Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Global Change Research Program for Fiscal Year 2017

November 30, 2016

*Cross-posted excerpts from GlobalChange.gov and report*


Our Changing Planet Fiscal Year 2017
This FY 2017 edition of Our Changing Planet includes an overview of the USGCRP research enterprise and recent highlights that demonstrate how the Program is fulfilling its 2012–2021 Strategic Plan. The report also spotlights progress in interagency research priority areas that intersect with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, such as Arctic research and resilience , methane cycling in the context of the carbon cycle , and water-cycle extremes and their impacts. The highlights in this Our Changing Planet report represent the broad spectrum of USGCRP activities that extend from Earth system.
This report also presents the annual interegancy priorities of the USGCRP. These USGCRP interagency research priorities draw from the breadth of the Program’s capabilities in observations, integrated modeling, process research, and actionable science to address emerging research opportunities and key scientific gaps and respond to critical decision-support needs.

Methane Cycling within the Carbon Cycle Framework is a new focal area for FY 2017 and 2018, but reflects an area of ongoing Program interest.

USGCRP will spotlight its work on the carbon cycle over the next several years, with a FY 2017 focus on methane. This focus is intended to be supportive of, and complementary to, the “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions” announced in 2014 as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Research objectives include enhancing understanding of processes governing methane emissions in key areas such as wetlands, the energy sector, agriculture and forestry, and oceans and permafrost regions as climate changes, and incorporating this understanding into climate models and projections of potential future releases and associated climate feedbacks.

A major objective involves strengthening and expanding long-term monitoring efforts that are fundamental to understanding and modeling the interplay between atmospheric methane levels and methane sources from human activities and Earth’s ecosystems, and that underlie needed improvements to estimates and predictions of methane emissions, inventories, radiative forcing, and attribution.

On issues related to measurement and characterization of domestic anthropogenic methane emissions from all sectors, USGCRP will collaborate with the National Science and Technology Council’s Methane Monitoring and Characterization Working Group. Other objectives include the improvement and utilization of climate models to simulate the evolving sources and sinks of methane and evaluate and project methane’s climate effects and feedbacks.