The Earth's ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles (such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) both drive and respond to environmental changes ranging from local to global scales. These environmental changes are occurring on an unprecedented scale, in both time and geographical extent. Major uncertainties in Earth science originate from the dynamics and interactions within and between ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles across land, ocean, atmospheric, and human systems. Resolution of uncertainties is needed because of the profound implications for future climate, food production, biological diversity, sustainable resource management, etc. Thus, several programs in the Earth Science Division coordinate their activities and facilitate interdisciplinary inquiry about Earth's carbon cycle and ecosystems. Their overarching science goal is to: Detect and predict changes in Earth’s ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, including land cover, biological diversity, and the global carbon cycle.
Major Research Objectives:
Document and understand how the global carbon cycle, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and land cover and use are changing
Quantify global productivity, biomass, carbon fluxes, and changes in land cover
Provide information about future changes in global carbon cycling and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for use in ecological forecasting and as inputs for improved climate change projections.