Smithsonian Institution

Areas of Global Change Research. Within the Smithsonian Institution, research conducted at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), and the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) 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 FY97 FY98 FY99
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  7.0 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

FY99 Program Highlights. At SAO, external contracts and grants continue to support a program of novel approaches to global change research, including studies of atmospheric composition, chemistry, and absorption/transmission of radiation. Remote sensing of stratospheric trace species that play an important role in ozone photochemical cycles will be undertaken using balloons, airplanes, and satellites. Solar activity and irradiance are being studied to better understand the climatic effects of solar variability. Ongoing global sea-level change is being estimated using space geodetic measurements.

Research at NASM emphasizes the use of remote-sensing data to improve theories of drought, sand mobility, soil stability, and climate change in the eastern Sahara. Researchers at NASM have found new drainage systems revealed by the Space Shuttle Imaging Radar experiment, and are dating the relict soils to determine periods of wet and dry climates that are related to global changes not influenced by humans.

Monitoring of the influx of UV-B radiation will be performed at SERC, where new spectral radiometers will be used to continue a more than 25-year record of UV-B in Maryland and to augment other domestic and international UV-B monitoring efforts. Several parts of the SI programs examine the biological responses to global change and increase public understanding of global change issues. At SERC, research is conducted on the responses of global ecosystems to increasing CO2, exotic species introductions, and ozone depletion. A new center at SERC will monitor movement of marine species in the ballast water of ocean vessels. A new Institute for Conservation Biology provides a focus for cross-institutional activities in biodiversity education and research. Studies of tropical biological diversity are performed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). The Biological Diversity program at NMNH monitors global change effects through repeated sampling of flora and fauna in tropical forests, and identifying the physical and biological processes of growth and decline of species. The general public and research community will be informed of global change research at the Smithsonian via exhibits, educational programs, and resources available over the Internet.

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.