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USGS global change science strategy: A framework for understanding and responding to climate and land-use change

Open-File Report 2011-1033

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Abstract

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Global Change Science Strategy expands on the Climate Variability and Change science component of the USGS 2007 Science Strategy, “Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges: USGS Science in the Coming Decade” (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007). Here we embrace the broad definition of global change provided in the U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–606,104 Stat. 3096–3104)—“Changes in the global environment (including alterations in climate, land productivity, oceans or other water resources, atmospheric chemistry, and ecological systems) that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life”—with a focus on climate and land-use change.

There are three major characteristics of this science strategy. First, it addresses the science required to broadly inform global change policy, while emphasizing the needs of natural-resource managers and reflecting the role of the USGS as the science provider for the Department of the Interior and other resource-management agencies. Second, the strategy identifies core competencies, noting 10 critical capabilities and strengths the USGS uses to overcome key problem areas. We highlight those areas in which the USGS is a science leader, recognizing the strong partnerships and effective collaboration that are essential to address complex global environmental challenges. Third, it uses a query-based approach listing key research questions that need to be addressed to create an agenda for hypothesis-driven global change science organized under six strategic goals. Overall, the strategy starts from where we are, provides a vision for where we want to go, and then describes high-priority strategic actions, including outcomes, products, and partnerships that can get us there.

 Global change science is a well-defined research field with strong linkages to the ecosystems, water, energy and minerals, natural hazards, and environmental health components of the USGS Science Strategy (2007). When science strategies that cover these other components are developed, coordinated implementation will be necessary to achieve Bureau-level synergies and optimize capabilities and expertise.

In October 2010, USGS realigned its management and budget structure to implement its 2007 Science Strategy. The new organizational structure, in which “Global Change” is one of seven key mission areas, lends itself to the advancement of the established six strategic goals. USGS global change science is formally represented by the “Climate and Land-Use Change” Mission Area in the FY 2012 budget (USGS, 2011).

This plan was developed by the USGS Global Change Science Strategy Planning Team (SSPT) appointed by the USGS Director on March 4, 2010 and charged with developing a Global Change Science Strategy for the coming decade (McNutt, 2010). USGS managers and science staff are the main audience for this science strategy. This document is also intended to serve as the foundation for consistent USGS collaboration and communication with partners and stakeholders.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
USGS global change science strategy: A framework for understanding and responding to climate and land-use change
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2011-1033
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
iv, 32 p.
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N