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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE

U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE
RESEARCH PROGRAM

Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Board on Environmental Change and Society

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

A Report of

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under award numbers NNH14CK78B and NNH14CK79D. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-45501-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-45501-4
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/24670

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Suggested citation: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

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Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Reports are peer reviewed and are approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

COMMITTEE TO ADVISE THE U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM

WARREN WASHINGTON (Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

KAI LEE (Vice Chair), David and Lucile Packard Foundation (ret.), Los Altos, CA

DOUG ARENT, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

SUSAN AVERY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, MA

ARRIETTA CHAKOS, Urban Resilience Strategies, Berkeley, CA

PETER DASZAK, EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY

THOMAS DIETZ, Michigan State University, East Lansing

KRISTIE L. EBI, University of Washington, Seattle

BARUCH FISCHHOFF, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

NANCY B. GRIMM, Arizona State University, Tempe

HENRY D. JACOBY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

ANTHONY C. JANETOS, Boston University, MA

JERRY M. MELILLO, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

RICHARD H. MOSS, University of Maryland, College Park

IAN NOBLE, ND-GAIN, Vienna, VA

MARGO OGE, Environmental Protection Agency (ret.), McLean, VA

KATHLEEN SEGERSON, University of Connecticut, Storrs

KATHLEEN TIERNEY, University of Colorado, Boulder

CHARLES J. VÖRÖSMARTY, City University of New York, NY

BRIAN L. ZUCKERMAN, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Washington, DC

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

AMANDA PURCELL, Associate Program Officer, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

PAUL C. STERN, Senior Scholar, Board on Environmental Change and Society

AMANDA STAUDT, Director, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE

A.R. RAVISHANKARA (Chair), Colorado State University, Fort Collins

SHUYI S. CHEN (Vice Chair), University of Miami, FL

CECILIA BITZ, University of Washington, Seattle

LANCE F. BOSART, State University of New York, Albany

MARK A. CANE, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

HEIDI CULLEN, Climate Central, Princeton, NJ

PAMELA EMCH, Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, CA

ARLENE FIORE, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, CO

MARY GLACKIN, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, Washington, DC

LISA GODDARD, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

MAURA HAGAN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

TERRI S. HOGUE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden

ANTHONY JANETOS, Boston University, MA

EVERETTE JOSEPH, State University of New York, Albany

RONALD “NICK” KEENER, JR., Duke Energy Corporation, Charlotte, NC

JOHN R. NORDGREN, The Kresge Foundation, Troy, MI

JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Arizona, Tucson

ARISTIDES A.N. PATRINOS, New York University, Brooklyn

DAVID A. ROBINSON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway

ALLISON STEINER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

DUANE WALISER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Ocean Studies Board Liaison

DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Polar Research Board Liaison

JENNIFER FRANCIS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Marion, MA

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

AMANDA STAUDT, Director

LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer

KATHERINE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer

LAUREN EVERETT, Program Officer

APRIL MELVIN, Associate Program Officer

AMANDA PURCELL, Associate Program Officer

YASMIN ROMITTI, Research Associate

RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator

SHELLY FREELAND, Financial Associate

ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate

MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant

ERIN MARKOVICH, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND SOCIETY

RICHARD H. MOSS (Chair), Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, MD

JOSEPH L. ARVAI, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

F. STUART CHAPIN III, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

RUTH DEFRIES, Columbia University, New York, NY

HALLIE C. EAKIN, Arizona State University, Tempe

RICHARD G. NEWELL, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Arizona, Tucson

STEPHEN POLASKY, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

J. TIMMONS ROBERTS, Brown University, Providence, RI

MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Honeywell, Inc. (ret.), Los Angeles, CA

ROBYN S. WILSON, The Ohio State University, Columbus

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff

TOBY WARDEN, Interim Board Director

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Senior Program Officer

HEATHER KREIDLER, Associate Program Officer

PAUL C. STERN, Senior Scholar

TINA M. LATIMER, Program Coordinator

MARY GHITELMAN, Program Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in their review of this report:

Kevin R. Arrigo, Stanford University, CA

Anthony Bebbington, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Robert W. Corell, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Arlington, VA

Katharine L. Jacobs, University of Arizona, Tucson

Philip J. Rasch, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Thomas H. Vonder Haar, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Duane E. Waliser, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Richard N. Wright, National Institute of Standards and Technology (ret.), Montgomery Village, MD

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David M. Karl, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and Gary W. Yohe, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee would also like to Tom Karl, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (ret), Asheville, NC; Virginia Burkett, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA; Susanne Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting, Santa Cruz, CA; and Tony Busalacchi, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO for their input to the committee’s deliberations. In addition, the committee would like to thank Michael Bernstein, Arizona State University, Tempe, who provided support to the committee through a number of research tasks.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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Preface

The United States is a complex nation in a complex world. In many countries, economic growth has brought undreamed-of prosperity. At the same time, the industrial economy on which the global economy was founded burns fossil fuels, clears forest lands, spreads fertilizers, and releases industrial chemicals unknown in natural ecosystems. Urbanization drives transformations in land use, agriculture, and resource exploitation. These and other transformative forces are altering our ocean and atmosphere—and the climate that is the product of their interactions—in unprecedented ways. These global changes are increasingly visible in our everyday affairs, for example in droughts and storms, and their associated threats to individual and community well-being.

Acquiring knowledge of our changing planet, and the risks and opportunities that those changes bring to the United States and the world, is also a complex enterprise. It is a collaboration among scientists and analysts from across many disciplines, around the nation and the world, utilizing instruments in outer space, the deep ocean, and every social and economic setting. Within the U.S. government, this collaboration has brought together agencies and departments across the federal family. From their work has come an understanding of global environmental change that did not exist just a few decades ago. Global change science has led to a more sophisticated view of humans’ role in altering environmental processes, and this includes a scientific consensus that anthropogenic changes can now be clearly discerned in the observational record. This scientific knowledge has informed many decisions, in households, businesses, and local, state, and national governments, as well as in the international arena, making these decisions more effective and efficient. There is much still to be learned, but no doubt remains that humans exert a powerful force on climate and other forces driving global change.

Much of this scientific effort was mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, a law implemented initially by President George H.W. Bush and continued by every administration since then. This is a significant act of presidential leadership, coordinated by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in the White House. Some of the major achievements of this Program are described in this report.

The Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program is the body within the National Academies responsible for advising the USGCRP. We are indebted to the independent reviewers who read our final draft and provided comments, which the committee took into account in preparing the final version of the report. These experts are listed in the Acknowledgments, whom we thank again for their rigorous critique.

In providing this advice, the committee worked under the guidance of the presidents and governing board of the National Academies. We wish to acknowledge in particular our colleague, Dr. Ralph Cicerone, the late president of the National Academy of Sciences. Ralph was a leader of the scientific study of global environmental change, and he worked with us and many others to explore how those changes might become part of a transition to a durable, sustainable and humane future. We cherish the memory of his calm and rigorous presence and the twinkle that lit his eye from time to time.

Warren M. Washington, Chair

Kai N. Lee, Vice-Chair

Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24670.
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The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is an interagency program, established by the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990, mandated by Congress to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change”. Since the USGCRP began, scientific understanding of global change has increased and the information needs of the nation have changed dramatically.

A better understanding of what is changing and why can help decision makers in the public and private sectors cope with ongoing change. Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program highlights the growth of global change science in the quarter century that the USGCRP has been in existence, and documents some of its contributions to that growth through its primary functions of interagency planning and coordination, and of synthesis of research and practice to inform decision making.

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