Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (2017)Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
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Established under the Global Research Act of 1990, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has provided strategic planning and coordination to 13 participating federal agencies working to advance the science of global environmental change. This new report highlights notable accomplishments of the program, both in through its coordinating work and the many synthesis and assessment products it has published to share research findings with decision makers and the public.
One of the first priorities of the program was to address the need for a global observational system. Today there is a large and growing portfolio of global measurements from space designed to inform global change science. Other demonstrable contributions of USGCRP include significant improvements in Earth-system modeling capabilities and advancement in understanding of carbon-cycle processes. USGCRP has also made considerable strides in making scientific knowledge more useful to decision makers. For example, it has documented substantial increases in heavy downpours in most regions of the United States over the past 50 years, which can cause flooding that overwhelms the existing infrastructure of sewers and roads. Awareness of such trends can help governments, businesses, and citizens respond accordingly in many realms, including agriculture, conservation, and human health.
In the face of increasing impacts from climate change and other global changes, the report recommends that the USGCRP build on its accomplishments by sustaining, expanding, and coordinating observations of the Earth system and maintaining a balanced program of discovery-driven and use-inspired research to support the needs of the nation at local, regional, national, and global scales. USGCRP will need to make further progress in incorporating the social sciences into its work to provide the information needed to effectively and efficiently manage current and likely consequences of global change.