CHAPTER THREE

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is charged by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to respond to evolving national priorities with sound, unbiased scientific advice (DOI, 2011). In approaching its charge, the USGS science strategy recognizes that “the earth behaves as a system in which oceans, atmosphere and land, and the living and nonliving parts therein, are all connected” (Steffen et al., 2004) and the USGS therefore uses a systems approach in a number of its studies. Such an approach is comprehensive in scope and enables the USGS to use the breadth and depth of its strengths, expertise, and capacities to monitor, analyze, and provide better understanding of a range of Earth processes through time.

In support of the systems approach to studying the Earth, the USGS organization comprises seven mission areas that are explicitly cross-cutting, problem-based, and interdisciplinary: (1) Climate and Land-Use Change, (2) Core Science Systems, (3) Ecosystems, (4) Energy and Minerals, (5) Environmental Health, (6) Natural Hazards, and (7) Water (USGS, 2007b; 2011a). These science areas are not isolated disciplines but rather broad domains that interact with one another. This chapter describes the seven mission areas, their core activities and international activities, and the specific benefits and relevance of international activities in these areas for both the USGS mission and U.S. national interests.

Although the mission of the USGS focuses on national resources, international approaches are necessary in at least three situations: (1) when a major resource or ecosystem spans an international boundary, (2) when threats or changes to a resource originate outside U.S. borders, and (3) when information relevant to management or conservation is available only through international collaboration or research.

Some USGS mission areas document a longer history of engagement in international activities due to the existence of their core science domains as part of the USGS structure since the Survey’s inception. For example, international research in areas such as natural hazards, energy and minerals, and water has a long tradition at the Survey, and each of these



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CHAPTER THREE Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is charged by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to respond to evolving national priorities with sound, unbiased scientific advice (DOI, 2011). In approaching its charge, the USGS science strategy recognizes that “the earth behaves as a system in which oceans, atmosphere and land, and the living and non- living parts therein, are all connected” (Steffen et al., 2004) and the USGS therefore uses a systems approach in a number of its studies. Such an approach is comprehensive in scope and enables the USGS to use the breadth and depth of its strengths, expertise, and capaci- ties to monitor, analyze, and provide better understanding of a range of Earth processes through time. In support of the systems approach to studying the Earth, the USGS organization comprises seven mission areas that are explicitly cross-cutting, problem-based, and inter- disciplinary: (1) Climate and Land-Use Change, (2) Core Science Systems, (3) Ecosystems, (4) Energy and Minerals, (5) Environmental Health, (6) Natural Hazards, and (7) Water (USGS, 2007b; 2011a). These science areas are not isolated disciplines but rather broad domains that interact with one another. This chapter describes the seven mission areas, their core activities and international activities, and the specific benefits and relevance of interna- tional activities in these areas for both the USGS mission and U.S. national interests. Although the mission of the USGS focuses on national resources, international ap- proaches are necessary in at least three situations: (1) when a major resource or ecosystem spans an international boundary, (2) when threats or changes to a resource originate outside U.S. borders, and (3) when information relevant to management or conservation is available only through international collaboration or research. Some USGS mission areas document a longer history of engagement in international activities due to the existence of their core science domains as part of the USGS structure since the Survey’s inception. For example, international research in areas such as natural hazards, energy and minerals, and water has a long tradition at the Survey, and each of these 39

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S areas has a strong basis in mapping. Other areas (e.g., ecosystems, environmental health, and climate science and land-use change) are comparatively younger in terms of concentrated scientific pursuit at the Survey and thus have shorter records of international engagement. These differences are reflected in the historical record of international projects provided to the committee by the USGS (see Appendix C). The committee interpreted its assignment to include an overview of all USGS mission areas regardless of their historical precedents in international research, and did not consider its charge to include a detailed evaluation of current (or past) international activities. Rather, the committee considered possibilities for new international science opportunities across the entire Survey organization (see Chapter 4) based on a selection of ongoing activities that the committee found to represent the breadth and depth of USGS expertise and experience as outlined in this chapter. The information in this chapter is based on (1) presentations made to the committee by USGS scientists in each of the mission areas; (2) a document about the Survey’s historical engagement in international activities, prepared by the USGS for the committee’s use (see Appendix C); (3) discussions with Survey scientists; (4) information provided by project sponsors and partners (see Chapter 2); and (5) information that the committee gathered from publications and online resources (e.g., Box 3.1 and elsewhere in the chapter). This chapter does not provide an exhaustive description of all current international projects at the USGS but provides context for the strategic international opportunities identified in Chapter 4. A selected bibliography of peer-reviewed scientific publications written by USGS scientists is compiled in Appendix E for the reader’s interest. CLIMATE AND LAND-USE CHANGE Climate system research examines the Earth’s surface, ecosystems, and hydrosphere, and inherently requires a global perspective. Climate anomalies and patterns develop over scales that transcend political borders, and changing land-use patterns have global causes, feedbacks, and impacts. Thus for climate research, international activities require the ca- pacity to anticipate the impacts of climate on the Earth and its inhabitants, and to suggest strategies for adaptation to and mitigation of ongoing climate change (e.g., NRC, 2010; 2011a). Mission Area and Core Activities The current DOI strategic plan charges the USGS with “conduct[ing] reliable scientific research in ecosystems, climate and land use change…to inform effective decision making and planning” and with “lead[ing] the effort on climate change science research for the Department” (DOI, 2011). The plan recognizes the need to engage internationally in this 40

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS BOX 3.1 The USGS Web Presence for International Science The committee had the advantage of becoming well informed about the Survey’s international science activities from a variety of sources both within and external to the USGS. These sources included published literature, personal communication with and presentations from individuals familiar with USGS international work, and information from various parts of the USGS website. Examination of the USGS website revealed no central listing or description of all of the Survey’s ongo- ing international projects. Some international information was found through a search on the USGS website for the word “international” or using the “International Activities” link near the bottom of the “About USGS” page. These options lead the viewer to the page for the Office of International Programs (OIP), which has informative descriptions of the OIP and how the USGS conducts its international activities, but no information on the many and diverse international projects themselves. On the web pages for the individual mission areas, descriptions or mention of international science activities is inconsistent. Some mission areas, such as Energy and Minerals, describe their international ac- tivities seamlessly, together with their domestic activities on the mission area’s main page. For other mission areas, international work that the committee knows to be taking place is difficult to find on the mission area’s web pages or elsewhere on the Survey website. In the same vein, information about publications—whether official USGS reports, fact sheets or other publications, or articles in peer-reviewed journals—that have resulted from international activities are not collected in a central location or organized within the individual mission area pages. With assistance from the USGS library staff, the committee was able to generate a bibliography of peer-reviewed journal articles by USGS scientists and collaborators on international work; a selection from that bibliography of nearly 300 journal articles is provided in Appendix E. The lack of consistency with respect to a web presence for international science on the USGS web site is significant because the value of this Survey work— identified and described in this chapter by the commit- tee through access to many well-informed sources—would not be evident to someone in the general public attempting to understand more about USGS international science. The websites of the Geological Surveys of Denmark and Greenland, the British Geological Survey, and of the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (www.geus.dk/; www.bgs.ac.uk/; www.brgm.fr/) are examples of other national geological surveys with direct links on the organizations’ main web pages to centralized, informative descriptions (and maps) of their international work. and other mission areas as a core mission responsibility, and identifies key activities and strategies related to sustainable resource management (DOI, 2011). The USGS has clarified its priorities for climate and land-use change in a recent docu- ment entitled USGS Global Change Science Strategy: A Framework for Understanding and Responding to Climate and Land-Use Change (Burkett et al., 2011; hereafter referred to as the GCSS report). The GCSS report describes the science necessary to “broadly inform global change policy,” identifies core competencies in global change science, and outlines key research questions and strategic goals. The six major research goals are to improve un- 41

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S derstanding of (1) rates, causes, and impacts of past global changes; (2) the global carbon cycle; (3) land-use and land-cover change rates, causes, and consequences; (4) droughts, floods, and water availability under changing land use and climate; (5) coastal response to sea-level rise, climatic hazards, and human development; and (6) biological responses to global change. The first two goals are explicitly global, whereas the latter four require a global scope to derive a full understanding of the problems. Complementing the science priorities outlined in the GCSS is USGS participation in a variety of national and international climate research initiatives. The USGS is one of 13 partnering agencies in the national U.S. Global Change Research Program1 (USGCRP), and USGS scientists have contributed to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change2 (IPCC) assessments both as authors of influential papers and as participants in writing and reviewing these reports. USGS scientists have also participated in international dialogues— in meetings, workshops, and visits—that advance worldwide understanding of climate data and information. Current International Activities The USGS has developed a portfolio of international activities that effectively leverage its capabilities in the science of climate and land-use change, particularly in Earth surface observations and studies of climate-ecosystem-land cover interactions. The Survey’s climate work includes the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and water; the effects of climate change on hydrology and ecosystems; the integration of climate and land-cover change; and proxy- based studies of past changes and interactions of climate, landscapes, and ecosystems. The structure of the Survey’s climate activities promotes integration and synergies with other mission areas (e.g., Water and Ecosystems). At the same time, the focal areas draw on the Survey’s scientific strengths and capacities in ways that help distinguish the USGS climate science program from that of other federal agencies. The GCSS report updates these focal areas that take advantage of USGS core strengths and provides linkages to other Survey-wide science directions, all of which include an international dimension. An important asset to the USGS and international science is the management of the Landsat system and the related Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. Landsat’s comprehensive, global view of the Earth’s surface over time provides rich opportunities for basic and applied science related to climate variability and change. The extensive land surface observations acquired by Landsat over the past decades are a highly valuable resource to the scientific community worldwide, particularly as these images are freely available to researchers. Landsat-based observations are a key See www.globalchange.gov/. 1 See www.ipcc.ch/. 2 42

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS resource for melding climate and other USGS priorities, and support a strong role for the USGS in international collaboration and coordination efforts (see next section on Core Science Systems). A further fundamental strength of the USGS lies in the in situ datasets that have resulted from its long history of monitoring and observing and that are highly useful for environmental change research. These datasets include observations of hydrological, cryo- spheric, ecological, and other environmental variables that provide a sound basis for ana- lyzing climate and land-use change impacts. The scope of many such studies extends far beyond U.S. borders. Box 3.2 presents examples of climate- and land-use change-related international projects in which the USGS plays a crucial role. VALuE tO uSGS dOmEStIC mISSIOn The science of climate and land-use change encompasses observations of natural phe- nomena across space and time; the synthesis and integration of datasets at multiple scales; assessment and modeling of fundamental processes and systems; development of near-term projections; and support for environmental decisions. Domestically, the USGS provides scientific input to understand climate and land-use change through collaborations with governments at local, state, tribal, and national levels, and with academic, nongovernmen- tal, and private sector organizations. The knowledge, experience, data, and examples that are gained through international collaborations and studies enhance the capacity of USGS scientists to provide useful information in support of U.S. domestic needs. Climate projections and reconstructions are also important in assessing how future climate could impact resource management and environmental decisions. Such work has led to or nourished international partnerships, which can bring into focus changes occurring outside U.S. borders that could prove to be instructive for evaluating the effects of a future changing climate (e.g., the impact of climate change on sensitive ecosystems, such as coral reefs or Arctic ecosystems). Theoretical advances that enable better analysis of complex environmental systems are another area in which USGS science benefits from collaboration with international research programs. RELEVAnCE tO u.S. nAtIOnAL IntEREStS The USGS addresses national interests in several ways through its international activi- ties in climate and land-use change science. The priorities set forth in the GCSS report (Burkett et al., 2011) align closely with many research elements of the USGCRP: climate variability and change; global water cycle; ecosystems; land-use and land-cover change; and the global carbon cycle. Through its management of the Landsat activities, the Survey is a key resource for USGCRP’s cross-cutting element of “Observing and Monitoring the 43

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S BOX 3.2 Examples of USGS International Activities in Climate and Land-Use Change Earth observation networks yield observations of land cover and land-use change for quantifying and attributing fluxes of carbon from terrestrial systems. These networks monitor biodiversity, desertification, ecosystem performance, and mangroves in regions vulnerable to tsunami. USGS is an active member of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), and is involved in the Forest Carbon Tracking project led by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which supports national carbon estimation and reporting systems worldwide. Satellite-based monitoring of drought and flood enables better understanding, management, and prediction of these climate hazards. The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) focuses on agriculture-related climate deviations and projects food insecurity in Central Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Polar region research provides baseline data needed to assess glacier and ice sheet mass balance. Such data are critical for understanding the processes of sea-level change and local hydrologic and ecosystem impacts (see Figure). Antarctic ice core research at the National Ice Core Lab curates information from international coring programs in Antarctica, Greenland, and at U.S. sites. Ice cores provide critical climate records across thousands of years. Paleoclimate studies focus on global sea levels and analyze changes over the distant past. USGS sci- entists use global climate models to examine climate change research questions from the deep past (3.3 to 3.0 million years ago) and provide insight into the near future. Coastal marine work links relevant global ocean processes, such as sea-level rise and ocean acidifi- cation, to climate change. The work conducted by USGS scientists provides critical coastal information for forecasting future conditions. SOURCES: CEOS (2011); GEO (2011), Robinson and Dowsett (2010), USGS (2005, 2007a, 2009a,b, 2010a). Climate System” and is in a position to address key elements of environmental change, such as security and humanitarian risks posed by environmental degradation. Remote observa- tions provide data, images, and observations that are essential in global research on funda- mental global change processes and trends, ecosystem mapping, carbon cycle studies, and pan-Arctic assessments. Through Earth imaging, for example, the USGS contributes to the Famine Early Warning System Network3 (FEWS NET) that provides information enabling rapid response to food crises in Africa and other regions. Other key partners in FEWS NET are the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations, See www.fews.net/Pages/default.aspx. 3 44

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS FIGURE USGS scientists studying coastal and glacier change along the Antarctic coastline have docu- mented significant ice-sheet retreat in part of the southern Antarctic Peninsula between 1947 and 2009. Maps such as this one are presented in the USGS report Coastal-Change and Glaciological Map of the Palmer Land Area, Antarctica: 1947—2009 (map I—2600—C). SOURCE: USGS (gallery.usgs.gov/ photos/02_18_2010_hLc5FSq11Y_02_18_2010_0). the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). In another example, management of Landsat enables the Survey to play an important role in developing international protocols and conventions for coordinating Earth observa- tions (e.g., through the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites). Furthermore, Landsat activity integrates across nearly all USGS science strategy areas, and strongly supports national-interest activities such as disaster response, biodiversity monitoring, and hydrologi- cal analyses on a worldwide basis (see also next section on Core Science Systems). Individually and collectively, USGS scientists bring expertise and approaches to work in climate and land-use change that strengthen the national climate science enterprise and contribute to the global advancement of climate and land-use science. 45

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S CORE SCIENCE SYSTEMS Mission Area and Core Activities The USGS conducts surveys in geology, hydrology, geography, and biology to support work of user communities in USGS mission areas. Such work has a strong spatial com- ponent and requires a comprehensive mapping capability and infrastructure that is in the purview of the Core Science Systems function, which is carried out through the Biological Informatics Program, National Geospatial Program, National Cooperative Geologic Map- ping Program, National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program, USGS Libraries, and Core Science Informatics (see Box 3.3). Current International Activities In the USGS Biological Informatics Program, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is building a database of species names and their hierarchical classification, for which coordination with both national and international biodiversity programs is es- sential. Similarly, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Geospatial Interoperability Framework (GIF) strategy is based on International Standards Organiza- tion (ISO) standards and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications (see next paragraph), to ensure reciprocal mobility of data at the international level. Other major USGS international initiatives are the World Data Center for Biodiversity and Ecology, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN). Within the National Geospatial Program, the Global Earth Observation System of Sys- tems (GEOSS) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) are important international coordination mechanisms. In addition, through the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the USGS is engaged in the OGC, an international consortium of over 400 com- panies, government agencies, and universities that participate in a consensus process to de- velop publicly available interface standards designed to spatially enable Web, wireless services, and location-based services. These standards enable technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with a broad range of applications. As previously mentioned, Landsat is another example of a comprehensive global pro- gram coordinated by the USGS. Landsat represents the world’s longest continuously ac- quired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. It provides a valuable resource for users worldwide who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research.4 Landsat satellites were initially designed, built, launched and operated by NASA throughout the 1970s; operational 4 control and management of the satellites was transferred to NOAA in 1981. USGS assumed operational management of Landsat in 1999. Further information on the history of Landsat is available in NRC (2011b). 46

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS BOX 3.3 Programs in Core Science Systems at the USGS Biological Informatics Program examines issues at the intersection of biological and information science. The program works with partners to maintain the informatics framework needed for the understanding and management of U.S. biological resources. Major program components include state, regional, and national conservation assessments of native vertebrate species and natural land-cover types; taxonomic, biological, and vegetation information and characterization; and the USGS Science Center Informatics Programs. National Geospatial Program makes and maintains topographic mapping to produce The National Map. The program works cooperatively to share the costs of acquiring and maintaining geospatial data. It also encompasses the Federal Geographic Data Committee, which promotes consistent data and metadata standards, system interoperability, and cross-government best business practices for geospatial resources, policies, standards, and technology as part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program produces geologic mapping to enhance understanding of earth materials, processes, and history across areas including energy, mineral, and water resources, and natural hazards. The program coordinates and supports the production of most geologic maps in the United States through cost-shared federal-state-university partnerships. National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program is responsible for archiving geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and engineering data, maps, well logs, and samples. The program provides and maintains a national catalogue of archived materials and provides technical and financial assistance to state geological surveys. USGS Libraries support comprehensive access to USGS literature, data, and information and serve both internal and external users. There are four branch libraries and there is support for 22 Center Libraries. The collection features 1.5 million volumes of data spanning over 400 years, and 500,000 maps over the globe. The Digital Library Plan encompasses digitization of all USGS-published literature within 5 years, migration of services online, and curation of digital content for long-term accessibility. Core Science Informatics coordinates and develops data integration services, capacity, and framework for Bureau science programs. It supports identification and development of best practices and standards to ensure efficiencies and innovation. It also works with USGS science programs, partners, and industry to improve methods for accessing, integrating, visualizing, and delivering USGS information. The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) provides accurate geologic maps and three-dimensional framework models that support efforts to mitigate natural hazards. The Program works to integrate geologic mapping with progress in geo- logic research worldwide, including using classifications, symbols, and terminology com- patible with usage throughout the international business and research communities, and ensuring that maps are usable by a broad range of clients. For decades, these requirements have been achieved through close coordination with the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP), and the Commission for the Geological Map of the World (CGMW). In recent years, OneGeology, 47

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S an international initiative of the world’s geological surveys dedicated to making geologic map data for the Earth widely accessible, has been of escalating importance. VALuE tO uSGS dOmEStIC mISSIOn Core Science Systems addresses mapping, monitoring, and regional geology directly in support of all other science activities at the USGS. Well described as “ground truth,” geologic maps constitute the worldwide test of the theories, measurements, and analyses of all other mission areas of the USGS. Geologic maps are indispensable for understanding the deep Earth, energy and mineral resources, Earth surface processes, and groundwater availability and quality. Such cartographic data inform and support DOI land management decisions, hazard mitigation, resource identification and evaluation, ecological and climatic monitoring and modeling, and understanding of onshore-offshore sediment processes. RELEVAnCE tO u.S. nAtIOnAL IntEREStS Mapping and related monitoring activities help to sustain and improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the nation by providing the basis for decisions about natural hazard mitigation, land-use planning and management, natural resource development and conservation, and ecosystem and environmental issues. In addition, oversight of global, space-based, moderate-resolution land remote sensing data, Landsat, and other geographi- cally referenced datasets enables users in federal, state, and local governments to conduct tailored research with layered, georeferenced data in many different areas of the United States and the world. This access facilitates project reconnaissance, planning, and data col- lection on the ground; research in areas that are otherwise difficult or impractical to access for ground-based field studies; and continuous monitoring of regions with the potential to collate different kinds of data for the same location to understand changes in Earth processes over time. ECOSYSTEMS Mission Area and Core Activities USGS expertise allows the Survey to advance the understanding of U.S. terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems and predict ecosystem change. The USGS mis- sion on Ecosystems involves activities such as reporting on the state of the nation’s ecosys- tems; studying the causes and impacts of ecological change; and monitoring and providing methods for the protection and management of biological components and processes of ecosystems. Issues such as the distribution, condition, and conservation of organisms and 48

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS predictions of biodiversity change—in conjunction with climate and land-cover change— also fall under the purview of this science direction (DOI, 2011). Core activities focus on ecological and environmental change in the nation’s ecosystems and on the implications for resource managers and the public. The USGS organizes its eco- system science work into major programs on Invasive Species, Fisheries Resources, Terrestrial Resources, and Terrestrial Freshwater and Marine Environments. Although many of the programs and activities in this science area are conducted at USGS science centers and field stations, understanding the full range of stresses and vulnerabilities and the potential eco- system responses is enhanced by investigations conducted outside U.S. borders. Such studies yield information about how similar systems respond to change (e.g., Figure 3.1) and provide understanding of corresponding international perspectives on resources and management strategies. Many USGS scientists and collaborators have developed considerable expertise and experience in this area as a result of their international research and collaborations. Current International Activities USGS international work provides key information on global drivers of ecosystems in U.S. territory. Ecosystem and biological science activities with international components FIGURE 3.1 “The Vanishing Aral Sea.” Located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea was previ- ously one of the largest inland bodies of water. USGS Landsat images capture its diminishing capacity over the span of 30 years due to water usage upstream for crop irrigation. The shrinkage has changed the ecological balance of the area and contributed to habitat loss, increased numbers of sandstorms, and noticeable changes in climate conditions for the region. SOURCE: USGS (landsat.usgs.gov/about_LU_ Vol_3_Issue_4.php). 49

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S • International collaborations such as the USGS cooperative earthquake research programs with Japan and China promote the exchange of research and technolo- gies, and give U.S. scientists access to valuable seismological data that otherwise might be unavailable. RELEVAnCE tO u.S. nAtIOnAL IntEREStS The USGS National Hazards mission area is replete with international activities that are relevant and beneficial to U.S. national interests: • Under the auspices of USAID/OFDA, USGS rapid response to foreign disasters caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and tsunamis directly supports U.S. diplomacy and provides humanitarian benefits. USGS foreign capacity building for hazard mitigation is a typical companion activity to the USAID/OFDA emer- gency responses and provides the added benefit of reduced long-term need for U.S. disaster aid. • Continuous real-time global earthquake monitoring yields critical information for rapid situational awareness. Among the recipients of rapid information from the NEIC on potentially damaging earthquakes are the U.S. Coast Guard National Command Center, White House, DOD, DHS, DOI, DOE, DOS, and Depart- ment of Transportation offices for disaster services (DOI, 2011). The immediate availability of information on significant earthquakes in Afghanistan, western Paki- stan, Iran, and various theaters of U.S. military operations is of direct relevance to U.S. national interests. Data from the Global Seismograph Network also contribute to Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty monitoring. • Partnership of the NEIC with NOAA’s Tsunami Program is vital for tsunami warnings in the Caribbean, the Pacific Basin, and other areas of U.S. government responsibility, military operations, and economic interest. • Volcano monitoring and notification by the VHP are critical for advisories about the potential impact of volcanic ash clouds on civil and military aviation, maritime activities, and global meteorology. • As an integral part of the U.S. government’s National Space Weather Program, the ground-based magnetic observatories of the USGS Geomagnetism Program provide essential data for warnings and forecasts associated with “space weather” (conditions relating to the dynamic interaction of the Earth’s magnetic field with the Sun). Space weather has global implications for the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems—ranging from satellite systems to electric power grids—and is vitally relevant to national security and the U.S. economy (Love et al., 2008; DOI, 2011). 74

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS • The USGS cooperative earthquake research programs with Japan and China support U.S. diplomacy in government-to-government protocol agreements and partnerships. • USGS CMGP activities include membership in the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, chaired by the DOS. The task force evaluates scientific data collected by USGS scientists to address the legally defined continental shelf that encompasses the oceanic basins in the Atlantic and Pacific (DOI, 2011). WATER Mission Area and Core Activities Water plays a central role in the interactions and coupling of different components of the Earth system. The Survey addresses water in the context of local and regional hydro- logic cycles that influence the way in which water can be used as a sustainable resource by providing reliable, impartial, timely information to understand the nation’s water resources, including surface and groundwater systems. The quality and quantity of water in surface and groundwater is affected by human activity and natural causes and the mission of the USGS includes activities related to monitoring water quality and quantity. The primary activities of this mission area involve collection of basic water data through long-term monitoring and project-specific data gathering, data analysis, and basic research. The Survey organizes the Water program into seven areas: (1) Groundwater Resources, (2) National Water Quality Assessment, (3) National Stream Flow Information Program, (4) Hydrologic Research and Development, (5) Hydrologic Networks and Analysis, (6) Cooperative and (7) Water Program Water Resources Research Act Program. The executive summary of the U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007-2017 sets forth the main direction for USGS water research under the title “A Water Census of the United States: Quantifying, Forecasting, and Securing Freshwater for America’s Future”: The USGS will develop a Water Census of the United States to inform the public and decision makers about (1) the status of its freshwater resources and how they are changing; (2) a more precise determination of water use for meeting future hu- man, environmental, and wildlife needs; (3) how freshwater availability is related to natural storage and movement of water, as well as engineered systems, water use, and related transfers; (4) how to identify water sources, not commonly thought to be a resource, that might provide freshwater for human and environmental needs; and (5) forecasts of likely outcomes for water availability, water quality, and aquatic ecosystem health caused by changes in land use and land cover, natural and engi- neered infrastructure, water use, and climate. (USGS, 2007b, p. ix) 75

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S Current International Activities Water availability is directly linked to climate change, countries’ economies, and hu- man existence. Climate change affects global precipitation patterns and groundwater and surface water systems. With increasing global economic interdependence, water has become an internationally-shared resource. Furthermore, human health is critically dependent on the quantity and quality of available water. Population growth and land-use changes as- sociated with urbanization also affect the availability and management of water. Efforts to protect water as a resource and to ensure water sustainability present major scientific and technological challenges that require global knowledge. The USGS, with its long history of research on all components of the hydrologic cycle, has a number of international research activities that contribute to understanding large river systems, flooding, groundwater availability and contamination, technology development, and aquifer assessments (particularly where aquifers cross one or more country borders). Some of the larger projects are (1) a sediment sampling and capacity-building project jointly performed with the Mekong River Commission, the USGS Louisiana Water Sci- ence Center (WSC), and the Office of Surface Water (part of the USAID/OFDA Asia F lood Network);20 (2) instrumentation training in Chile with the USGS Idaho WSC;21 (3) monitoring of Southern Africa flooding for OFDA;22 (4) development of a groundwater model for the Egyptian Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System;23 (5) groundwater resources research in West Africa (see e.g., Box 3.10); (6) Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Pro- gram, which includes collaboration with the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona State Water Resource Research Institutes and neighboring Mexican states; and (7) a broad range of research on surface water, groundwater, and water quality as well as collaborative water monitoring projects with Canada.24 VALuE tO uSGS dOmEStIC mISSIOn The Water science area engages in a broad spectrum of international activities that enhance and benefit USGS domestic programs. Opportunities to study water systems and challenges abroad increase USGS capability to fulfill domestic responsibilities such as the determination of freshwater availability; evaluation of water use; identification of water See “Asia Flood Network (AFN),” July 2006, available at pubs.usgs.gov/gip/130/pdf/GIP130.pdf; see also “The 20 Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance,” October 2006, available at www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/ disaster_assistance/publications/prep_mit/mods/program_updates/asia_flood_network.pdf. See “USGS Hydroacoustics and Sediment Field Techniques Class, January 24–February 4, 2011, Coyhaique, Chile 21 available at www.eula.cl/doc/Programa3.pdf. See www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/south_africa/template/index. 22 html. See www-naweb.iaea.org/napc/ih/IHS_projects_nubian.html. 23 J. Eimers, USGS, personal communication, September 4, 2011. 24 76

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS BOX 3.10 Groundwater Resource Assessment, Cape Verde Islands, West Africa The Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa host volcanic aquifers where a lens of fresh ground- water overlies a layer of brackish water at the freshwater/saltwater boundary. Groundwater is needed by the islands for human consumption, as well as for agriculture and industry. If the amount of groundwater pumped from the volcanic aquifers increases too much, the brackish water or other contaminants can be drawn up into the freshwater zone and make the aquifer unsuitable for use. Similarly, drought or climate change can affect freshwater accessibility. The USGS conducted a study on Cape Verde to evaluate baseline groundwater condi- tions and provide information that could be used to help develop sustainable and clean water resources. A study of three watersheds on three of Cape Verde’s nine islands entailed data collection at varied water discharge points: wells, springs, streams, and direct submarine discharge to the ocean (see Figure). The data were used to assess groundwater budgets, travel time for rainfall through the watershed to the dis- charge point, depth to and vertical column of freshwater, and practical issues of potential contamination and freshwater drawdown due to pumping and the timing and potential for recharge of the freshwater aquifers. FIGURE Hydrologic map of the Mosteiros Basin, Island of Fogo, Cape Verde Islands showing the watershed area with streams, springs, wells, and precipitation stations. Information from research in this watershed was used to identify challenges to water resource managers on Cape Verde and options for monitoring to ensure sustainable water supplies. SOURCE: Heilwel et al. (2010). 77

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S sources; and the forecasting of outcomes for water availability and relationships to ecosys- tems, human health, hazard mitigation, land use practices, and development of mineral and energy resources. The Survey shares this information with other federal, state, and local wa- ter resource managers responsible for surface and groundwater management and safety, land and resource management, mine reclamation, emergency preparedness, and public health. RELEVAnCE tO u.S. nAtIOnAL IntEREStS Because water is tied to climate change, human health, and geopolitical peace within and among nations, any international activities associated with the management of water are relevant to the U.S. national interest. As water becomes a scarce resource, potential exists for conflicts to arise in parts of the world that may already be experiencing dry climates or drought (e.g., Middle East, East Africa). As a preeminent science leader in water science, the USGS has a major role in serving international humanitarian needs and promoting, supporting, and implementing U.S. foreign policy concerning water. The information and expertise the USGS derives from its international water projects thus contributes directly to work conducted by the DOS, USAID, and DOD in addition to international organiza- tions such as the United Nations. SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATON OF EXPERTISE FROM MULTIPLE USGS MISSION AREAS: THE AFGHANISTAN PROJECT A multicomponent, interdisciplinary research project initiated by USGS scientists in Afghanistan beginning in 2005 involved research in coal, oil and gas, minerals, natural hazards, and water (see Box 3.11), and thus engaged scientists from four of the seven USGS mission areas: Core Science Systems, Energy and Minerals, Natural Hazards, and Water. The project was conducted in cooperation with Afghan scientists and research institu- tions to assess the potential for resources essential to Afghanistan’s economic development and emphasized transfer of expertise in such areas as airborne geophysics and geospatial infrastructure development. A similar USGS project in Iraq, supported by the DOD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations,25 involved an assessment of nonfuel mineral and water resources of the country, assistance with development of the Iraq National Spatial Data Infrastructure, and modernization of analytical laboratories. The considerable investment of USGS staff time in such a wide-ranging endeavor over many years cannot be overestimated. In an effort to identify critical future international science opportunities for the USGS in Chapter 4, the committee considered the challenge for Survey management and staff to allocate the scientific expertise of their personnel to See iraq.cr.usgs.gov/. 25 78

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS BOX 3.11 USGS Projects in Afghanistan The USGS has been active in a number of programs to assess Afghanistan’s natural resources and hazards, develop its geospatial infrastructure, and build capacity and institutions essential to the effective transfer of skills. These programs are conducted by the USGS under the auspices of the USAID and the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business Stabilization Operations, and in cooperation with the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) and the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Industry (AMMI). The long-term goals of these activities are to provide data and, more broadly, to develop institutions necessary for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan’s economy, and to promote interest in investment and development. The activities conducted through this project address the following areas: coal resources, oil and gas resources, minerals, natural hazards, water, airborne geophysics, geospatial infrastructure development, and capacity building. Coal resources: Afghanistan has moderate to potentially abundant coal resources. However, most de- posits are relatively deep or currently inaccessible, and the scale of development has been limited. USGS scientists carried out comprehensive assessments of Afghanistan’s coal resources beginning in 2005 in cooperation with the AMMI. Oil and gas resources: USGS scientists collaborated with Afghan scientists to characterize Afghanistan’s petroleum geology by obtaining and reviewing geochemical, geologic, seismic, tectonic, and petroleum exploration and production data. The Survey also collaborated with the AMMI to assess undiscovered oil and gas resources in northern Afghanistan. Minerals: As part of reconstruction efforts, USAID funded a joint USGS-AGS cooperative study from 2005 to 2007 to assess nonfuel mineral resources of Afghanistan (Figure). USGS scientists worked closely with their AGS colleagues to compile information on mineral deposits, and to collect new data on potentially undiscovered deposits of non-fuel mineral resources in Afghanistan. As a result of such collaboration, a 2007 report was produced on a Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan. Natural hazards: Afghanistan is located in a geologically active region with considerable seismic activ- ity. With reconstruction efforts under way to rebuild infrastructure and develop natural resources, major construction plans and facility designs will need to consider the potential impact of natural hazards. Using data on the location, size, and frequency of previous earthquakes in Afghanistan and examining satellite data to locate potential fault lines, USGS researchers have created preliminary earthquake hazard maps. Water: USGS scientists, in collaboration with the AGS and the Afghanistan Ministry of Energy and Water, collected hydrogeological data and developed data-collection networks in order to better understand and manage water resources. continued 79

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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E I N T H E N AT I O N A L I N T E R E S T AT T H E U S G S BOX 3.11 continued Airborne geophysics: USGS researchers used magnetic, gravity, radiometric, and electromagnetic technologies to gather geophysical surveys and produce high-quality datasets for selected minerals. Such data can aid the AGS in their role to assist Afghanistan in business development and investment decisions. Geospatial infrastructure development: USGS scientists have worked with the AGS and AMMI to create an integrated GIS data framework to provide state-of-the-art maps and data. Such databases capa- bilities can equip AGS and AMMI with the ability to assess their natural resources and restore operations for their geosciences ministries. Capacity building: The USGS Capacity and Institution Building Project involves the transfer of knowledge, skills, and expertise from USGS scientists to their Afghan counterparts and colleagues for assisting program development in various Earth science areas. FIGURE Mountains south of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken during fieldwork for the mineral assessment portion of the project. SOURCE: Steve Ludington, USGS (afghanistan.cr.usgs.gov/). 80

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Ongoing International Scientific Activities at the USGS domestic and international projects. In the case of the Afghanistan project, benefits to both U.S. national interests and foreign policy were clearly identified by the project sponsor. CONCLUDING REMARKS The Survey’s portfolio of current and recently completed international science activi- ties includes widespread projects that integrate information and data on natural resources, natural hazards, ecological systems, and environmental health with which authorities and decision makers can evaluate management or policy options. The projects range from satel- lite monitoring of droughts and floods in foreign countries to sampling of invasive species in their countries of origin, monitoring of volcanic activity around the globe, field mapping and sampling of foreign mineral resources, and evaluation of the interaction between water quality and human health. The results from these projects not only fulfill requests from federal agencies and other organizations that call on Survey expertise, but also benefit the Survey’s domestic mission and U.S. national interests. Although some international science projects draw on specific expertise from a single mission area—for example, the successful collaboration on earthquake research between the USGS and Japan and China—many international Earth science problems are best addressed by research that uses a systems approach. Such an approach yields more than one set of data and a broader suite of information for managers and decision makers. The Afghanistan project is one such example, as multiple datasets and analyses of a range of is- sues yielded a more complete foundation for addressing the country’s resource potential and resource management. Such a project demonstrates the Survey’s ability to draw on existing diverse expertise across its organization. Chapter 4 considers other types of international opportunities to make the most of USGS expertise and resources. REFERENCES Alloway, B.J. 2005. Bioavailability of elements in soil. pp. 347-372. In O. Selinus, B.J. Alloway, J.A. Centeno, R.B. Finkelman, R. Fuge, U. Lindh, and P. Smedley (eds), Essentials of Medical Geology. London: Elsevier Academic Press, 812 pp. Blanpied, M.L. 2010. Earthquake Disaster Assistance Team (EDAT): PowerPoint presentation to the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee, Pasadena, California, November 4, 2010. Brady, S., and J. Doebrich. 2011. “U.S. Geological Survey—Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health.” Presentation to the Committee, February 14, 2011. Breit, G.N., J.C. Yount, Md. N. Uddin, Ad. A. Muneem, H.A. Lowers, R.L. Driscoll, and J.W. Whitney. 2006. Compositional data for Bengal delta sediment collected from boreholes at Srirampur, Kachua, Bangladesh: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1222, 51 p. Available online at pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1222/pdf/OF06-1222_508.pdf. Breit, G.N., J.C. Yount, Md. N. Uddin, Ad. A. Muneem, H.A. Lowers, C.J. Berry, and J.W. Whitney. 2007. Compositional data for Bengal delta sediment collected from a borehole at Rajoir, Bangladesh: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2007-1022, 40 p. Available online at pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1022/. Brennan, S.T., R.C. Burruss, M.D. Merrill, P.A. Freeman, and L.F. Ruppert. 2010. A probabilistic assessment methodology for the evaluation of geologic carbon dioxide storage. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1127, 31 pp. Available at pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1127. 81

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