to climate change; (3) calibration of remote sensing data; and (4) analysis of land-surface features by using airborne remote sensing techniques and satellite images.

  • Characteristics and trends of changes of the life-supporting environment in China. The objective will be to study methods of predicting global change in the life-supporting environment. Scientists will focus on three areas: (1) predictability of global change; (2) development of regional models to describe and interpret changes in climate and ecosystems (which are reflected in the data analyses of the previous topics); and (3) development of dynamic models of environmental change. This workshop topic is also a national key project (see below).

Under the Eighth 5-Year Plan, one of the most significant activities under 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.) Because the time scale is 50 years, the natural processes leading to soil property changes will not be considered; instead, the Chinese will study only human activities causing those changes. Because natural vegetation change is also a slow process (although quicker than that of soil), research will concentrate on sensitive or transitional zones (sections or zones between different climate regions) and will include the study of human influences on the processes of vegetation changes. The project was selected by SSTC, and Ye Duzheng is the lead scientist.

The CNCIGBP provided the panel with the following list of 32 projects relevant to the IGBP that were developed between 1981 and 1990:3

  • Study of the air-sea interaction in the tropical west Pacific region and its impact on annual climate change in China

  • Sino-Japanese cooperative study of the Kuroshio Ocean Current

  • Study of the Chinese Quaternary coastline and forecasting of sea-level and coastline changes

  • Study of aerosols over the Antarctic Ocean

  • Experimental observation and case study of comprehensive development and administration of eco-environmental resources in typical Chinese regions

  • Development of the Loess Plateau and global environmental change

  • Study of the content and distribution of carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen in China's lithosphere

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