USGCRP-Affiliated US Agencies
Dept. of Defense
Principal Areas of Focus
The Department of Defense (DOD)—while not supporting dedicated global change research—continues a history of participation in the CCSP through sponsored research that concurrently satisfies national security requirements and stated goals of the CCSP. All data and research results are routinely made available to the civil science community. DOD science and technology investments are coordinated and reviewed through the Defense Reliance process and published annually in the Defense Science and Technology Strategy, the Basic Research Plan, the Defense Technology Area Research Plan, and the Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan.
Program Highlights for FY 2009
Satellite Sensors and Observations
Global Observations and Models
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) supports a number of research programs that, while directed toward fulfilling the objectives outlined in the Naval Science and Technology Strategic Plan (available at <www.onr.navy.mil>), also project onto the science goals of the CCSP. Within the “Operational Environments” focus area, ONR incorporates both observational and modeling elements into major field programs designed to learn more about the underlying physics of the ocean and atmosphere. The development of new sensors, sensing platforms, and sensing strategies is supported in order to achieve these goals, and ongoing research into predictive systems for the ocean and atmosphere is supported, with the primary goal of improving environmental forecasts for DOD. Most of this basic research enhances fundamental understanding of the dynamics of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, and is thus relevant to climate change issues. A recent outcome of the program is a new coupled ocean-wave-atmosphere model for hurricanes which shows significant promise in improving forecasts of storm intensity. This work is being continued in FY 2009 under two new 5-year initiatives to study the generation of tropical cyclones and their impact on the thermal structure of the upper ocean. The research may lead to a better representation of these systems in climate simulations, and improved understanding of the sensitivity of these high-impact weather events to subtle changes in the Earth’s climate.
Polar Regions Research
The Navy, through its participation in the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, funds research related to climate change under the call for proposals “Coastal Effects of a Diminished-Ice Arctic Ocean.” The funded efforts explore ocean observing system strategies for the Alaska Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, changes in the circulation and wave dynamics of the coastal Arctic, the impact on coastal production and sediment transport, and the measurement and prediction of seasonal changes in sea-ice cover in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
Other DOD-sponsored research and supporting infrastructure also contribute to observing, understanding, and predicting environmental processes related to global change. Associated research programs include theoretical studies and observations of solar phenomena, monitoring and modeling of unique features in the middle and upper atmosphere, terrestrial and marine environmental quality research, and energy conservation measures. DOD’s continued investment in environmental infrastructure—such as the Oceanographic Research Vessel Fleet, and the various services’ operational oceanographic and meteorological computational centers—will continue to provide data and services useful to CCSP.