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Carbon Monoxide from California Fires
Large fires can be blamed for some polluted air. In addition to ash and smoke, fires release carbon monoxide into the atmosphere as they burn. This false-color image shows the atmospheric column of carbon monoxide, with yellow and red indicating high levels of pollution. (The gray areas show where no data were taken, likely due to cloud cover.) The data were taken by the Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite for the period October 26-31, 2003.
A Curious Pacific Wave
This brief article discusses about a massive swell of water that was buffeting South America. Kelvin waves are warm bumps in the Pacific Ocean, characterized by a gentle yet massive swell of warm water. Usually not much happens when a Kelvin wave arrives -- beach combers experience a bit of extra rain, perhaps, and slightly warmer surf. Nevertheless, scientists pay careful attention to them because these gentle waves occasionally herald something far more powerful: the next El Niño.
Climate Change and Human Health, USGCRP Seminar, 10 July 1995.
In this USGRP Seminar, Dr. Epstein discusses the implications of climate change and the emergence of diseases and viruses such as the hantavirus, dengue fever, ebola, cholera, malaria, and eastern equine encephalitis. These signals of global change can be costly to health, commerce, tourism, and transportation.
Climate Change 1995: IPCC Second Assessment Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) completed its Second Assessment Report in December 1995. The major conclusions are that greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing, the global climate has been changing, and will likely continue to change, probably due to human influence.
Plausible Biological Cause For Major Climate Events
Scientific news article about Snowball Earth eras. These are times when ice periodically covered the globe, and the era called the Cambrian Explosion, which produced the first fossils of almost all major categories of animals living today.
Climate Models: How Certain are their Projections of Future Climate Change? USGCRP Seminar, 12 June 1995.
This document provide a brief overview of Dr. Eric J. Barron's talk on the results of the USGCRP-sponsored forum to evaluate the results of model simulations of climate change, a cross-section of leading climate and Earth system modelers and skeptics considered what is known with certainty, what is known with less certainty, and what remains uncertain.
Past Global Changes (PAGES) Status Report and Implementation Plan
This document summarizes progress made thus far by the Past Global Changes (PAGES) programme element of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). The document also outlines the implementation plans for most of the Foci, Activities and Tasks currently within the PAGES remit. The plan first introduces the scope and rationale of PAGES science and explains how PAGES is organized structurally and scientifically to achieve its goals. For all of the palaeosciences relevant to IGBP goals, PAGES has sought to identify and create the organizational structures needed to support continued work and progress. Models intended to predict future environmental changes must, in order to demonstrate their effectiveness, be capable of accurately reproducing conditions known to have occurred in the past. Through the organization of coordinated national and international scientific efforts, PAGES seeks to obtain and interpret a variety of palaeoclimatic records and to provide the data essential for the validation of predictive climate models. PAGES activities include integration and intercomparison of ice, ocean and terrestrial palaeorecords and encourages the creation of consistent analytical and data-base methodologies across the palaeosciences. PAGES has already played a crucial role in the archiving, management and dissemination of palaeodata. This is fully summarized in the recently published Global Palaeoenvironmental Data Workshop Report (95-2). The growing significance of this type of activity is evidenced by the steep increase in consultation and use of the data currently in the public domain and accessible electronically, and by the growing importance of such data for model validation and intercomparison.
START Implementation Plan 1997-2002
The primary goals of the SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training in global change science (START), which is co-sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP); the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP); and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) are to promote regional global change science and to enhance the capacity of individuals, institutions and developing regions to undertake such research. START capacity building initiatives include the recognition that human capacity building is much more than training and that, as with all development, sustainable development is best. Once-off training exercises are easy to organize, but are the least effective method of capacity enhancement and result in large cost/benefit ratios. In contrast, sustained development of human capacity through continual involvement with research maximizes efficiency and minimizes the cost/benefit ratio. START seeks to enhance regional global change research while at the same time enhancing the individual and institutional capacity to conduct such research. The details as to how START operates, and how it plans to encompass its vision and meet its objectives are given in the START Implementation Plan.
Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (SR-LULUCF) has been prepared in response to a request from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). At its eighth session in Bonn, Germany, 2-12 Ju and technical implications of carbon sequestration strategies related to land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. The scope, structure, and outline of this Special Report was approved by the IPCC in plenary meetings during its Fourteenth Session. This Special Report examines several key questions relating to the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the terrestrial pool of aboveground biomass, below-ground biomass, and soils. Vegetation exchanges carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere through photosynthesis and plant and soil respiration. This natural exchange has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years. Humans are changing the natural rate of exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere through land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. The aim of the SR-LULUCF is to assist the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol by providing relevant scientific and technical information to describe how the global carbon cycle operates and what the broad-scale opportunities and implications of ARD and additional human-induced activities are, now and in the future. This Special Report also identifies questions that Parties to the Protocol may wish to consider regarding definitions and accounting rules.
Assessment of Knowledge on Impacts of Climate Change - Contribution to the Specification of Art. 2 of the UNFCCC: Impacts on Ecosystems, Food Production, Water and Socio-economic Systems
The purpose of this report is to compile and summarise the present knowledge on impacts of climate change as a basis for a consideration of what may constitute dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system under Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). An attempt will be made to associate projected global mean surface temperature and/or sea level changes with specific identified impacts and effects in order to assist a discussion on the operationalization of Article 2. The main emphasis will be on ecosystem effects, food production, water resources, and sustainable development.
Emissions Scenarios
This Report describes climate change scenarios that extend to the end of the 21st century and how they were developed. The scenarios cover a wide range of the main driving forces of future emissions, from demographic to technological and economic developments. The set of emissions scenarios is based on an extensive assessment of the literature, six alternative modeling approaches, and an "open process" that solicited wide participation and feedback from many groups and individuals. The SRES scenarios include the range of emissions of all relevant species of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and sulfur and their driving forces.
WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1995
There is continuing international concern about global warming and its potential to cause serious disruption to vulnerable social and economic sectors of society as well as to sustainable development efforts. As recently as December 1995, scientists of the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environment Programme (WMO/UNEP) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate", through emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, there is a developing capability within national Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to provide comprehensive information on past, present, and future (seasons to a year ahead) climate and its variations, to a wide spectrum of users. The rapid development of global communications systems means that such information can be provided on a timely basis and is, therefore, of great use to national decision makers.
Science Perspectives on the CCSP Strategic Plan
Scientists offer comments on the Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan
Constitution of the People's Republic of China (excerpts of envivonment-related articles)
Excerpts of envivonment-related articles in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China.
Toxic Substances Control Act
The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides. TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the Act's common name with amendments in 1977. Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters. The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.
Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System: Issues related to hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons
This Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone and the Global Climate System has been developed in response to invitations from Parties to the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol. It provides information relevant to decision-making in regard to safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system: two global environmental issues involving complex scientific and technical considerations.
Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
This report provides information for policy makers, scientists and engineers in the field of climate change and reduction of CO2 emissions. It describes sources, capture, transport, and storage of CO2, as well as the costs, economic potential, and societal issues of the technology, including public perception and regulatory aspects.
Scenarios of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Atmospheric Concentrations
This and a companion report constitute one of twenty-one Synthesis and Assessment Products called for in the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. These studies are structured to provide high-level, integrated research results on important science issues with a particular focus on questions raised by decision-makers on dimensions of climate change directly relevant to the U.S. One element of the CCSP's strategic vision is to provide decision support tools for differentiating and evaluating response strategies. Scenario-based analysis is one such tool. The scenarios in this report explore the implications of alternative stabilization levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, and they explicitly consider the economic and technological foundations of such response options. Such scenarios are a valuable complement to other scientific research contained in the twenty-one CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products. The companion to the research reported here, Global-Change Scenarios: Their Development and Use, explores the broader strategic frame for developing and utilizing scenarios in support of climate decision making.
Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region
This document is part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. The U.S. Government's CCSP is responsible for providing the best science-based knowledge possible to inform management of the risks and opportunities associated with changes in the climate and related environmental systems. To support its mission, the CCSP has commissioned 21 "synthesis and assessment products" (SAPs) to advance decision making on climate change-related issues by providing current evaluations of climate change science and identifying priorities for research, observation, and decision support. This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP), developed as part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, examines potential effects of sea-level rise from climate change during the twenty-first century, with a focus on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Using scientific literature and policy-related documents, the SAP describes the physical environments; potential changes to coastal environments, wetlands, and vulnerable species; societal impacts and implications of sea-level rise; decisions that may be sensitive to sea-level rise; opportunities for adaptation; and institutional barriers to adaptation.
Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations
This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 3.1) focuses on the Climate models. Scientists extensively use mathematical models of Earth's climate, executed on the most powerful computers available, to examine hypotheses about past and present-day climates. Development of climate models is fully consistent with approaches being taken in many other fields of science dealing with very complex systems. These climate simulations provide a framework within which enhanced understanding of climate-relevant processes, along with improved observations, are merged into coherent projections of future climate change. This report describes the models and their ability to simulate current climate.
Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems
This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers could use to improve the likelihood of success for the resources they manage, even under conditions of incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when changes will occur.
Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands
This document is part of the Synthesis and Assessment Products described in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. Changes in extreme weather and climate events have significant impacts and are among the most serious challenges to society in coping with a changing climate. This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 3.3) focuses on weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. Many extremes and their associated impacts are now changing. For example, in recent decades most of North America has been experiencing more unusually hot days and nights, fewer unusually cold days and nights, and fewer frost days. Heavy downpours have become more frequent and intense. Droughts are becoming more severe in some regions, though there are no clear trends for North America as a whole. The power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased substantially in recent decades, though North American mainland land-falling hurricanes do not appear to have increased over the past century. Outside the tropics, storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are becoming even stronger. It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming. No formal attribution studies for changes in drought severity in North America have been attempted. There is evidence suggesting a human contribution to recent changes in hurricane activity as well as in storms outside the tropics, though a confident assessment will require further study.
Trends in Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances, Ozone Layer Recovery, and Implications for Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure
This Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 2.4) focuses on the Climate models. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer by human-produced ozone-depleting substances has been recognized as a global environmental issue for more than three decades, and the international effort to address the issue via the United Nations Montreal Protocol marked its 20-year anniversary in 2007. Scientific understanding underpinned the Protocol at its inception and ever since. As scientific knowledge advanced and evolved, the Protocol evolved through amendment and adjustment. Policy-relevant science has documented the rise, and now the beginning decline, of the atmospheric abundances of many ozone-depleting substances in response to actions taken by the nations of the world. Projections are for a return of ozone-depleting chemicals (compounds containing chlorine and bromine) to their "pre-ozone-depletion" (pre-1980) levels by the middle of this century for the midlatitudes; the polar regions are expected to follow suit within 20 years after that. Since the 1980s, global ozone sustained a depletion of about 5 percent in the midlatitudes of both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, where most of the Earth's population resides; it is now showing signs of turning the corner towards increasing ozone. The large seasonal depletions in the polar regions are likely to continue over the next decade but are expected to subside over the next few decades.
Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts
This report critically reviews current knowledge about global distributions and properties of atmospheric aerosols as they relate to aerosol impacts on climate. It assesses possible steps to substantially reduce uncertainties in aerosol radiative forcing estimates.
Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols
This report focuses on the Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios. The influence of greenhouse gases and particle pollution on our present and future climate has been widely examined. While both long-lived (e.g., carbon dioxide) and short-lived (e.g., soot) gases and particles affect the climate, other projections of future climate, such as the IPCC reports focus largely on the long-lived gases. This U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product provides a different emphasis. The authors examine the effect of long-lived greenhouse gases on the global climate based on updated emissions scenarios produced by another CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP 2.1a). In these scenarios, atmospheric concentrations of the long-lived greenhouse gases leveled off, or stabilized, at predetermined levels by the end of the twenty-first century (unlike in the IPCC scenarios). However, the projected future temperature changes fall within the same range as those projected for the latest IPCC report. The authors confirm the robust future warming signature and other associated changes in the climate.
The North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle
A primary objective of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is to provide the best possible scientific information to support public discussion, as well as government and private sector decision making, on key climate-related issues. To help meet this objective, the CCSP has identified an initial set of 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs) that address its highest priority research, observation, and decision support needs. This report-CCSP SAP 2.2-addresses Goal 2 of the CCSP Strategic Plan: Improve quantification of the forces bringing about changes in the Earth's climate and related systems. The report provides a synthesis and integration of the current knowledge of the North American carbon budget and its context within the global carbon cycle. In a format useful to decision makers, it (1) summarizes our knowledge of carbon cycle properties and changes relevant to the contributions of and impacts upon North America and the rest of the world, and (2) provides scientific information for decision support focused on key issues for carbon management and policy. Consequently, this report is aimed at both the decision-maker audience and to the expert scientific and stakeholder communities.
Future Climate Change Research and Observations: GCOS, WCRP and IGBP Learning from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Learning from the authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and its findings to help guide future strategies for climate change observations and research was the key objective of a workshop organised jointly by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) in Sydney, Australia, 4-6 October 2007.
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences
This Synthesis and Assessment Product is an important revision to the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human-induced global warming. Specifically, surface data showed substantial global-average warming, while early versions of satellite and radiosonde data showed little or no warming above the surface. This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected. New data sets have also been developed that do not show such discrepancies. This Synthesis and Assessment Product is an important revision to the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For recent decades, all current atmospheric data sets now show global-average warming that is similar to the surface warming. While these data are consistent with the results from climate models at the global scale, discrepancies in the tropics remain to be resolved. Nevertheless, the most recent observational and model evidence has increased confidence in our understanding of observed climatic changes and their causes.
Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes
This Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product addresses current capabilities to integrate observations of the climate system into a consistent description of past and current conditions through the method of reanalysis. In addition, the Product assesses present capabilities to attribute causes for climate variations and trends over North America during the reanalysis period, which extends from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This Product reviews Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes. Paleoclimate records play a key role in our understanding of Earth's past and present climate system and in our confidence in predicting future climate changes. Paleoclimate data help to elucidate past and present active mechanisms of climate change by placing the short instrumental record into a longer term context and by permitting models to be tested beyond the limited time that instrumental measurements have been available. Recent observations in the Arctic have identified large ongoing changes and important climate feedback mechanisms that multiply the effects of global-scale climate changes. As discussed in this report, paleoclimate data show that land and sea ice have grown with cooling temperatures and have shrunk with warming ones, amplifying temperature changes while causing and responding to ecosystem shifts and sea-level changes.
NOAA Reports Potent Greenhouse Gas Levels Off
This document provides a summary of a study by NOAA researchers and National Institute for Space Research in the Netherlands. According to the study, one of the atmosphere's most potent greenhouse gases, methane, may now have leveled off. Scientists aren't sure yet if this "leveling off" is just a temporary pause in two centuries of increase or a new state of equilibrium.
Reanalysis of Historical Climate Data for Key Atmospheric Features: Implications for Attribution of Causes of Observed Chan
This Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product addresses current capabilities to integrate observations of the climate system into a consistent description of past and current conditions through the method of reanalysis. In addition, the Product assesses present capabilities to attribute causes for climate variations and trends over North America during the reanalysis period, which extends from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This Product reviews the strengths and limitations of current atmospheric reanalysis products. It finds that reanalysis data play a crucial role in helping to identify, describe, and understand atmospheric features associated with weather and climate variability, including high-impact events such as major droughts and floods. Reanalysis data play an important role in assessing the ability of climate models to simulate the average climate and its variations. The data also help in identifying deficiencies in representations of physical processes that produce climate model errors.
NOAA Makes New Tree Ring Data Available
New data from tree rings from 500 sites around the world are now available from NOAA. These data are important because they provide climate scientists and resource managers with records of past climatic variability extending back thousands of years.
Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study: Science Plan and Implementation Strategy
The iLEAPS Science Plan and Implementation Strategy defines the scientific objectives and key research issues of the land-atmosphere project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. It also outlines a strategy for addressing the key research questions. The scope of iLEAPS research spans from molecular level processes - such as synthesis of volatile organic compounds in vegetation - to Earth System science issues, climate and global change. iLEAPS research emphasises the importance of connections, feedbacks and teleconnections between the numerous processes in the land-atmosphere interface. Due to the complexity and wide range of scientific issues, iLEAPS stresses the need for increased integrative approaches and collaboration, involving scientists from various disciplines, experimentalists and modellers, and international research projects and programmes.
NOAA Sets the El Niño Prediction Straight
El Niño is an abnormal warming of the ocean temperatures across the eastern tropical Pacific that affects weather around the globe. El Niño episodes usually occur approximately every four-five years. NOAA researchers and scientists are presently monitoring the formation of a possible weak El Niño and predict that the United States could experience very weak-to-marginal impacts late winter to early spring 2002.
A Strategy for Climate Change Stabilization Experiments with AOGCMs and ESMs
This report outlines a strategy for the new AOGCM/ESM modeling components in terms of aerosols/atmospheric chemistry and carbon cycle/dynamic vegetation components that are under development and implementation in ESMs that involves a proposed experimental design that integrates impacts and scenarios (represented in IPCC WG2 and WG3, respectively) and physical climate science (WG1). We summarize with a suite of recommendations for the joint WGCM, AIMES and IPCC communities.
Science Plan and Implementation Strategy
This Science Plan and Implementation Strategy sets out the research agenda for the second phase of IGBP. The document describes the IGBP strategy for producing high quality, unbiased, credible, fundamental scientific research in the area of global change: a strategy centered on ten projects, to be carried out by the several thousand scientists worldwide who are part of the IGBP network. Further, the document describes how the organization will communicate the results of this research to different audiences, in order to realize its vision: "to provide scientific knowledge to improve the sustainability of the living Earth".
Global Land Project: Science Plan and ImplementationStrategy
The Global Land Project (GLP) Science Plan and Implementation Strategy represents the joint research agenda of IGBP and IHDP to improve the understanding of land system dynamics in the context of Earth System functioning. This plan is therefore a first critical step in addressing the interaction between people and their environments. It is part of the broader efforts to understand how these interactions have affected, and may yet affect, the sustainability of the terrestrial biosphere, and the two-way interactions and feedbacks between different land systems within the Earth System. GLP will play a clear role in improving the understanding of regional and global-scale land systems, as well as promoting strong scientific synergy across the global change programmes. This Science Plan and Implementation Strategy develops a new integrated paradigm focused on two main conceptual aspects of the coupled system: firstly, it deals with the interface between people, biota, and natural resources of terrestrial systems, and secondly, it combines detailed regional studies with a global, comparative perspective. GLP takes as its points of departure ecosystem services and human decision making for the terrestrial environment. These topics are at the interface of the societal and the environmental domains, and serve as conceptual lenses for the research plan.
Global Change and Mountain Regions: The Mountain Research Initiative
The strong altitudinal gradients in mountain regions provide unique and sometimes the best opportunities to detect and analyse global change processes and phenomena. Meteorological, hydrological, cryospheric and ecological conditions change strongly over relatively short distances; thus biodiversity tends to be high, and characteristic sequences of ecosystems and cryospheric systems are found along mountain slopes. The boundaries between these systems experience shifts due to environmental change and thus may be used as indicators of such changes. The higher parts of many mountain ranges are not affected by direct human activities. These areas include many national parks and other protected environments. They may serve as locations where the environmental impacts of climate change alone, including changes in atmospheric chemistry, can be studied directly. Mountain regions are distributed all over the globe, from the Equator almost to the poles and from oceanic to highly continental climates. This global distribution allows us to perform comparative regional studies and to analyse the regional differentiation of environmental change processes as characterised above. Therefore, within the IGBP an Initiative for Collaborative Research on Global Change and Mountain Regions was developed, which strives to achieve an integrated approach for observing, modelling and investigating global change phenomena and processes in mountain regions, including their impacts on ecosystems and socio-economic systems.
Global Wetland Distribution and Functional Characterization: Trace Gases and the Hydrologic Cycle
The IGBP Wetlands workshop (Santa Barbara, CA, USA,16-20 May 1996) was held for the purpose of identifying data and research needs for characterizing wetlands in terms of their role in biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles. Wetlands cover only about 1% of the Earth's surface, yet are responsible for a much greater proportion of biogeochemical fluxes between the land surface, the atmosphere and hydrologic systems. They play a particularly important function in processing methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and sulphur as well as in sequestering carbon. Considerable progress has been made in the past 10 years regarding wetlands and methane: a global digital dataset of wetlands (Matthews and Fung 1987) was produced and global observations of methane have been combined with global three-dimensional atmospheric modelling (Fung et al. 1991) to constrain modelled fluxes of methane from high-latitude wetlands. Furthermore, significant advances have been made in understanding the biogeochemical processes that control fluxes of methane and other trace gases. The progress has made clear that present wetland classification schemes do not accurately reflect their roles in these processes because they have been based on wetland attributes such as dominant plant types which do not reflect differences in the functions of wetlands regarding biogeochemical cycles. Further, traditional wetland classifications cannot be distinguished on the basis of global remotely sensed observations. Consequently, it has been impossible to accurately quantify the distribution of key fluxes on the basis of observed land cover. The workshop developed a wetland parameterization scheme based on observable quantities to better incorporate wetlands into global land surface characterization schemes so that the relation between land cover and biogeochemical fluxes can be more accurately determined. An improved understanding of this relation will make it possible to better use observed or historical changes in land cover to infer changes in biogeochemical fluxes, including the cycles of gases such as methane and carbon dioxide which affect the radiative balance of the atmosphere.
The Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study: Science Plan and Implementation Strategy
SOLAS (Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study) is a new international research initiative that has as its goal: To achieve quantitative understanding of the key biogeochemical-physical interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and the atmosphere, and of how this coupled system affects and is affected by climate and environmental change. Achievement of this goal is important in order to understand and quantify the role that ocean-atmosphere interactions play in the regulation of climate and global change. The domain of SOLAS is focussed on processes at the air-sea interface and includes a natural emphasis on the atmospheric and upper-ocean boundary layers, while recognising that some of the processes to be studied will, of necessity, be linked to significantly greater height and depth scales. SOLAS research will cover all ocean areas including coastal seas and ice covered areas. A fundamental characteristic of SOLAS is that the research is not only interdisciplinary (involving biogeochemistry, physics, mathematical modelling, etc.), but also involves closely coupled studies requiring marine and atmospheric scientists to work together. Such research will require a shift in attitude within the academic and funding communities, both of which are generally organised on a medium-by-medium basis in most countries.
Predicting Global Change Impacts on Mountain Hydrology and Ecology: Integrated Catchment Hydrology/Altitudinal Gradient Studies: A workshop report
Documentation resulting from an international workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, 30 March - 2 April 1996. The following themes were addressed by the working groups: 1. "Role of ecology and hydrology for the sustainable development in mountain regions" (the "human dimensions"). 2. "Coupled ecological and hydrological studies along altitudinal gradients in mountain regions", with a sub-group dealing with the "Assessment of the spatial distribution pattern of basic water balance components." 3. "Impacts of global change on the ecology and hydrology in mountain regions", with a sub-group on the "Identification of global change impacts on hydrology and ecology in high mountain areas."
Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone: Science Plan and Implementation Strategy
Coastal zones play a key role in Earth System functioning, by contributing significantly to the life support systems of most societies. Human activities modifying riverine hydrology and riverine material fluxes to the coastal zone, have increased in both scale and rate of change in the last 200 years. The underlying processes that drive changes to coastal systems occur at a multiplicity of temporal and spatial scales. These changes alter the availability of ecosystem goods and services. However, disciplinary fragmentation impedes our ability to understand the regional and global changes that affect coastal systems, and thus limits our ability to guide management and decision making. Progress has been made in understanding the changes in Earth System processes that affect the coastal zone, and the role of coastal systems in global change. This includes identifying proxies that describe the state of coastal systems under existing conditions and change scenarios. Typologies have been developed to assist in the interpolation of results into areas where primary information is lacking. This has enabled a first-order up-scaling to a global synthesis.
Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics: Implementation Plan
This document describes plans for the implementation of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) programme element of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). This Implementation Plan is an international response to the need to understand how global change, in the broadest sense, will affect the abundance, diversity and productivity of marine populations comprising a major component of oceanic ecosystems. The Plan describes the consensus view, developed under the auspices of the GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), on the research required to fulfill the scientific goals laid out in the GLOBEC Science Plan (IGBP Report No. 40). The Implementation Plan expands on the Science Plan, drawing on the results and recommendations of workshops, meetings, and reports thereof, that have been sponsored under the auspices of GLOBEC. The GLOBEC research programme has four major components which, are described in detail in this Implementation Plan; the research Foci, Framework Activities, Regional Programmes, and Integrating Activity. These are summarized in the Table of Contents, and in schematic diagrams within the text. They are the elements that have been planned by, and will be implemented under the auspices of, the GLOBEC SSC. National GLOBEC programmes may select those aspects of this international framework which are relevant to meeting national objectives, or they may develop new directions as needed to meet specific national needs.
Global Change and the Earth System: A planet under pressure
The PAGES research community works toward improving our understanding of the Earth's changing environment. By placing current and future global changes in a long term perspective, they can be assessed relative to natural variability. Since the industrial revolution, the Earth System has become increasingly affected by human activities. Natural and human processes are woven into a complex tapestry of forcings, responses, feedbacks and consequences. Deciphering this complexity is essential as we plan for the future. Paleoenvironmental research is the only way to investigate Earth System processes that operate on timescales longer than the period of instrumental records.
Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources
The U.S. Government's Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is responsible for providing the best science-based knowledge possible to inform management of the risks and opportunities associated with changes in the climate and related environmental systems. To support its mission, the CCSP has commissioned 21 "synthesis and assessment products" (SAPs) to advance decision making on climate change-related issues by providing current evaluations of climate change science and identifying priorities for research, observation, and decision support. This Report-SAP 4.4-focuses on federally managed lands and waters to provide a "Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources." It is one of seven reports that support Goal 4 of the CCSP Strategic Plan to understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes. The purpose of SAP 4.4 is to provide useful information on the state of knowledge regarding adaptation options for key, representative ecosystems and resources that may be sensitive to climate variability and change. As its title suggests, this report is a preliminary review, defined as "the process of collecting and reviewing available information about known or potential adaptation options."
Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations using Seasonal-to-Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data: A Focus on Water Resources
This Synthesis and Assessment Product focuses on the connection between the scientific ability to predict climate on seasonal scales and the opportunity to incorporate such understanding into water resource management decisions. It directly addresses decision support experiments and evaluations that have used seasonal-to-interannual forecasts and observational data, and is expected to inform (1) decision makers about the relative success of experiences of others who have experimented with these forecasts and data in resource management; (2) climatologists, hydrologists, and social scientists on how to advance the delivery of decision-support resources that use the most recent forecast products, methodologies, and tools; and (3) science and resource managers as they plan for future investments in research related to forecasts and their role in decision support. It is important to note, however, that while the focus of this Product is on the water resources management sector, the findings within this Synthesis and Assessment Product may be directly transferred to other sectors.
Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC): Implementation Strategy
The Implementation Strategy of the Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC) project specifies in greater detail the activities and projects that will fulfil the mandate outlined in the LUCC Science/Research Plan published in 1995. The project, a joint initiative of IGBP and IHDP, is addressing important global change questions on the local, regional and global scale. The planned and ongoing activities involve a wide community of natural and social scientists. The new understanding of land-use and land-cover change dynamics following from the work carried out under the LUCC Implementation Strategy will be of crucial importance to the global environmental change research community as well as to decision-makers at the local, regional and global levels.
Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change - IPCC Working Group I
Greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to increase. Anthropogenic aerosols tend to produce negative radiative forcings. Climate has changed over the past century. The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. Climate is expected to continue to change in the future. There are still many uncertainties.
Public Health Service Act
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was established to protect the quality of drinking water in the U.S. This law focuses on all waters actually or potentially designed for drinking use, whether from above ground or underground sources. The Act authorizes EPA to establish minimum standards to protect tap water and requires all owners or operators of public water systems to comply with these primary (health-related) standards. The 1996 amendments to SDWA require that EPA consider a detailed risk and cost assessment, and best available peer-reviewed science, when developing these standards. State governments, which can be approved to implement these rules for EPA, also encourage attainment of secondary standards (nuisance-related). Under the Act, EPA also establishes minimum standards for state programs to protect underground sources of drinking water from endangerment by underground injection of fluids.