The U.S. “CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM” Advances Understanding of Climate Variability, Potential Responses and Options


The Bush Administration announced unprecedented federal initiatives designed to organize the federal government’s climate change science research system along with funding for global climate observation.

The new, historic initiative brings together the resources and expertise of
13 federal agencies. The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), a joint federal program of the President’s Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration, has issued its strategic plan to address some of the most complex questions and problems dealing with long-term global climate variability and change.

It reflects an unprecedented outreach to interested parties, including some
1,200 scientists and stakeholders and representatives of over 35 countries. The document describes a strategy for developing knowledge of variability and change in climate and related environmental and human systems, and for encouraging the application of this knowledge.

The strategic plan: CCSP, will advance the state of knowledge of climate variability, the potential response of the climate system (and related human and environmental systems) to human-induced changes in the atmosphere and land surface, and the implications of these potential changes and management options for natural environments. The plan will also support scientific discovery and excellence, and encourage partnerships that facilitate the use of knowledge to protect the Earth’s environment and ensure a safer, healthier planet for future generations.

Main outlines


1) Near term research: (a) atmospheric distributions and effects of aerosols; (b) climate feedbacks and sensitivity, initially focusing on polar feedbacks; and (c) carbon sources and sinks, focusing particularly on North America.

2) Climate observing systems, including efforts to: (a) document historical records; (b) improve observations for model development and applications;
(c) enhance biological and ecological observing systems; and (d) improve data archiving and information system architectures.

3) Climate modeling that will improve understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change. These models will be key assets in helping policymakers, planners, and resource managers address climate change issues.


Five principal goals have been adopted to guide the CCSP.

1) Goal 1: Improve knowledge of the Earth’s past and present climate and environment, including its natural variability, and improve understanding of the causes of observed variability and change.

2) Goal 2: Improve quantification of the forces bringing about changes in the Earth’s climate and related systems.

3) Goal 3: Reduce uncertainty in projections of how the Earth’s climate and related systems may change in the future.

4) Goal 4: Understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes.

5) Goal 5: Explore the uses and identify the limits of evolving knowledge to manage risks and opportunities related to climate variability and change.

By developing information with the aim of achieving these goals, the program will ensure that it addresses the most important climate-related issues. For each of

the goals, the CCSP will prepare science-based information resources that support policy discussions and decisionmaking.


1) Scientific Research: Plan, Sponsor, and Conduct Research on Changes in Climate and Related Systems in the following seven sectors: a) Atmospheric Composition, b) Climate Variability and Change, c) Global Water Cycle, d) Land-Use/Land-Cover Change, e) Global Carbon Cycle, f) Ecosystems, g) Human Contributions and Responses.

2) Observations: Enhance Observations and Data Management Systems to Generate a Comprehensive Set of Variables Needed for Climate-Related Research.

3. Decision Support: Develop Improved Science-Based Resources to Aid Decisionmaking.

4. Communications: Communicate Results to Domestic and International Scientific and Stakeholder Communities, Stressing Openness and Transparency


International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) Jointly IGBP/WCRP/IHDP Sponsored Projects Intergovernmental Organizations (WMO, UNESCO, NEESPI, IOC/SCOR) Intergovernmental and Similar Organizations and Activities (EU, IRI, IAI, APN, ILTER)


CCSP and the strategic plan: