Department of Energy

Areas of Global Change Research. Research by DOE's Office of Health and Environmental Research addresses the impacts of energy production and use on the global Earth system primarily through studies of climate response. It includes research in climate modeling, atmospheric chemistry and transport, atmospheric properties and processes affecting the Earth's radiant energy balance, carbon sources and sinks, consequences of atmospheric and climatic change for vegetation and ecosystems, critical data needs for global change research and for early detection of climatic change, and funding for education and training of scientists and researchers in global change. The DOE Policy Office supports studies that assist in interpretation of research results.

DOE Program Title FY96 FY97 FY98
OHER Atmospheric Chemistry and Carbon Cycle 25.6 26.0 24.0
OHER Climate and Hydrology 64.5 63.7 62.3
OHER Ecological Processes 13.2 11.0 12.0
OHER Human Interactions 9.5 9.0 9.2
OHER Small Business Innocative Research/Technology Transfer 0.0 2.6 2.6
Total  112.8 112.3
President's Request  122.8 112.4 110.1
OHER Office of Health and Environmental Research

FY98 Program Highlights. To support its global change research efforts, the Biological and Environmental Research program (BER) of the DOE Office of Health and Environmental Research utilizes the unique multidisciplinary capabilities and facilities of the DOE National Laboratories and supports biological and environmental research projects and research infrastructure at National Laboratories, universities, and other research institutions. In support of the USGCRP, the BER program includes activities in four key areas:

  1. Climate and Hydrology:  The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, developed in recognition that the effect of clouds on the Earth's radiative energy balance is a major source of uncertainty in climate models, focuses on the improvement of climate prediction by providing data and improved parameterizations of clouds and their interactions with solar and terrestrial radiation through ground-based, airborne (crewed and uncrewed), and satellite platforms. In FY98, key activities of the ARM program are the further development and utilization of measurement capabilities at the Tropical Western Pacific site, the initial conduct of intensive observational periods on the North Slope of Alaska, and uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) flights over the Southern Great Plains site.

    Climate modeling, with an emphasis on the Computer Hardware, Advanced Mathematical and Model Physics (CHAMMP) program, expands the current theoretical basis of climate dynamics and continuously optimizes computer models (from all agencies) for climate prediction and assessment of climate change. The Program on Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) develops and implements improved methods and tools for the diagnosis, testing, and intercomparison of general circulation models (GCMs). Key FY98 activities of the CHAMMP program will center on improvements in GCM parameterizations for cloud liquid water structure and resultant radiation fields at tropical, arctic, and mid-latitudes.

  2. Atmospheric Chemistry and Carbon Cycling:  The Atmospheric Science Program develops a comprehensive understanding of the atmospheric processes that control the transport, transformation, and fate of energy-related air pollutants.

    The Terrestrial Carbon Processes (TCP) program focuses on improvement of the understanding of the biophysical processes in terrestrial ecosystems that affect the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. In FY98, the TCP program and the National Institute for Global Environmental Change (NIGEC) will implement the AmeriFlux network to measure the net exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere in major terrestrial ecosystems in North America.

  3. Ecological Processes:  The Program on Ecosystem Research (PER) focuses on improvement of the understanding of the consequences of atmospheric and climatic changes for terrestrial ecosystems and resources. The vegetation subprogram of TCP investigates the response of terrestrial vegetation to elevated CO2 and altered climate variables. In FY98, PER, NIGEC, and the TCP program will support experimental and modeling studies to improve understanding of the response of terrestrial ecosystems to human-induced changes in atmospheric composition and climate. The research includes Free-Air-Carbon-Exchange (FACE) experiments to examine the response of terrestrial vegetation to changes in atmospheric composition and a major field experiment to examine the response of a southern deciduous forest ecosystem to reduced and enhanced precipitation.

  4. Human Dimensions:  The Integrated Assessments (IA) program analyzes climate change from cause through impacts, with an orientation toward developing policy options by methodological development and by the prediction of technology innovation and diffusion. NIGEC supports research to develop and improve models used to assess the regional economic and social consequences of climate change due to alterations in water, agricultural, and forestry resources. A combined education and research program for minority colleges and universities focuses on developing collaborative global change research ties between minority colleges and universities and ongoing global change research programs at the DOE laboratories, thereby diversifying and increasing America's scientific workforce in global change research.

    The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), a component of the U.S. Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS), provides access to current global-change information and quality-assured and fully documented numeric data, technical publications, newsletters, and research summaries.

The National Institute for Global Environmental Change is a Congressionally-mandated institution operated by the University of California. The six regional centers support research at universities and nonprofit research institutions on all four programmatic areas of DOE's global change research priorities, with emphasis on improving understanding of the regional consequences of atmospheric and climatic change on terrestrial ecosystems and resources.

Related Research. DOE supports research on technologies and strategies to mitigate the increases in CO2 and other energy-related greenhouse gases and plays a major role in implementing the President's Climate Change Action Plan to reduce greenhouse emissions through changes in energy supply and improvements in energy efficiency and conservation. In addition, DOE conducts research related to energy issues, including studies of chemical processes in the atmosphere related to energy production and use; atmospheric studies of the lower atmospheric boundary layer; solid Earth processes related to the formation of energy resources and possible changes in surface interactions; long-term solar interaction with the Earth; basic research in plant and microbial biology; technologies to improve energy conservation and use efficiency and alternative energy technologies to reduce or replace carbon-based fuels for energy production; and international environmental policy studies.

Mapping of Budget Request to Appropriations Legislation. In the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, DOE USGCRP activities are funded under Title III-Department of Energy, within the Energy Supply, Research, and Development Activities account. In Appropriations Committee reports, funding for DOE's USGCRP programs is included within the budget for Biological and Environmental Research.