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Appendix B Comments on Projects in the Science Priority Elements of the FY 1991 USGCRP As part of its assessment, members of the Panel to Review the FY 1991 USGCRP reviewed brief descriptions of each of the projects identified in the Appendix of the F Y 1991 version of Our Changing Planet published in January 1990. The reviews considered several aspects of the projects, including relevance to the goals of the USGCRP, readiness of the scientific community, and international linkages. The materials provided by the CEES for this review were of uneven quality and scope. The panel's reviews were consequently limited and should not be construed as either comprehensive or definitive. Brief summaries of the reviews, organized by science priority elements, are given below. CLIMATE AVID HYDROLOGIC SYSTEMS The FY 1991 plan for the USGCRP establishes important new ac- tivities that address critical aspects of climate and hydrologic systems. As yet, however, no area within this science priority is comprehensively or adequately defined. Not addressed, as yet, are effects of the hydrologic cycle on climate and on other elements of the earth system. Significant new initiatives dealing with the management of global change data constitute a major budget element, particularly for NOAA and NASH Some diversity is desirable in data handling, but the degree of coordination in the plans available suggests there may be excessive duplica- tion and inadequate communication between agency laboratories carrying out similar functions. ~0
91 Approaches to climate and hydrological systems in the USGCRP are largely process oriented or regional and applied only near the United States. The only identified observational initiatives with a global perspective are the oceanographic studies WOCE and JGOFS. No global approaches or climate initiatives are identified in the area of land-climate interaction. There are new initiatives in oceanography from several agencies but many are regional. A comprehensive approach to polar issues is also lacking. In this science element, international planning has been quite productive, and the WCRP has developed several programs which reflect broad scientific input. Nevertheless, there are few apparent connections with the interna- tional programs of the WCRP or IGBP. U.S. involvement GEWEX and accelerated funding for WOCE would help remedy this deficiency. Two agencies, DOE and NASA, are making efforts to address the issue of the role of clouds in the earth's radiation and heat budget. Within NASA the role of clouds is addressed under several initiatives. These include the production of global data sets in the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment, which are crucial for this question, the continuation of the ISCCP program of cloud global data sets, and the First ISSCP Regional Experiment program of cloud-radiation process studies, which has been demonstrably successful but is in need of further support. The DOE effort in this area is focused on developing a network of surface observations. It was not clear to us how this effort is to develop the necessary parameterizations for cloud radiation in climate models, which are needed to improve confidence in model projections of future climate change. We concluded that there are still major gaps in the approach to clouds in the USGCRP, even though this is the top priority in the program as presently defined. NOAA plans exemplify mechanisms for coordinating agency efforts with other agencies and with the academic community. The TOGA program is a very successful example of coordination with the academic community and joint funding with the National Science Foundation. NOAA has been innovative in enlisting a broader community in formulating the plans for this important agency project. There are promising plans to expand this coordination in GEWEX, WOCE, and JGOFS. Some programs included in the Climate and Hydrologic Systems science element by other agencies show a lack of balance and focus that might well be remedied by involving a wider community in their formulation. BIOGEOCHEMICAL DYNAMICS The emerging field of biogeochemical dynamics is among the better developed in the global change effort, and many projects have now been developed over the past five or ten years. Most of them are directly relevant to meeting the high priority needs of the USGCRP; they are included
92 in the FY 1991 budget and deserve strong support. Into areas require additional emphasis. One is atmospheric chemistry modeling directed at the troposphere on regional and continental scales. Such models complement climate models and must be developed in parallel with them. The second is marine chemistry, of both surface and deep water, to augment efforts that currently address only CO2. For many projects in this science element, space-based observations are crucial for proper calibration, coverage, and data assimilation. A strong Earth Probes program would help to meet these needs, as would EOS, given its more comprehensive set of sensors and longer duration. In many areas in biogeochemical dynamics, as in other fields of global change research, there are serious limitations in human resources. The full spectrum of proposed grant, workshop, and post-doctoral support is needed to build the necessary cadre of workers. More important is the assurance of a sustained commitment to global change research to make careers in this area attractive. International collaboration is crucial for most research projects dealing with biogeochemical dynamics. The USGCRP should encourage these linkages, through IGAC and JGOFS, and with particular attention to Africa and Asia where participation of countries from these continents are currently lacking. Such links could be immediately fruitful through the joint development of emission inventories. ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND DYNAMICS The highest priority element in this area (Long-ltrm Measurements of Structure and Function) is poorly addressed by current and proposed programs. The NSF LTER program, included in the FY 1991 USGCRP budget, was established with long-term monitoring in mind, but it will be difficult to use data from a small number of sites to synthesize information on regional or global changes. The goal of the current LTER program to provide long-term monitoring is subverted by emphasis on process-level experiments and intersite comparisons. Nor do the established LTER sites sample areas of greatest change. The adaptation of the LTER network to needs of the USGCRP is a critical problem which should be addressed by a thorough, external review. In Priority 2 (Response to Climate and Other Stresses), USDA has a very good program in response to changes in ultraviolet light, and a good track record in understanding response to changes in temperature. More work on plant respiration is needed. Priority 3 (Interactions of Physical and Biological Processes) has been funded through the Ecosystems Studies Program at NSF. Although the track record is excellent, the program is now harmfully short of funds to support a healthy research community. Within
93 Priority 4 (Models of Interactions, Feedbacks and Responses) and Priority 5 (Productivity/Resource Models), the future plans in NSF Ecosystem studies and DOE CO2 research programs seem promising. The most promising programs are those offered by NOAA, EPA, and DOE. DOI elements are only vaguely defined, with the exception of streamwater quality. Within the USDA, programs to assess system response are well-founded, while those offered by the Soil Conservation Service reflect conventional interests, such as soil classification, with little apparent effort to modify anything to the particular needs of the USGCRP, such as the interaction of soils with vegetation. As in other areas, a critical shortfall of scientists and technicians needed for research can be foreseen, and it must be prevented if the USGCRP is to be sustained into the next century. EARTH SYSTEM HISTORY The projects included here involve mainly data archiving initiatives and paleoenvironmental studies (chiefly paleoclimatic and paleoecologi- cal). The data archiving efforts are important for example, the plans within NOAA to double the funding for its efforts in this area because determining data quality and temporal resolution are critical in recon- structing the past. Examples are the reconstructions developed through CLIMAP, COHMAP, and SPECMAP. However, a realistic assessment and better definition of where efforts should be concentrated require more in- formation than was available to us on how the activities related to earth system history are funded outside of the USGCRP. For example, NSF funds a great deal of Quaternary paleoclimatic study within programs that are not included in the FY 1991 budget for the USGCRP. A question repeatedly raised regarding this science priority is "What is included and what is not?" The IGBP effort in Past Global Changes (PAGES program) has identified two domains of temporal emphasis: the last 2000 yrs; and the late Quaterna~y period that embraces the major glaciations and the abrupt changes of climate (occurring over periods of 10 to 1000 yrs) that have punctuated past glaciations and interrupted glaciaLpost-glacial transitions, such as the Younger-Dryas event. The forth- coming report of the CGC addresses similar needs for the USGCRP science element on earth system history, with added attention to the changes of the more distant past that may yield information on fundamental processes in the earth system that could apply to anticipated, contemporary change. The addition seems to us a healthy one. It is still true, however, that in reviewing the projects included in this science element, as with those in the Solid Earth Process priority element, the more recent history of the earth system (i.e., chiefly the Quaternary) is probably the more important
94 for understanding the global changes that are anticipated in the next 100 years. We also note that the United States is being asked to play a special role in this area of the international program by co-sponsoring, with Switzerland, the Core Project Office for the PAGES program in Bern. We see this as an opportunity to strengthen U.S. science in the area at a minimal investment. HUMAN INTERACTIONS The human interactions component of the USGCRP introduces many complexities, mainly because it demands linkages between the natural and social sciences that have not existed in the past, and because within the social sciences, experience and development in this field of endeavor are not as far along as in other areas of global change research. The projects in the FY 1991 budget within this science element appropriately include a number of efforts to establish the base-line data required for understanding human interactions (e.g., land cover change, emission flux), create accessible data pools and electronic archives, and develop global emission modeling. Still, improvements are needed in several areas. Many of the projects do not focus on the underlying and most central concern, which is the human forces that drive global change (e.g., land use change, industrial metabolism, population growth). As a result, what is proposed appears peripheral to what might be termed the urgent goals of the program. The danger is that simplistic and aggregate data and assumptions on the human driving forces of global change, on impacts, and on natural resources will be used uncritically in other elements of the program. Emphasis must be placed on global data sets and on studies that link industrial metabolism and land-use change on regional and global scales in order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the societal actions that cause global change. The program defined by projects in the F'Y 1991 budget in this area differs fundamentally from that recommended by the CGC (NRC 1988~. The recommendations of the latter were for research on the human causes of global change; the FY 1991 budget for the USGCRP invests chiefly in the impacts of global change. The program must address both aspects. The program on human dimensions within NSF is to be commended for encouraging social scientists to consider global human systems as well as regional complexities. However, several potential problems should be watched for as this program develops: (1) much of the "global" research needed in the first stage is that of synthesis, which runs counter to the traditional NSF emphasis on original research and consequently may not fare well in the traditional peer review process; (2) encouraging social scientists to participate in the effort will bring in many individuals who
9s will require education on global change and nature-society interactions. This need should be addressed and provided for from the start; and (3) mechanisms are needed to ensure that on-going relevant work is not excluded. In addition, we recommend that particular efforts be undertaken to strengthen international linkages in the study of human interactions. There is as yet no established counterpart in the international social sciences community to the IGBP or the WCRP, although better understanding about human interactions is widely acknowledged as necessary in meeting the goals of the programs. We singled out the Human Dimensions priority as the most critically underfunded in the FY 1991 budget for the USGCRP, a fact that may reflect the state of readiness of the field. At the same time it-is unrealistic to expect the social science community to bend its efforts toward the ends of the program unless there are funds adequate to sustain participation and projects identified to channel it. If the FY 1991 budget recommendations are indicative of what will follow, there is neither enough funding nor adequate project definition for the human interactions component to keep abreast of the demands of the program. SOLID EARTH PROCESSES The USGCRP has evolved to the point that the two earth science program areas (solid earth processes and earth system history) can be reevaluated in light of developments since they were first incorporated in the program. The element on Solid Earth Processes receives the fourth largest funding of all the science elements, primarily because NASA activities in the area account for three-fourths of its funds. We did not have details on the NASA projects comparable to the information from other agencies, and it was not possible to assess the relevance of the projects. A feature of projects within this science element is that several were developed prior to the USGCRP, and were probably not selected on the basis of what was most needed for the specific focus of the program. Examples are the RIDGE and GEODYNAMICS activities included in the NSF budget for FY 1991. We recommend that these projects be reevaluated with respect to their qualifications as "focused" projects in the program, and that steps be taken to establish more uniform standards among agencies as to what constitutes "focused" and "contributing" projects. As in several other science priority areas, what appears to be lacking is a "zero-based" assessment of what the program as a whole requires, as opposed to an assemblage of what was already there through inheritance. The lack of initial direction can probably be expected at this stage in the early implementation of the program. We can hope for a more coordinated
96 effort in the program with further development of the Science Priority Task Group of the CEES. A notable need that is not addressed in this area is the study of soils, a key component in global change, including the response of soils to global change and the relationship of soils to the earth system. SOLAR INFLUENCES Initiatives in this area are wholly within NASA and NSF; they represent a reasonable attack on the policy-relevant questions that are included in the FY 1991 budget description. Whether these are the most appropriate questions for the specific focus of the USGCRP, or, in the case of the NSF budget, whether they merely justify previously initiated programs such as CEDAR and the proposed GEM, calls for review. We recommend that these be reassessed by the Task Group as to determine if they might be better classified as "contributing" rather than "focused" projects in the USGCRP, particularly in light of their emphasis on conditions in "geospace" and their potential importance as a significant climate driver. The proposed RISE initiative, directed at specifying variations in the radiative inputs from the sun, will address more fundamental issues in the area. NASA initiatives, including UARS and EOS, more clearly belong in the "focused" category. We suggest that CEES seek mechanisms whereby the scientific com- munity can provide advice on the scientific priorities and research needs for this science element. For example, the priority is one of two that were initiated by the CEES without the benefit of definition from the CGC. The CGC plans to establish an additional Working Group on the subject, which should be called upon to aid in future program definition. EARTH SYSTEM MODELING Efforts to upgrade global climate models or build toward complete global system models are not yet seriously under way in the United States. The NOAA initiative in the FY 1991 budget, which proposes a TOGA center to address seasonal-interannual forecasting and makes significant efforts toward `'extended range" forecasting, will contribute to meeting this need. NOAA also plans to focus efforts on developing modeling capabilities for global change on the time scale of decades to centuries. Other agencies may wish to join in the latter effort. In order for this activity to be a major integrating force in the USGCRP, it is also necessary to ensure that university community involvement is sufficiently large. The CHAMPP initiative within DOE addresses an important technological issue, which is the need for much more powerful computational resources and programming algorithms to make use of these capabilities.
97 - At present, the most advanced modeling centers in this count~y prin- cipally address the atmosphere; although there are some capabilities for global ocean modeling. Development of the necessary land component is only beginning, as is coupling with global tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry. A number of approaches to modeling ocean biogeochemical cycles are also under development. There are as yet no significant efforts to couple terrestrial biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem dynamics in earth system models. Whether such highly interdisciplinary efforts can build upon existing major programs i.e., as adjuncts to climate models-or whether they should be developed ah initio requires further examination. The CGC is currently developing in its forthcoming report specific recommendations regarding an overall U.S. strategy for the development of integrated earth system models. Some of the important issues that need to be considered are centralization vs. distributed models, the appropriate roles of university scientists of centers vs. those of federal agencies, the nature of needed connections with impact studies, and the role of the social science community in the overall modeling effort. As noted earlier in this report, a significant need in the USGCRP as defined in the F Y 1991 budget is definition of the appropriate mechanism for evaluating model results and impact studies and delivering them to policymakers. DATA AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS This component of the USGCRP has contributions from three agen- cies: NOAA, DOE, and NASA, in which the initiatives of NASA dominate. NASA elements include both observational and data systems, including Earth Probes, WARS, TOPEX, and NS CAT, which are all essential near- term components of the USGCRP. EOS has three parts: the near-term support of development of the EOS data and information system (EOS- DIS), support of interdisciplinary studies, and development of spacecraft hardware for EOS, to be launched toward the end of the decade. An evaluation of EOSDIS is included in Chapter 8 and Appendix C of this report. Within NOAA, the major activities proposed are data management, climate diagnostics and data base development on upper ocean/marine surface observations, sea level observations, and development and testing of measurement technique. As in other areas, it is important that these efforts involve the user community as much as possible. DOCUMENTING GLOBAL CHANGE This area is included in the CEES program for the USGCRP as an integral part of the effect on Data and Information Systems. A prioritized
98 list of the global variables that require sustained, long-term measurement has yet to be defined with broad consensus in the USGCRP. The NASA Earth System Sciences Committee presented such a list in its final report in 1988, which could seine as a starting point for broader and more current review, if not the final product. The EOS program has since defined, de facto, a proposed eventual space-based component to be complemented by measurements in the Earth Probe series, albeit over shorter periods of time. We believe that the detection of significant long-term global change is so central to the goals of the USGCRP, and so clear an obligation to future scientists, that it should be considered explicitly for added emphasis in the early stages of the program. The emphasis would ensure that the issue is addressed directly and in time to make a difference in planning observation systems, both in space and from the ground and the oceans.