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Updated 15 April, 2004
International Research Cooperation
USGCRP Cross-cutting Activity


See also links to USGCRP-Related International Programs

For long term plans, see International Research & Cooperation chapter of the Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program (2003) posted on CCSP web site.

U.S. scientists and research institutions supported by the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) participating agencies coordinate many of their programs with those of their counterparts in other countries, thus providing essential inputs to the increasingly complex models that enable scientists to improve analysis and prediction of global change. Some highlights of recent, ongoing, and planned global change research and related activities in which CCSP-supported scientists are heavily involved, and for which international cooperation, participation, and support are especially important, include:

Bilateral Cooperation on Climate Change Research and Technology

President Bush has stressed the role of bilateral cooperation in addressing climate change, acknowledging that all countries must actively work together to achieve the long-term goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The United States has moved forward aggressively to build on our already extensive bilateral relationships with key partners in the developed and developing world, including the European Union, Italy, Japan, China, India, and Australia and we intend over the next year to expand bilateral discussions to include a number of additional countries.

The White House announced in July 2001 that the United States and Italy had agreed to cooperate in climate change research and technology within four broad areas: global and regional climate modeling; atmospheric studies related to climate; carbon cycle research; and low carbon technologies (see United States and Italy Pledge Joint Research on Climate Change, press release, US Department of State, 19 July 2001). As the first step in developing such cooperation, science program managers from both countries met in Rome in January 2002.

The objectives of this initial interaction were to identify, first, specific scientific areas in which joint research is needed; and, second, specific actions to develop such research and a timetable for these actions (see U.S.-Italy Joint Statement on Climate Change Research Meeting,  press release, US Department of State, 23 January 2002)

The United States and Japan agreed in February 2002 to cooperate on a broad range of joint climate change science and technology research activities (see press release issued by Japan Ministry of the Environment, 26 February 2002). This consensus was developed at the second meeting of the Climate Change Science and Technology Working Group, which had been established earlier through U.S.-Japan High-Level Consultations. This meeting was conducted under the June 2001 agreement of President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi to undertake "high-level U.S.-Japan government-to-government consultations to explore common ground and areas for common action on climate change." The two sides identified more than 40 joint climate change science and technology research activities for possible implementation. (see Bush-Koizumi Joint Statement,  press release, US Department of State,  30 June 2001)

Multilateral Collaboration in Research

U.S. Government research agencies and CCSP-supported scientists are active participants in a number of important international research programs and assessment activities, including those sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These include the WMO's triennial scientific assessments of ozone depletion,  the assessments prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)., and the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP).

U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Global Change Research

The USGCRP, through the Working Group on International Research and Cooperation, supports very active collaboration with Japan in global change research. The overall coordinating mechanism for this bilateral effort is the U.S.-Japan Liaison Group on Geosciences and Environment. The Liaison Group meets annually to coordinate and support a wide range of activities, including more than 100 bilateral collaborative arrangements.

In October 2001 the Liaison Group, the USGCRP, and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology supported the 9th U.S.-Japan Workshop on Global Change Research [PDF]. The workshop, held in Tokyo, focused on carbon cycle management and terrestrial ecosystems. More than 60 American and Japanese scientists participated. Both the Japanese and U.S. scientists involved in the workshop are looking for ways to advance two key recommendations, one dealing with building model data sets and the second addressing the development of new research tools for measuring plant responses to CO2 enrichment. This year, the United States will host the 10th workshop, which will focus on global change and the water cycle.

Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) instrument

Japan (and also Brazil) cooperated on NASA's Aqua satellite mission. Aqua, which was launched in May 2002, will obtain a precise set of data on the atmosphere and ocean to understand their role in the Earth's climate and its variations. Japan supplied the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) instrument on Aqua. AMSR-E is providing improved rainfall-mapping capabilities outside the tropics. To validate AMSR-E data, the United States and Japan will jointly carry out several validation activities, including a validation campaign in the Sea of Japan.

Observations in Support of Global Change Research

To expand international cooperation, the President has announced that the United States will invest $25 million in climate observing systems in developing countries.

The primary goal is to promote development and expansion of global observing systems through the Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) and the Argo program for ocean observations, through further multilateral and bilateral cooperative efforts similar to those already initiated.

International Cooperation in Satellite Remote Sensing

NASA leads the United States' cooperation with other countries in a broad range of satellite remote-sensing activities in support of global change research. These programs have strong involvement from Europe, Canada, Japan, and Central America.

Two examples of such international cooperation include:

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)

To build on the successes of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the United States and Japan, together with other international partners, are planning a new initiative for the study of atmospheric precipitation on a global basis. The GPM initiative will utilize a constellation of satellites and an advanced data processing system to produce global rainfall distribution maps every three hours.

These products may be used, not only in meteorological and climate research, but also in many application areas, such as weather forecasting, water resource management, flood warning, and agriculture management.

Ground-based and Suborbital Measurement

SOLVE logoThe United States works with many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central America on ground and suborbital measurements to quantify information and perform satellite validation. Examples of these activities include the Aerosol Robotic Network (Aeronet); the space geodetic network; and SOLVE, an aircraft campaign that assesses ozone changes in the North polar regions.

Climate and Societal Interactions

The Climate and Societal Interactions Program supports Regional Climate Outlook Fora, pilot application projects, workshops, training sessions, capacity building, and technical assistance for better understanding of climate variability and extreme events, and for prediction and forecasting capability and data management, in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. The Radio Internet (RANET) Project will improve access to and operation of information systems for climate and weather in support of the above activities. Currently, RANET has developed over Africa and is expanding to parts of Southeast and South Asia.

The International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI)

A center for climate modeling and applications supported by the United States and Taiwan, the IRI cooperates in climate science and modeling with Japan and Taiwan, and works closely with national labs, applications research programs, and the broader university community to build the capacity and regional networks to help countries cope with and adapt to climate variability. The IRI generates useful knowledge and information related to climate and society. Recent examples include the release of a timely report entitled "The Drought and Humanitarian Crisis in Central and Southwest Asia: A Climate Perspective" (November 2001), and a training effort focused on climatic variability and food security. The training is designed to advance the capacity of developing countries to utilize scientific information to address climate-sensitive dimensions of agricultural production.

A Joint Study With the Peoples Republic of China/Chinese Academy of Sciences-China Meteorological Administration (CMA)

The United States and China continue a collaboration in climate sciences, with a focus on the comparative study of regional climate change in both countries. Key components include preparing climate data for validating and improving global and regional general circulation climate models, and using the improved models to understand and project regional climate changes and the associated impacts resulting from increasing greenhouse gases and aerosols due to anthropogenic activities. Recent major accomplishments in this area include: the development of a 2000-year time series of winter half-year temperature reconstructions (primarily from rainfall data) for the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers; and measurements (primarily of methane) of emissions from agricultural systems in China and their effects on the carbon cycle. The Science Team for this study plans to meet during the first part of 2003 in China.

The International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA)

IGFA facilitates international global change research in the natural, economic, and social sciences by bringing the perspective of national funding agencies to strategic research planning and implementation. At its October 2001 meeting, IGFA member nations reported generally stable levels of funding for global change research. In Spain, Germany, the U.K., South Africa, and Switzerland, new centers were established to study global change research. The Netherlands, Japan, and Germany are developing new computing facilities, while the U.S. and Taiwan announced new initiatives on satellites/space programs, especially the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC). An agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan was signed to launch the COSMIC program in 2005.

See also:

International Research and Cooperation [also available: PDF Version].  Chapter 15 from the Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program (July 2003).See also the draft white paper, International Cooperation in Climate Change Science  [PDF] (posted 27 Nov 2002)

International Collaboration.  Presentation from Breakout Session 12 of the US Climate Change Science Program: Planning Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders, 3-5 December 2002, Washington, DC. 


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