Smithsonian Institution

Areas of Global Change Research. Within the Smithsonian Institution, research conducted at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the National Museum of Natural History concentrates on monitoring indicators of natural and anthropogenic environmental change on daily to decadal time scales, and on longer term indicators present in the historical artifacts and records of the museums as well as in the geologic record at field sites. The primary thrust of the Smithsonian's work is to improve knowledge of the natural processes involved and to continue to provide a long-term repository for present and future studies.

SI Program Title FY96 FY97 FY98
Request
NMNH/STRI Long-Term Environmental Change 1.6 1.6 1.6
SAO/NASM/SERC Monitoring Natural Envrionmental Change 1.2 1.2 1.2
NZP/NMNH/SERC Biological Responses 4.2 4.2 4.2
Total  7.0 7.0
President's Request  7.3 7.0 7.0
NASM National Air and Space Museum
NMNH National Museum of Natural History
NZP National Zoological Park
SAO Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
SERC Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
STRI Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

FY98 Program Highlights. Studies of atmospheric composition, the absorption and transmission of radiation, and atmospheric chemistry are continuing to receive emphasis at SAO. Remote-sensing measurements of trace species in the stratosphere that play an important role in ozone chemistry will be done, as well as accurate laboratory measurements of the photoabsorption characteristics of trace atmospheric species. In addition, solar activity is being monitored and modeled to better understand the causes of variability in the Earth's ultimate energy source and to improve our capabilities in making solar predictions.

Research at NASM will emphasize the use of remote-sensing data to improve theories of drought, sand mobility, soil stability, and vegetation dynamics in the Earth's drylands, with particular emphasis on the use of Shuttle Imaging Radar to understand the effects of past climate change in the Sahara.

Monitoring of the influx of UV-B radiation will be performed at SERC, where spectral radiometers are used for a continuous record now more than 25 years long.

The Biological Responses program is divided into two broad areas: Tropical biological diversity, and ecosystem response to fragmentation. Studies of tropical biological diversity are performed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the National Museum of Natural History. The Tropical Biological Diversity (TROBID) program concentrates on inventories of biodiversity and species distribution in tropical forests, monitoring biodiversity through repeated standardized sampling of flora and fauna, and identifying the physical and biological processes of growth and decline of species.

A major thrust for all units in FY98 will be to inform the public of the resources available at the Smithsonian via electronic means, as well as to provide outreach in all areas of the Institution's collections. Valuable documentation will be made available to both the general public and the community of researchers to aid in long-term environmental studies.

Related Research. Studies of environmental change over long time periods are aided by the Institution's collections. Utilized by staff and researchers from other institutions, these materials provide raw data for evaluating changes in the physical and biological environment that occurred before human influences.

Mapping of Budget Request to Appropriations Legislation. In the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, Smithsonian Institution USGCRP activities are funded in the SI section of Title II-Related Agencies, within the Salaries and Expenses account. Appropriations Committee reports specify funding for a Sciences line item component of this account, which includes USGCRP programs.