|USGCRP Home Library Our Changing Planet FY2006 Appendix A: The Climate Change Science Program Participating Agencies Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey||| Search|
Updated 9 November 2005
OUR CHANGING PLANET
A Report by the Climate Change Science Program and
PDF version of the USGS section of the report
Links to related agency Web sites.
The hardcopy version of this report is available free of charge from the GCRIO Online Catalog
Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey
Principal Areas of Focus
DOI/USGS research contributes directly to CCSP strategic goals, principally through studies designed to understand the interactions between climate, earth surface processes, and ecosystems on time scales ranging from years to millennia. By combining the expertise of hydrologists, geologists, biologists, geographers, and remote-sensing scientists within one organization, USGS supports truly interdisciplinary research in the following major focus areas:
The goal of global change research at USGS is to improve knowledge and understanding of the Earth’s past and present climate and environment, the forces bringing about changes in the Earth’s climate, and the sensitivity and adaptability of natural and managed ecosystems to climate changes.
Program Highlights for FY 2006
Earth Surface Dynamics
The Earth Surface Dynamics program has the following research objectives:
Geographic Analysis and Monitoring
Research is directed to the understanding of the rates, causes, and consequences of landscape change over time. This knowledge is used to model processes of landscape change and to forecast future conditions. Studies are designed to document and understand the nature and causes of changes occurring on the land surface; to assess the impacts of land surface changes (including urbanization) on ecosystems, climate variability, biogeochemical cycles, hydrology, and human health; and to develop the best methods to incorporate science findings in the decisionmaking process.
Research on effects of climate change and variability on the hydrologic cycle focuses on characterizing, and developing predictive methods related to, the hydroclimatology of North America. This includes identification of seasonal variations in regional streamflow in relation to atmospheric circulation (for regional streamflow prediction and flood/drought hazard assessment); the linkage between atmospheric circulation and snowpack accumulation (for forecasting spring and summer water supply in the western United States and for flood forecasting), as well as glacier mass balance; and the physical and chemical variability in riverine and estuarine environments in relation to large-scale atmospheric and oceanic conditions (to discriminate natural from human-induced effects on such systems).
It also includes documenting the long-term behavior of hydrologic systems in response to past climatic variations and changes (from decades to hundreds of thousands of years) as well as more recent (decadal) hydrologic trends. The program maintains an active effort to develop improved representations of terrestrial hydrologic processes in general circulation and regional climate models. In broad terms, these activities are aimed at improving statistical and deterministic methods for predicting hydrologic hazards and related environmental conditions on monthly to interannual time scales.
USGS conducts a broad range of carbon cycle research focused on North America, which includes:
Changes in Ecosystems
USGS global change research on ecosystems aims to determine the sensitivity and response of ecosystems and ecological processes to environmental factors, including existing climate and natural and anthropogenic impacts, at the local, landscape, regional, and continental level; to assess and predict how future environmental conditions may affect the structure, function, and long-term viability of natural and human-impacted ecosystems; and to provide scientific knowledge and technologies needed for conservation, rehabilitation, and management of sustainable ecosystems. Current USGS ecosystems research focuses on:
Satellite Data Management and Dissemination
USGS operates and continually enhances the capabilities of the Center for Earth Resources Observation System (EROS) to serve as the National Satellite Land Remote-Sensing Data Archive, by maintaining existing data sets, adding new ones, and converting older data sets from deteriorating media to modern, stable media. The archive’s holdings are used for environmental research, land management, natural hazard analysis, and natural resource management and development with applications that extend well beyond U.S. borders. The worldwide community of archive users includes personnel in Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, researchers at academic institutions, private enterprise, and the public.
Land Use and Land Cover
The Land Cover Characterization Program was started in 1995, to address national and international requirements for land-cover data that were becoming increasingly sophisticated and diverse. The goal is to be a national and international center for excellence in land-cover characterization, via:
DOI also sponsors contributing research programs addressing the collection, maintenance, analysis, and interpretation of short- and long-term land, water, biological, and other geological and biological processes and resources through dispersed observing networks; research in land use and land cover, including creation of maps and digital data products; and inventorying and monitoring of biological habitats, resources, and diversity.