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Global change is at its core an issue that requires an international, coordinated response. Effectively advancing the understanding of global change, establishing and sustaining observations, and preparing for global environmental change require concerted international cooperation and collaboration. Decades of experience have shown that progress is more rapid if nations combine their intellectual, scientific and observing resources and assets.

Through international partnerships and engagement, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) can leverage the best-available science and practices from around the world to inform U.S. policy and program decisions, help support global sustainable development, and ultimately advance understanding of, and responses to, global change.

USGCRP's core international efforts include:

  • Coordinating U.S. activities with other nations and international organizations on global change research projects and activities
  • Promoting international cooperation and access to scientific data and information
  • Participating in international global change research by developing nations

International Earth Observations

The international activities that USGCRP supports, and collectively participates in, have resulted in substantially improved understanding of the Earth system processes that underlie global change. They have provided scientific results and data that have improved models of global change and scenarios that predict such change and its impact. These activities have made major contributions to the work of the IPCC.

Space Shuttle View of Earth

Sustained global observing systems are essential to global change research and require international partnerships. In situ and satellite-based observations of the environment are of fundamental importance to understanding the Earth system.

Focused, process-oriented field campaigns depend upon the joint effort of multiple countries to ensure consistent and comprehensive data collection. To ensure coordination among efforts by Federal agencies, USGCRP works with entities such as the U.S. Group on Earth Observations and the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data which both help set the standards and coordination of Earth observation data in a long-term, durable, and usable fashion.

International Scientific Assessments

USGCRP also plays a vital coordinating role in international scientific assessments. The Program and its member agencies coordinate a wide range of scientific participation in international assessments, where U.S. scientists play important roles in analyzing the current state of science and adaptation efforts worldwide. For instance, USGCRP coordinates participation of U.S. contributors to all IPCC working groups, and leads the process of author nominations and government and expert reviews of IPCC products, in cooperation with other Federal entities. Another example of an important U.S. contribution coordinated through USGCRP was the development of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA).

International Partnerships

Using the collective knowledge and expertise across its participating Federal agencies, USGCRP is uniquely positioned to identify potential synergies with international organizations and pursue collaborative programs that bridge the environmental and societal challenges faced by governments, businesses, communities, and society. To achieve this vision of integrated and societally relevant research, USGCRP engages with a variety of international programs such as the:

  • World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)
  • International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP)
  • International Human Dimensions Program (IHDP)
  • Earth Systems Science Partnership (ESSP)
  • DIVERSITAS20
  • SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START)

USGCRP also supports regional activities through the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), and the African Network for Earth System Science (AfricanNESS). These types of global partnerships maximize international scientific exchange and best practices, support complementary research efforts, and allow decision makers to make more informed science-based decisions domestically and globally.

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