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3 Executive Summary • Global changes can have tremendous impact on human welfare. These changes may stem from natural processes that began millions of years ago. Responding to these changes without a strong scientific basis could be futile and costly. • This report presents an initial strategy for a comprehensive, long-term U.S. Global Change Research Program. • The goal of the Program is to provide a sound scientific basis for developing national and international policy on global change issues. • The scientific objectives of the Program are to monitor, understand, and ultimately predict global change. • The Program is broad in scope, encompassing the full range of earth system changes, including climatic, volcanic, seismic, ecological, and biological changes. The Program addresses both natural phenomena and the effects of human activity. Global warming, an issue that has received much public attention this past year, is an important element of this Program. • The Program is described in terms of the following seven integrated and interdisciplinary science elements (see Appendix B for amplification) in order to provide a view of global change activities from the interdisciplinary level instead of from the traditional single-discipline or single-agency level: 1. Biogeochemical Dynamics 2. Ecological Systems and Dynamics 3. Climate and Hydrologic System
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