The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which called for “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”a

Thirteen departments and agencies participate in USGCRP, which was known as the U.S. Climate Change Science Program from 2002 through 2008. The program is steered by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, overseen by the Executive Office of the President and facilitated by an Integration and Coordination Office. USGCRP agencies interact with a wide variety of groups around the world including international, national, state, tribal, and local governments, businesses, professional and other nonprofit organizations, the scientific community, and the public. USGCRP agencies coordinate their work through Interagency Working Groups (IWGs) that span a wide range of interconnected issues of climate and global change. The IWGs address major components of Earth’s environmental and human systems, as well as cross-disciplinary approaches for addressing issues under USGCRP’s purview. One of these working groups is currently focused on advancing climate modeling (the Interagency Group on Integrative Modeling).

During the past two decades, the United States, through USGCRP, has made the world’s largest scientific investment in the areas of climate change and global change research. In fiscal year 2010, USGCRP investments in activities such as observations and monitoring, information services, research and modeling, assessment, communications, and outreach totaled about $2 billion. Recently, USGCRP released a 10-year strategic plan and has spent significant effort in implementing a process to conduct systematic and iterated national assessments of the consequences of climate change (USGCRP, 2012).


a (accessed October 11, 2012).


the community integrates activities at a working level and across institutions. Climate Process Teams are viewed as an activity that is effective in such focused and substantive integration (see more in Chapter 5). Likewise, NUOPC (described above) is linking agencies and laboratories in new ways. If the United States is going to address the advancement of the synthesis of information to address climate change, then it would be most effective for the country to build on these emergent communities. They represent accumulated expenditures in science, infrastructure, and human resources that


an increased number of funding agencies and focused applications projects on, for example, space weather and sediment transport (see, for example, [accessed October 11, 2012]).

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement