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GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE: Research Pathways for the Next Decade
NASA. The third component requires both new funds, which have begun to appear in the proposed fiscal year 1999 budget and sharper focus in using existing funds. With regard to the second component above, it is crucial to recognize that, even if NOAA were to assume prime responsibility for the USGCRP space-based monitoring program, NASA would continue to have significant data-processing responsibilities including reanalyses. Finally, the issue of the U.S. Department of Defense's role and influence on the observational space-based monitoring program must be addressed by USGCRP.
Innovation is essential for scientific progress in global change research. Many needs illuminate the importance of innovation, foresight, and testability in this field:
Obtaining simultaneous high-resolution observations with high sensitivity of the sea surface and the marine boundary layer.
Determining fluxes of carbon species into and out of broad categories of ecosystems.
Establishing patterns of land use and the state of vegetation.
Observing the vertical profiles of temperature, salinity, velocity, and tracer concentrations in the oceans.
Establishing the distribution of water in the atmosphere and the fluxes of water between the Earth's surface and the Earth's atmosphere.
Obtaining isotopic composition of water in the middle/upper troposphere.
Determining systematically the concentrations and concentration derivatives of catalytically active free radicals at altitudes from the sea surface to the middle stratosphere.
Obtaining observations along Lagrangian trajectories to dissect aerosol formation processes.
There is also a fundamental problem in global change observations that can be attacked only by technical innovation. The ocean-atmosphere-biosphere is seriously undersampled—mechanistically, spatially, and temporally.
Finding 4: The capability, availability, cost, and character of observational platforms are critical considerations in global change research strategies. Observational platforms are the foundation of the nation's research efforts, and the design of these platforms can profit significantly from the lessons learned in carrying out global change research to date. Consideration of these lessons demonstrates that the successful execution of global change research is closely tied to technical innovation. Investment in observational platforms to date has focused on a small number of large satellites, a limited number of marginally funded