selection of detailed questions to be pursued, particularly in light of existing NRC reports, such as Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade. 6

The committee's report begins with a summary of findings and recommendations. Section III, Section IV through Section V address, respectively, the primary science issues, the detailed science questions, and NASA's responsibility for answering the detailed questions. The detailed science questions are listed in Appendix B. Section VI discusses the criteria for setting research priorities and for choosing future missions. Appendix C indicates how the criteria discussed in Section VI would be applied in an Announcement of Opportunity for exploratory missions. Section VII discusses strategic elements of a research strategy and provides specific suggestions for improving the Plan. Finally, the committee's conclusions are summarized in Section VIII.

The ESE Research Strategy

The NASA Earth Science Enterprise Research Strategy for 2000-2010 was written explicitly to delineate the science objectives and questions that NASA can address and a strategy for addressing those questions. Although the document is called a research strategy, it contains elements of both a strategy, in that it identifies the science questions to be answered, and an implementation plan, in that it shows, for example, how the questions are to be answered by measuring specific quantities. In the review that follows, the document is referred to simply as the Plan.

NASA's Earth Science Enterprise addresses research problems related to Earth's natural systems. Its research strategy is organized around five primary Earth system science issues. Each of the primary science issues is followed by a list of detailed science questions and the criteria according to which the questions were ranked. The quantities needed to answer the detailed science questions are summarized in tables, one for each primary science issue. A discussion of ESE research themes (i.e., ESE's program structure) closes the document.

Relationship of the ESE to the U.S. Global Change Research Program

The ESE research program is divided into five disciplinary themes, including oceans and ice, ecosystems, atmospheric chemistry, global water and energy cycle, and solid-Earth science. This mix of disciplines reflects NASA's heritage as a provider of space-based observing systems for addressing a wide range of research problems in the natural sciences. Many of these problems are also relevant to global change research, and NASA has designated certain components of the ESE as its contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research program (USGCRP).7 The global change component of the ESE is the largest agency contribution to the program, accounting for 70% of the total USGCRP budget and 100% of the USGCRP's space-based observation programs. The ESE program structure has significant overlaps with, but also key differences


NRC, 1998, Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 595 pp.


The USGCRP was established in 1989 to develop and coordinate a research program to understand, assess, predict, and respond to natural and human-induced global change. Nine federal agencies and the Executive Offices of the President participate in the program. See Subcommittee on Global Change Research, 1999, Our Changing Planet: The FY2000 U.S. Global Change Research Program Implementation Plan and Budget Overview. Washington, D.C., 100 pp.

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