Survey Manual

120.5 - Office of the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Office of the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change, provides executive-level leadership for climate and land use change monitoring, research, modeling, and analysis to help the Nation understand and prepare for climate and land use change and their effects. 


OPR:  Office of Climate and Land Use Change

Instructions:  New Survey Manual Chapter.

1.  General Functions.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Office of the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change, provides executive-level leadership for climate and land use change monitoring, research, modeling, and analysis to help the Nation understand and prepare for climate and land use change and their effects.  Results of the research and investigations are utilized by the Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus; other Federal, State, and local government policymakers; and land and resource managers to anticipate and prepare for changes resulting from climate and land use change.  The office also manages the Nation’s land imagery in support of a broad range of national and international purposes.

2.  Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change.  The Associate Director exercises the authority delegated by the USGS Director to provide leadership and nationwide guidance for the climate and land use change research activities of the bureau and ensures integration of these activities with the strategic goals of the USGS, DOI, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  This includes scientific and technical leadership in the areas of climate change, land use monitoring and analysis, remote sensing science, and planning and development of expanding Earth observation programs.  Responsibilities for these functions are shared with a Deputy Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change.  The Associate Director and Deputy Associate Director are assisted in the development and implementation of the national climate and land use change programs by the following senior management team: 

A.  Director, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS), manages all activities at the science center.  EROS holds the world’s largest collection of civilian remotely sensed data covering the Earth’s land surface, archiving millions of satellite images and aerial photographs.  EROS functions include: managing the operation of land imaging satellites and supporting ground systems, and the development of new systems; managing the archiving of geospatial data and information gathered primarily from satellites and aerial systems, including the distribution and interpretation of that information; and managing research with a particular emphasis on the use of land imaging, including research of architecture issues for future land imaging.  Terrestrial monitoring and research associated with climate and land use change is a critical element in the EROS mission. 

B.  Director, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), provides science and technical support regarding the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife and the ecological process for responding to the research and management needs of partners.  The NCCWSC science agenda focuses on the linkage of global climate information with fundamental ecological knowledge and the application of this understanding to the particular species, habitats, and ecosystems present in each U.S. region.  The NCCWSC serves as the lead for establishing the DOI’s climate science centers, which provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers, and other interested parties can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate and ecologically-driven responses at area-to-local scales. 

C.  Coordinators, Climate and Land Use Program.  Coordinators are responsible for climate and land use change program planning, budget development, and program evaluation.  The Program Coordinators develop strategic program plans; coordinate programmatic activities within and outside the USGS to ensure broad participation in interdisciplinary studies; and conduct program reviews of current scientific projects to ensure that science is relevant to the national objectives, meets the priorities of land managers, and is coordinated with other science and natural resource agencies.  The Climate and Land Use Change programs include the following:

(1)  Land Change Science (LCS) Program conducts research on the patterns, processes, and consequences of changes in land use, land condition, and land cover at multiple spatial and temporal scales, resulting from the interactions between human activities and natural systems.  LCS leads the biological carbon sequestration assessment, in support of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), Section 711 and Section 712, which authorized DOI through the USGS, to conduct biologic and geologic carbon sequestration assessments of the Nation.  The carbon sequestration objectives include improving the understanding of carbon sequestration in subsurface geologic rock formation and ecological systems as well as greenhouse gas fluxes related to land use using research capabilities from the USGS and other organizations.  (The geologic carbon sequestration assessment is led by the USGS energy resources program under the Associate Director for Energy and Minerals.

(2)   Land Remote Sensing (LRS) Program supports USGS activities that provide high-quality remotely sensed data for understanding global changes of the Earth’s landscape.  The LRS Program ensures a comprehensive record of land surface data are available for environmental and economic research and decision making by DOI, other USGS programs, and other Federal, State, and local interests.  The LRS Program funds and supports the collection, processing, archiving, and distribution of operationally and scientifically relevant global land and coastal observations acquired from aircraft or satellites; ensuring that these data are permanently maintained and made accessible to USGS partners, cooperators, stakeholders, and other customers; investigating future remote sensing missions, sensors, and data relevant to the mission of DOI; and supporting the development of a comprehensive and integrated land-change monitoring and assessment capability that provides essential climate variable measurements needed to quantify and understand natural- and human-induced patterns of land change, provide inputs to land-change models, and inform scientific assessments and decision makers of the consequences of land change.  LRS leads the National Civil Applications Program, which provides for the acquisition, dissemination, archive, and exploitation of classified remote sensing systems and data to address land and resource management, environmental, hazards, disasters, and other geospatial scientific analysis and policy issues.  LRS also provides the Executive Secretariat for the Civil Applications Committee, which coordinates and oversees the Federal civil use of classified overhead remotely-sensed assets.
(3)  Climate Research and Development (R&D) Program supports fundamental scientific research to understand and model the processes controlling Earth system responses to climate and land-use change.  R&D research includes observations of ecosystem responses to climate and land-cover change over local-to-global spatial scales and daily-to-millennial timescales.  The range of research topics is used to document the response of the Earth system to both natural climate variability and anthropogenic change.  Modeling efforts within R&D produce climate model results over area-to-global scales relevant to USGS partners, cooperators, and stakeholders and the mission of the DOI.  Focused, multi-disciplinary research on processes and impacts of climate and land-use change provides the data needed to evaluate resource-management challenges and hazards associated with future climate and land-use change and to inform decisions on consequences of climate and land use changes.


/s/ Suzette M. Kimball                                                           August 25, 2015
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Suzette M. Kimball                                                                            Date
Acting Director, U.S. Geological Survey