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U.S. Global Change Research Program

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Council on Environmental Quality

U.S. Global Change Research Program

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) seeks to provide a sound scientific understanding of both the human and natural forces that influence the Earth's climate system. USGCRP science results provide useful information for environmental decision-making on issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, changes in ecosystems, and land use. This multi-agency effort is coordinated through the National Science and Technology Council.

For FY 2001, the President is requesting $1.74 billion for the USGCRP, an increase of $39 million above the amount enacted for FY 2000. $843 million is for scientific research and improvements to surface-based monitoring, (an increase of $79 million, or about 10 percent). $923 million is for NASA's development of Earth observing satellites to monitor climate change and other global changes (a decrease of $34 million, reflecting the phasing of funding for large development projects). Important USGCRP budget highlights include:

  • Improved Climate Observations. The FY 2001 budget provides $26 million to enhance NOAA surface-based observations, including creation of a climate reference network to provide, for the first time, automated, simultaneous, and ideally located measurements of changing temperatures, precipitation, and soil moisture. Measurements of atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, ocean temperatures, and ocean currents will also be expanded.
  • The Global Water Cycle. The FY 2001 budget provides $308 million (an increase of $35 million, or about 13 percent) for research on changes in the Earth's water cycle, which is one of the primary determinants of the Earth's climate. The water cycle is emerging as a top research priority because changes appear to occurring already. The launch of NASA's EOS Aqua spacecraft in December 2000 will support this research by provide new global measurements of humidity, cloud properties, precipitation, snow, and sea ice.
  • Ecosystem Changes. The FY 2001 budget provides $224 million for research on the potential impacts of climate change and other stresses on forests, coastal areas, croplands, and other ecosystems (an increase of $19 million, or 9 percent). New studies will improve our understanding of the relationships among land cover, land use, climate, and weather, and help identify “thresholds” for significant changes in ecosystems.
  • Carbon Cycle Initiative. The FY 2001 budget request continues strong support for the multi-agency carbon cycle science initiative begun in FY 2000, providing $227 million (an increase of $23 million or 11 percent). This request includes funds to study how carbon cycles between the atmosphere, the oceans, and land, and the role of farms, forests, and other natural or managed lands in capturing carbon. Such carbon “sinks” may help the United States and other nations offset greenhouse gas emissions. Key agencies include the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Energy, Interior, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. Included in the request is $13.5 million (an increase of over $12 million) to significantly expand USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service soil carbon inventory and analysis efforts.

Click here to return to the President's FY 2001 Climate Change budget


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