NOTE: "Draft document for public comment only--Professional editing will follow public comment period." From the document summary: "Earth's environment is changing rapidly. Increases in world population and 65 industrialization are altering the atmosphere, ocean, land use, ecosystems and the distribution of species over the planet. Scientific research, including monitoring and modeling of the multifaceted Earth system, provides information for governments, businesses, and communities to understand these changes and to respond to potential risks brought about by global change, such as more severe heat waves, storms, floods, fires, crop failures, and water shortages. Created by Congress in 1990, the United States Global Change Research Program USGCRP) coordinates federal research aimed at understanding, assessing, and responding to global change. During the Program's first two decades, member agencies and partners in industry, academia, and state, local, and foreign governments have created and maintained a mix of atmospheric, oceanic, land, and space-based observing systems, gained new theoretical understanding of Earth system processes, developed predictive models, promoted advances in data management and sharing, and developed an expert scientific workforce."
Global Change: http://www.globalchange.gov/