goals

  1. Improve knowledge of the Earth’s past and present climate and environment, including its natural variability, and improve understanding of the causes of observed variability and change

  2. Improve quantification of the forces bringing about changes in the Earth’s climate and related systems

  3. Reduce uncertainty in projections of how the Earth’s climate and related systems may change in the future

  4. Understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes

  5. Explore the uses and identify the limits of evolving knowledge to manage risks and opportunities related to climate variability and change

Research elements: Atmospheric composition, climate variability and change, water cycle, land-use/land-cover change, carbon cycle, ecosystems, and human contributions and responses to environmental change

Crosscutting issues: Decision support resources development, communications, modeling strategy, observing and monitoring the climate system, data management, and international cooperation

The CCSP research elements are consistent with but broader than those of the predecessor U.S. Global Change Research Program. A time line of how the research focus has evolved is given in Table B.1.

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