Interagency Working Groups
Interagency Working Groups (IWGs) are the primary USGCRP vehicles for implementing and coordinating global change research activities within and across agencies. These groups are critical to integration and assessment of progress throughout the Program. The working groups span a wide range of interconnected climate and global change issues and address major components of the Earth's environmental and human systems, as well as cross-disciplinary approaches for addressing these issues.
IWGs are designed to bring agencies together to plan, develop, and implement coordinated activities, and to identify and fill gaps in the Program’s plans. They allow public officials to communicate with each other on emerging directions within their agencies, their stakeholder needs, and best practices learned from agency activities. Together, these functions allow the agencies to work in a more coordinated and effective manner.
The IWGs are overseen by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research and are composed of representatives from Federal departments and agencies responsible for activities in each research area.
- Integrated Observations Interagency Working Group
- Process Research Coordinating Committee
- Interagency Group on Integrative Modeling
- Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group
- Adaptation Science Interagency Working Group
- Interagency Crosscutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health
- Social Sciences Coordinating Committee
- Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group
- Coordinating Group on Scenarios and Interpretive Science
- International Research and Cooperation Interagency Working Group
- Global Change Information System Interagency Coordination
- Education Interagency Working Group
Integrated Observations Interagency Working Group
The Integrated Observations Interagency Working Group (ObsIWG) plans, evaluates, and reports on interagency coordination and implementation of observations and monitoring among participating U.S. agencies. As a standing committee that supports USGCRP and the SGCR, the ObsIWG provides a forum for discussion, coordination, and implementation of integrated observational and monitoring capabilities for climate and related global change.
The scope of the ObsIWG includes the comprehensive observational system needed to meet climate science research and monitoring requirements, and includes satellite-based observations and in-situ observations (airborne, ground-based, and ocean-based, and including systematic human observations) in the terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric domains.
Coordination strategies developed will be relative to the comprehensive climate observational system, not only to those portions covered by the USGCRP budget, and will reflect external coordination with international organizations and partners.
Process Research Coordinating Committee
The Process Research Coordinating Committee helps identify and prioritize fundamental global change science questions that require a coordinated interagency response. This coordination is organized through several "clusters" of interagency efforts that report back to the Process Research Coordinating Committee, in areas such as ecosystems and biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, the water cycle, clouds and aerosols, and integrated Earth and human systems.
Interagency Group on Integrative Modeling
USGCRP’s Interagency Group on Integrative Modeling (IGIM) is charged with coordinating global change-related modeling activities across the Federal Government and providing guidance to USGCRP on modeling priorities. The 10 Federal agencies that participate in the IGIM engage on a range of relevant topics, including physical models of the Earth system, socioeconomic models of human systems and their interactions with the Earth system, and impacts models.
Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group
USGCRP’s Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group (CCIWG) coordinates carbon cycle research funded by USGCRP member agencies. Because the carbon cycle is associated with a wide range of global change research needs, the CCIWG works closely with other IWGs and engages with international partners. CCIWG works to establish priorities for carbon cycle science and evaluate needs emerging from new findings and observations. Currently, CCIWG coordinates work to advance the following priorities:
- Explain past and current variations in observed atmospheric concentrations of the major carbon-containing greenhouse gases (CO2 and methane);
- Understand and quantify socioeconomic drivers of carbon emissions;
- Develop transparent methods to monitor and verify both natural and anthropogenic carbon emissions;
- Assess and evaluate the vulnerability of carbon fluxes and stocks under future conditions of global change and human activities;
- Predict the effects of different CO2 and climate change scenarios on biodiversity, ecosystems, and natural resources, including potential positive feedbacks to the climate system;
- Assess the effectiveness and potential for unintended consequences of carbon management options that may be undertaken to mitigate GHG emissions and climate change; and
- Address needs of decision makers of all levels for useable data, information, models, projections, and decision support tools.
In consultation with the CCIWG, the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program provides a coordinated and focused scientific strategy for conducting Federal carbon cycle research.
Adaptation Science Interagency Working Group
The mission of USGCRP's Adaptation Science Interagency Working Group (ASIWG) is to ensure that Federal science effectively informs adaptation decisions at a range of scales, in diverse sectors. The ASIWG is responsible for effective implementation of USGCRP’s shared interagency priorities, investments, and activities related to science in support of adaptation within the broader context of the USGCRP Inform Decisions Strategic Goal. Several critical roles of the ASIWG include:
- Conducting, translating, and facilitating the development of research for and of climate change adaptation; and
- Providing interagency coordination, management, and oversight of the USGCRP adaptation science portfolio.
Through these roles, the ASIWG provides scientific support to agencies in the adaptation planning process established under Executive Order (EO) 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and EO 13653: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Specifically, the ASIWG is leading the following efforts:
- Identification of existing capabilities and critical gaps in science for informing adaptation decisions and policies;
- Improvement of the application and translation of science to meet the needs of decision makers;
- Advancement of social, behavioral, and economic science needed to visualize, analyze, and understand adaptation options;
- Development of data and frameworks to evaluate the effectiveness of adaptive actions;
- Advancement of the co-benefits and conflicts between adaptation and mitigation actions; and
- Coordination of science, tools, and services for regional adaptation.
Interagency Crosscutting Group on Climate Change & Human Health
The mission of the Interagency Crosscutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health (CCHHG) is to promote and protect the Nation’s public health by leading and coordinating Federal scientific activities related to climate change and human health in an end-to-end manner, from basic research through public health practice. The CCHHG supports all four of USGCRP’s new strategic goals and works to address key gaps in understanding of the human health–related impacts of global change. Specific areas of focus include, but are not limited to: predictive modeling of health outcomes; producing data integration tools and products; supporting assessment activities (NCA and IPCC); and engaging with Federal and non-Federal stakeholders, both domestically and internationally.
Social Sciences Coordinating Committee
Interagency National Climate Assessment Working Group
USGCRP’s Interagency National Climate Assessment (INCA) Working Group plays a vital role in coordinating, supporting, and implementing the Federal components of the National Climate Assessment (NCA), including deploying essential research and infrastructure for a sustained assessment process and products. The INCA Working Group is responsible for coordinating, developing, and implementing an interagency operational plan for the NCA, providing critical input to identify and support future NCA products, and developing interagency assessment capacity at the national and regional scales.
The INCA Working Group plans, coordinates, and implements the development of numerous technical products necessary for the assessment process, many of which have generated cutting-edge, interagency research on climate change science, impacts, and vulnerabilities. Under SGCR guidance, the INCA has hosted a wide range of expert and stakeholder workshops over the years in numerous regions and sectors to support the development of these technical products, advance assessment methodologies, and identify research needs.
Coordinating Group on Scenarios & Interpretive Science
The Coordinating Group on Scenarios and Interpretative Science fosters interagency coordination with the goal of building a U.S. scenario science enterprise. This effort is motivated by shared agency information needs for quantitative and qualitative scenario-related products aligned around regions, sectors, systems, and topics over spatial and temporal scales of interest. The major objectives of the Coordinating Group include:
- Advancing collaborative science around critical knowledge gaps;
- Enhancing methodologies for use-inspired scenario development, decision framing, and contextual interpretation;
- Developing the next generation of scenario work products for model intercomparison efforts, national and international assessment, and related analyses; and
- Improving interagency communications, coordination, and accessibility to knowledge, work products, and technical resources.
International Research & Cooperation Interagency Working Group
The International Research and Cooperation Interagency Working Group advises and assists the SGCR on advancing USGCRP’s strategic goals through international coordination and partnerships. The group coordinates a portfolio of activities, priorities, and goals for USGCRP’s international efforts.
GCIS Interagency Coordination
USGCRP and the Global Change Information System (GCIS) leadership work closely with the USGEO Data Management Working Group (DMWG), which provides guidance on interagency operability, technical design and implementation, and standards compatibility for the GCIS.
Education Interagency Working Group
USGCRP agencies work on a wide range of climate change education, literacy, and training programs. The Education Interagency Working Group (a successor to the former Communication and Education Interagency Working Group) helps to coordinate these efforts across the Federal Government.