A New Integrated Climate/Environmental Activity: the Northern Eurasia Earth Science Partnership Initiative (NEESPI)

The recognition that environmental, including climate, issues require an integrated assessment is being implemented by NEESPI. This is an international effort including USA and Russian scientific involvement. The Science plan states,

“Climatic changes in Northern Eurasia (20% of the global land mass) interact and affect the rate of the Global Change through atmospheric circulation and through strong biogeophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks. These feedbacks arise from changes in surface energy, water, and carbon budgets of the continent. How this carbon-rich, cold region component of the Earth system functions as a regional entity and interacts with and feeds back to the greater global system is to a large extent unknown. Thus, the capability to predict future changes that may be expected to occur within this region and the consequences of those changes with any acceptable accuracy is currently uncertain and hampers projections of the Global Change rates.

One of the primary reasons for this lack of regional Earth system understanding is the relative paucity of well-coordinated, multidisciplinary and integrating studies of the critical physical and biological systems. Furthermore, the critical measurements needed to monitor changes in the area are not available. NEESPI strives to understand how the land ecosystems and continental water dynamics in northern Eurasia interact with and alter the climate system, the biosphere, the atmosphere, and the hydrosphere of the Earth. Its overarching Science Question is: How do we develop our predictive capability of terrestrial ecosystems dynamics over Northern Eurasia for the 21st century to support global projections as well as informed decision making and numerous practical applications in the region?

The foci of the NEESPI research strategy are the deliverables, which support both national (primarily the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, CCSP) and international science (e.g. International Geosphere Biosphere Program, IGBP) programs.”

The NEESPI mission statement reads,

“The Northern Eurasia Earth Science Partnership Initiative (NEESPI) will identify the critical science questions and establish an international program of coordinated research on the state and dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems in northern Eurasia and their interactions with the Earth’s Climate system to enhance scientific knowledge and develop predictive capabilities to support informed decision-making and practical applications. ”

This program builds on the recognition that climate is a system involving physical, biological and chemical processes, as we discussed in our July 11th blog entitled “What is climate? Why does it matter how we define climate?”, and as identified by the 2005 National Research Council report , and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.

More details on NEESPI are available at http://neespi.org/.

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