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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration Executive Summary INTRODUCTION Because of its tremendous population, economic development strategies, and natural resource base, China is causing significant environmental change, with impacts that extend regionally and, in some cases, globally. China will remain heavily dependent on coal to fuel the advances envisioned in its ambitious economic development plans for the 1990s. No doubt exists that anthropogenic emissions will increase. As maximum economic growth policies proceed, land use changes will be greatly accelerated, which have implications for land use patterns, water resources, and atmospheric composition. Due to energy inefficiencies, resource consumption patterns, and increased fertilizer applications, China will alter the regional and global atmospheric chemical composition due to increased trace gas fluxes. As in other countries, the issues of global environmental change have emerged from the scientific community. As a result, a policy approach to global change issues and research is evolving. China has been forceful in international fora in advocating that wealthy industrialized nations help finance developing countries' participation in regimes addressing global warming. In 1991, China signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone and is researching and developing chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-alternative technologies. Governmental support for global change scientific research is emerging.
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration Purpose Given China's current and potential impacts on the global environment and the contributions Chinese science can make to global change research, it is all the more important for China to participate fully in international research programs that address global change questions. However, not much detailed information has been available to program planners or foreign researchers interested in collaboration. Consequently, the CSCPRC requested funding from the Division of International Programs at the National Science Foundation to conduct a study that would report systematically and in greater detail about the organization of Chinese global change science and research activities. The thrust of the report is twofold. First, and primarily, the report is a reference for individuals who wish to develop collaborative projects with Chinese colleagues, particularly for those who have limited experience in conducting cooperative science in China. To meet this goal, the panel worked hard to find out substantive details about research, despite the limits of available documentation. Secondly, by discussing the way Chinese science is organized, the report provides insights into research priorities, institutional infrastructure, human resources, and other factors that constrain or facilitate Chinese responses to global change. CHINA'S VIEW OF GLOBAL CHANGE China is a good example of how nations respond to this global research agenda from the point of view of their own national interests. According to Ye Duzheng, chairman of the Chinese National Committee for the International Geosphere—Biosphere Program (CNCIGBP), Chinese research on global change will have a definite national focus. From the Chinese viewpoint, ''global'' change is too large a scale for their needs and current scientific and financial capacities. Specifically, China, like most countries, is very concerned about the possible impact of climate change on economic development and on existing problems such as deforestation, soil erosion, and soil degradation. Besides emphasizing the regional and local impacts of putative global environmental change, Chinese research also emphasizes studies of historical change and studies of land use problems that are ubiquitous both in China and globally. Studies of phenomena that impact the global environment—such as biogenic and industrial emissions—are apparently of lower priority. Data are not collected or presented
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration systematically and, in some cases, are not made available for proprietary or policy reasons. The Chinese program makes its principal contribution to the international program through analysis of large-scale biophysical phenomena within China and also through analysis of historical changes in China's environment that reflect global and local changes. Chinese global change research priorities focus on the question of what will be the impact of global change on China. The reverse question should be mentioned: what will be the contribution of China to global change? Although China's focus is practical given its population growth, current and projected industrial base, demands for fossil fuel, and rate of economic development, China's impact on global change is important to the international community. Even though China's basic global change research is expected to remain locally and regionally focused, important opportunities for international collaboration exist that would increase China's and the international community's understanding of the causes and consequences of global environmental change. CHINESE GLOBAL CHANGE PROGRAM Chapter 2 reports on Chinese involvement in two major international global change programs: (1) the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), sponsored by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), which is devoted mainly to biological and chemical aspects of global change and (2) the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), jointly sponsored by ICSU and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is devoted primarily to physical aspects of global change. While these two programs do not represent all global change research programs, their significance and the fact that China has established national committees for each of them makes these two programs the main focus in this report. Chinese National Committee for the IGBP The Chinese National Committee for the IGBP (CNCIGBP) was established in 1988. Its mission is to organize and coordinate scientists and research communities in China in the study of global change. According to Ye Duzheng, research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which plays a leading role in global change research, is being organized into three priority areas: (1) attention to sensitive zones and early detection of strong signals of global change (historical, present, and future); (2) human impacts on the environment and,
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration as landscape changes, the effect on trace gas emissions; and (3) use of proxy data in the IGBP core project on Past Global Changes (PAGES). Under the Eighth 5-Year Plan (1991–1995), the cornerstone of the Chinese global change program is a national key project to study changes in the life-supporting environment in the next 20 to 50 years. (The life-supporting environment is a Chinese term that is defined as the composition of four elements: atmosphere, terrestrial water, vegetation, and soil.) Chinese National Climate Committee In 1987, the State Science and Technology Commission (SSTC) established the Chinese National Climate Committee. The Chinese national climate program consists of five subprograms, which parallel WMO climate programs: (1) the national climate data subprogram, located at the State Meteorological Administration (SMA), is concerned with collecting compatible national data sets and improving monitoring; (2) the climate research subprogram, located at the CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics, is concerned with modeling, numerical simulation, and observational programs; (3) the Tropical Oceans Global Atmosphere (TOGA) subprogram, located at the State Oceanographic Administration (SOA), is concerned with data and modeling describing the coupling between ocean and atmosphere in the tropics; (4) the national climate application subprogram, located at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, is concerned with the use of climate resources; and (5) the national climate impact subprogram, located at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, is concerned with the effects of climate variation and change. ORGANIZATION OF CHINESE SCIENCE The way science is organized and conducted in China has implications for Chinese global change research and for those individuals or foreign institutions that may wish to collaborate. Institutions are vertically integrated and the lack of internal and external disciplinary or programmatic integration can lead to duplication of effort, and problems communicating data across institutional structures limits the effectiveness of research. The problem of parallel vertical organization and resulting lack of integration is especially relevant for global change research, given the need for multi- and interdisciplinary research programs. Chinese scientists are aware of these inefficiencies and compensate through ingenuity and individual collaborations. Chapter 3 reports on the basic organization of major institutions
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration that conduct research, fund, or set policies that bear significantly on the conduct of global change science in China. CAS has a primary role in basic research and has a large multidisciplinary infrastructure. The National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) plays a regulatory role and works on global warming issues and alternative technologies. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) funds relevant research. The State Education Commission has a potential role in meeting the educational needs of global change science. The State Environmental Protection Commission has a leading role in policy making. SMA is responsible for meteorological research. SOA is responsible for Chinese ocean areas. The State Planning Commission plays a primary role in setting the 5-year plans. SSTC coordinates and administers civilian science and technology efforts. CHINESE PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL CHANGE PROGRAMS Chapter 4 presents a broad overview of Chinese activities in IGBP, WCRP, and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (HD/GEC) Program that is sponsored by the International Social Science Council. Research highlights are presented in each of the core project areas in which China is, plans to be, or has the potential (in the panel's view) to be actively engaged. Also included is a section on the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN) because it is a component of the CNCIGBP's global change program. Further details about the organization and research of selected institutions identified in this chapter are provided in Appendix A. International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project Atmospheric chemistry research is carried out in a number of institutes and universities, usually addressing urban air pollution issues such as oxidants, suspended particles, and toxic species. Recently, some attention has been directed at research projects that have regional and global implications. Most of these projects are closely related to research activities in the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry project. A major focus is on greenhouse gas emissions, including CH4, N2O, and CO2. Research projects on stratospheric ozone have also been carried out. Regional-scale research activities are focused on acid precipitation and oxidants. In addition, the interesting problem of long-range transport of Asian dust and its impact on the Pacific basin has also drawn some attention.
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration Past Global Changes Research on historical analysis of environmental change is voluminous in China. Every CAS institute surveyed lists some form of historical analysis and NSFC has funded this area extensively. Research on historical analysis was nearly ubiquitous among the institutions visited for this report. Every aspect of PAGES research described in IGBP Report No. 12 (1990) or in Bradley (1991) is being reported in China. In fact, the literature is so enormous that it would require a separate and extensive inquiry to catalogue and review materials cited by the Chinese. With few exceptions, work identified by the panel was restricted to China and connections with the rest of the earth system such as telecommunications with global climate anomalies remain to be made. This pervasive consciousness of the variable past has elevated paleoenvironmental studies to a much higher relative level of priority in the Chinese global change program than in the United States or Europe. This research also demonstrates the unique paleoenvironmental records in China that are a crucial resource for the global PAGES community. The quality of scholarship and skill in this area seemed very high. Integration of prospective research (designed to provide projections of future changes and give prescribed scenarios such as climate and land use changes) into Chinese historical analysis will further enhance their contributions in this area. Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems Leading research relevant to the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems core project is being conducted at two CAS institutes. Work at the Institute of Botany provides a very strong foundation for studies of the effects of climate and CO2 change on terrestrial vegetation. Extensive and sophisticated work on agricultural ecosystems was identified at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology that provides very valuable foundations for further studies. Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle and Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Chinese researchers are active in modeling and measuring interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere. Significant efforts are ongoing in developing models to represent the role of vegetation in controlling surface energy balance and evapotranspiration. The landscape of western China contains considerable contrast
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration between well-watered irrigation districts along its rivers and surrounding arid areas. These contrasts produce effects on mesoscale atmospheric circulation and this phenomenon is the subject of both theoretical and empirical study, such as the Sino-Japanese Atmosphere-Land Surface Processes Experiment. Finally, because of China's historical dependence upon irrigation, hydrology is a mammoth enterprise, and considerable data on surface and groundwater hydrology exists at all scales, though these data are not—as yet—well integrated into the global change endeavor. Overall, China is poised to conduct significant work under the joint IGBP-WCRP Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle and Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment. Programs on Marine Environments With an 18,000 km coastline, China has considerable reason to be interested in the ocean, particularly the coastal zone. Historical, contemporary, and future changes in land cover and basin hydrology will continue to alter drastically the delivery of water and sediments as well as eolian materials to the coastal zone, particularly in the deltaic regions of the Huanghe, Yangtze, and Pearl Rivers. These changes pose serious threats to the livelihoods of millions of people. The panel's review of Chinese research in the Joint Global Ocean Flux project showed that much of it would be more appropriately considered under the proposed IGBP core project on Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ). TOGA involvements are ambitious and valuable components of IGBP and WCRP. Participating scientists are well qualified and eager for international cooperation. In addition to marine research, China offers a combination of land-based research endeavors that are very important to a LOICZ focus on land-ocean interactions. It is quite likely that Chinese efforts would be restricted to Chinese coastal zones—whether in cooperation with TOGA or LOICZ—unless activities were funded from international sources. As LOICZ planning continues, involvement of Chinese scientific leadership might bring particular strength to activities in coastal Asia—an area identified by LOICZ planners as being especially interesting and important from a global perspective. Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modeling The Chinese IGBP effort places relatively little emphasis on the central questions of the Global Analysis, Interpretation, and Modeling (GAIM) initiative. However, many Chinese activities contribute
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration materially to it. For example, this report describes work on ecosystem dynamics, land process modeling, marine modeling, and climate modeling. As GAIM evolves internationally, it is likely that Chinese participation will increase, and involvement of Chinese scientists should be encouraged to allow them to build upon activities already under way. System for Analysis, Research, and Training The CNCIGBP is developing a proposal to the System for Analysis, Research, and Training Standing Committee for the establishment of a regional research network for East Asia and Western Pacific that would have a regional research center in China. The draft proposal demonstrates the large and multidisciplinary research enterprise that CAS offers the study of global change. Data and Information Systems for the IGBP Since its inception, the IGBP Data and Information Systems supporting project has been open to China's active involvement, for example, in the development of an advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) 1 km global data set. Researchers at the CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics, in collaboration with the State Meteorological Satellite Center, will produce 1 km AVHRR data sets for the first time in China. Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program According to NSFC, China plans to participate in the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (HD/GEC) Program. The goals of the HD/GEC program are consistent with China's research priorities; in fact, the study of the impact of human activities is evident to one degree or another in many current research agendas. However, this area of the global change research agenda often requires interdisciplinary research, for which China will have to make certain changes in the way research currently is organized. Chinese Ecological Research Network Over the next five years, CAS will implement the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN) by upgrading 30 of its 52 ecological research and monitoring stations. CERN is an ambitious and important commitment by CAS to improve the way it conducts ecological research. The imposing information and data management
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration requirements will demand closer attention to quality assurance and quality control, documentation, and standards. The scope of this undertaking has significant implications for the types of contributions China can make to ecological studies and international scientific programs. SELECTED TOPICS In Chapter 5, the panel addresses two focal areas: atmospheric chemistry and physical and ecological interactions of the atmosphere and land surface. Within these areas, specific topics were chosen by the panel based on members' expertise and panel opinion about the relevance to U.S. and international research. It should be noted that no attempt was made to be comprehensive in examining all of the possible topics available for discussion in a given focal area. Atmospheric Chemistry The major energy source in China is coal. Emissions of particulate matter and SO2 from burning coal are major contributors to regional air pollution. These emissions not only contribute to urban and regional pollution problems such as oxidants and acid precipitation, but potentially also have global impacts. Remarkably high levels of tropospheric O3 over northeastern China and Japan in spring and summer have been deduced from satellite observations. Chinese atmospheric chemistry research has been conducted primarily in areas of urban pollution, for example, suspended particles, O3 and O3 precursors, and toxic species. Recently, there have been some important efforts to address large-scale background atmospheric chemistry issues that have regional or global implications. The major foci of these efforts include tropospheric oxidants, greenhouse gases, aerosols, stratospheric O3, and acid precipitation. However, these efforts are severely limited due to a lack of funding, advanced instruments, and expertise in a few global change-related disciplines. It appears that atmospheric chemistry is not a field of high priority. Trace Gases and Oxidants Research on trace gases other than urban air pollutants started in recent years when it was realized that all of the trace gases other than CO2 contribute equally as much as it does to climate change. Much of the attention has been on CH4, N2O, and CO2 emissions from various biogenic sources such as rice paddies and forests. Like many cities in the world, high levels of O3 are a major air
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration pollution problem in most of the urban areas in China. While O3 concentrations are routinely monitored over urban areas by local NEPA bureaux, few observations are being made in remote regions. An exception was the shipboard measurements of atmospheric O3 over the western Pacific Ocean. Aerosols Current research on aerosol chemistry in China is more limited than on other areas of atmospheric chemistry. Aerosol studies focus primarily on urban- and regional-scale problems. Only a few studies directly address global aerosol distributions and trends or link aerosols to climate change. Based on the information available to the panel, it appears that the importance of aerosols to climate change is not generally appreciated by researchers in China. Wind-blown dust is believed to contribute significantly to particulate loading, especially in northern China. Aerosol measurements over China, Japan, and the northern Pacific have convincingly demonstrated that dust storms originating from central Asia are the major sources of dust, sulfate, nitrate, and other particulate matter transported to the northern Pacific. Given the important role played by aerosol particles in atmospheric radiation, the effect of Asian dust storms on regional—as well as global—climate needs to be carefully studied. While China has programs to study the meteorological characteristics of dust storms, including the formation and transport of the storm's dust, a comprehensive program that addresses both chemical and physical properties of dust storms would be welcome. Stratospheric O3 At least four Chinese institutions are engaged in the development of one- and two-dimensional models for stratospheric chemistry studies. Because most of the stratospheric observations and laboratory measurements are carried out in the United States and Europe, Chinese modelers do not often have timely access to these data sets. Computer facilities are also somewhat inadequate to run fully coupled two-dimensional transport and chemical models efficiently. As a result, stratospheric models in China are not as advanced as those in developed countries. In particular, lack of access to observational data is a serious limitation for the development of Chinese stratospheric models. Chinese researchers are measuring O3, NO2, and the consumption of halons and CFCs.
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration Atmospheric Deposition National and regional programs on the measurement of precipitation chemistry are being carried out. Several institutes in China have the skilled personnel to make state-of-the-art determinations of precipitation composition and have done so on a regional basis. The data sets from these studies, especially the more recent ones, are of high quality and the publications resulting from those data are of interest to the global community. Unfortunately, the precipitation composition data available at this time generally are not adequate to address the question of China's impact on global change. The most intractable problem is one of data availability. If Chinese agencies do not provide open access to their data by scientists both within and outside China, then questions that require the use of precipitation data cannot be adequately answered. Physical and Ecological Interactions of the Atmosphere and Land Surface Hydrology Because of its vital importance to agriculture and economic development, water is considered by the Chinese to be the most precious natural resource. China's approach to studying the hydrological cycle probably will remain very focused on Chinese resource management issues and on social and economic impacts. The relationship between climate change and hydrology appears to be a priority, as evidenced by the work of the National Climate Change Coordination Group and by current and planned research by major institutions such as the Ministry of Water Resources and CAS. The panel identified research that focuses on two problems of water resource management. The first problem involves increased water pollution due to increasing population, urbanization, and demand for industrial and agricultural outputs. The second problem concerns the uneven distribution of water resources, since most of the water supply is concentrated in the southern part of China while the northern areas have experienced increasing levels of drought in recent years. Biotic Controls on Trace Gases The Chinese effort in biogeochemistry has numerous components relevant to land-atmosphere interactions. The panel reports on several that were observed in some depth. First, a program measuring
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration CH4 emissions from rice cultivation is in progress, conducted as bilateral collaborations between CAS and the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and between CAS and the U.S. Department of Energy. Second, the Chinese have initiated efforts to examine N2O production and CH4 consumption from upland soils at the CAS Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences. Third, an ambitious program of vegetation dynamics analysis at the CAS Institute of Botany supports national and regional estimates of carbon storage and primary productivity. Researchers are also conducting some studies of soil nutrients and organic matter. The barriers to interdisciplinary study of biogeochemistry in China are clear, given the disciplinary nature of the basic research and funding organizations. In addition, state-of-the-art research in biogeochemistry requires access to instrumentation, reliable analytical standards, and field site travel. All of these requirements can be constraining in China. However, many activities are quite vigorous and international collaboration is strong. The potential for increased collaboration seems high, and Chinese scientists are eager for enhanced activity in this area. Climate Change Effects on Land Cover Change Dynamics Research on land cover and land use change—particularly on historical change—is profuse. More recently, literature has begun to emerge that treats land cover change as part of global change science, although it is no more than regional in scope. Desertification is a major research area in China. Land use is a prominent issue in natural resources research and in the planning of China's national global change program. Contemporary and planned research on land cover change in China is fragmented and largely historical in approach. Research currently is a national program on phenomena driven, in part, by global mechanisms. Much of the work under way is in the category of historical analysis. Many components are available to develop a focused land cover change program in China: maps, remote sensing, historical records, and some modeling capacity. This is an area in which some catalytic action through international collaboration could make a big difference. SUMMARY Chapter 6 summarizes the panel's major findings concerning China's contributions to global change research and prospects for collabora-
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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration tion. The findings are not comprehensive, nor are recommendations made that would overreach the information the panel was able to collect. The panel concentrated on two areas: enhancing Chinese contributions to international research programs and enhancing bilateral collaborative science. While problems exist in the Chinese global change program and in the way science is organized in China, it should be pointed out that the Chinese are in good company. More importantly, the Chinese are already making significant contributions to global change research and have the potential for even greater contributions. Increasing collaboration with China in global change research would have direct benefits for all parties concerned. However, it is necessary to be realistic about how much of the potential can be turned into reality. As described in the report, many difficulties remain in conducting science in China, despite the many substantive improvements the Chinese have instituted since the early 1980s. In general, funding for science in China remains very limited and governmental support will likely remain driven by domestic priorities. It is reasonable to conclude that collaborative global change research and participation in international global change research programs will be highly dependent upon funding from bilateral and multilateral sources. Developing cooperative science agendas with China in any area is time consuming and requires much more than just a good idea for research. Limited funding and the way Chinese science is organized can combine to frustrate bilateral projects. The panel found strong potential for increased cooperation in all areas it examined. But, the development of actual cooperation most likely will require the involvement of personnel experienced in cooperative science projects in China and substantive resources to develop and administer the projects. These conditions will be especially important in larger scale projects and in any project requiring access to tightly controlled or fragmented sources of data.
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