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.
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.
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.
Human population and associated industrial activities continue to increase rapidly, and have reached levels that put the environment under stress in many areas of the world. In addition natural fluctuations of the Earth's physical and biological systems, often occur in time frames that are not readily evident to man. Such fluctuations cause additional stress on the environment, and can result in changes that impact society in terms of diminished availability of clean water, unspoiled land and natural vegetation, minerals, fish stocks, and clean air. Human societies are making a rapidly increasing number of policy and management decisions that attempt to allow both for natural fluctuations and to limit or modify human impact. Such decisions are often ineffective, as a result of economic, political and social constraints, and inadequate understanding of the interactions between human activities and natural responses. Improved understanding of such issues is important in its own right, and will contribute to ameliorating economic, political and social constraints. Developing improved understanding of environmental change is within the realm of the natural sciences and is being addressed by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and other programmes concerned with describing and understanding the Earth System. Natural variability, occurring over a variety of time scales, dominates the health of complex marine ecosystems, regardless of fishing or other environmental pressure. We are only now beginning to compile quantitative documentation of such variability, and consequently our knowledge concerning its causes remains at the level of hypotheses. Understanding of the role of variability in the functioning of marine ecosystems is essential if we are to effectively manage global marine living resources such as fisheries during this period of tremendously increased human impact, and concurrent dependence, on these resources.
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.
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 ...
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.
The Kalahari Transect is proposed as one of IGBPs Transects (see Koch et al. 1995 [IGBP Report 36]). It is located so as to span the gradient between the arid subtropics and the moist tropics in southern Africa, a zone potentially susceptible to changes in the global precipitation pattern. Its focus is the relationships between the structure and function of ecosystems and their large-scale biophysical and human drivers (climate, atmosphere and land use). The Kalahari Transect spans a strong climatic gradient in southern Africa, from the arid south to the humid north, while remaining on a single broad soil type, the deep sands of the Kalahari basin. The vegetation ranges over the length of the transect from shrubland through savannas and woodlands to closed evergreen tropical forest, with land uses ranging from migratory wildlife systems, through pastoralism, subsistence cropping to forestry. The objectives of the Kalahari Transect activity are to: build an active network of regional and international researchers around the issue of ecosystem structure and function in savanna woodlands undergoing climatic and land use change; quantify the current and future role of southern African savanna woodlands in the global carbon, water and trace gas budgets and the degree of dependence of these budgets on climate and land use change; develop a predictive understanding of future changes in southern African savannas and woodlands on sandy soils, including their capacity to deliver forage, timber and other products. A five year project is proposed, commencing in 1997. The project revolves around four themes: vegetation structure, composition and dynamics; biogeochemistry, trace gas emissions and productivity; resource use and management and water and energy balance. These themes define the minimum set of processes necessary for understanding of the Kalahari system.
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.
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.
This report describes the strategy for the Miombo Network Initiative, developed at an International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) intercore-project workshop in Malawi in December 1995 and further refined during the Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC) Open Science Meeting in January, 1996 and through consultation and review by the LUCC Scientific Steering Committee (SSC). The Miombo Network comprises of an international network of researchers working in concert on a 'community' research agenda developed to address the critical global change research questions for the miombo woodland ecosystems. The network also addresses capacity building and training needs in the Central, Eastern and Southern Africa (SAF) region, of the Global Change System for Analysis Research and Training (START). The research strategy described here provides the basis for a proposed IGBP Terrestrial Transect study of land cover and land use changes in the miombo ecosystems of Central Africa. It therefore resides administratively within the LUCC programme with linkages to other Programme Elements of the IGBP such as Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE). The report provides the framework for research activities aimed at understanding how land use is affecting land cover and associated ecosystem processes; assessing what contribution these changes are making to global change; and predicting what effects global change in turn could have on land use dynamics and ecosystem structure and function. The key issues identified are: patterns, causes and rates of change in land cover in relation to land use; consequences of land-use and land-cover changes on regional climate, natural resources, hydrology, carbon storage and trace gas emissions; determinants of the distribution of species and ecosystems in miombo; and fundamental questions of miombo ecosystem structure and function.
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.
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."
The IGAC Science Plan and Implementation Strategy lays out the scientific objectives and key research issues of the atmospheric chemistry project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) as both IGAC and IGBP enter their second phase. It also lays out a framework for addressing these objectives and issues, recognizing the need for collaboration with partner programmes and projects. The scientific focus of this document emerged from the first decade of IGAC research, much of which was conducted in the context of focused, intensive measurement campaigns. The scope of IGAC in its next phase includes both regional characterisation and the extension into issues that cross more expansive boundaries in space, time and discipline. While local and regional-scale atmospheric chemical composition will be a primary focus, it is now clear that issues such as intercontinental transport and transformation of chemically active species and the interactions between atmospheric chemistry and climate must also be addressed in order to better understand atmospheric chemical composition and to provide guidance to the public and policy-making community.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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