Dear NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Researcher:
Please read this message! It is important that you be aware of the many planning activities affecting NASA that are currently underway or about to begin. It is equally important that you understand that your knowledge and perspective are needed and will be valued.
Already underway are:
1) The National Research Council (NRC) Decadal Survey to generate prioritized recommendations from the Earth and environmental science and applications community regarding a systems approach to the space-based and ancillary observations that encompasses the research programs of NASA and the related operational programs of NOAA.
2) NASA agency-wide "strategic roadmapping" to produce a coordinated and comprehensive longitudinal strategy, with key achievements, options, and decision points identified, that provides a foundation for NASA's long-term priorities and investments. Thirteen NASA objective focused roadmaps (strategic program plans) and fifteen capability-focused roadmaps will be produced.
Within the next year or so, these planning activities will produce high-level guidance for program priorities and activities through ~2030. They present rare opportunities to have a major influence on NASA research program directions.
The NASA Science Mission Directorate is revising its advisory committee and subcommittee structure to be consistent with NASA's recent reorganization of Earth and space science into a single Science Mission Directorate. The Space Science Advisory Committee (SScAC) and the Earth Science and Applications Advisory Committee (ESSAAC) are now meeting together, and plans are being developed to merge them into a single committee. The Earth-Sun System Sub-committee is being formed to focus on Earth science and applications and the Earth-sun connection.
The Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Focus Area will soon begin an advance planning activity to develop and publish new program plans. This planning will encourage a fresh look at future directions and priorities for the focus area. Future plans for these program elements - Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry, Land-Cover and Land-Use Change, and Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity - will be addressed. It is expected that the current Earth science research strategy and Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems focus area roadmap, the new NASA roadmaps, the results of the Decadal Survey, and other relevant program plans (e.g., U.S. Climate Change Science Program, Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), Global Carbon Project, Global Land Project, etc.) will provide valuable inputs, but that significant new thinking will be needed to develop a more detailed plan customized to the needs of NASA's carbon cycle and ecosystems research community and optimized for the unique role NASA can play. The advanced planning activity also will consider that the research output from the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems focus area will be input for roadmaps and planning activities within several elements of the Applied Sciences Program including carbon management, ecological forecasting, and invasive species.
We expect the focus area advance planning process to occur over the next 18-24 months and request that you prepare yourself to engage in that process. We would like this to be as much of an inclusive, community-driven process as possible. Right now we are thinking of appointing a steering committee, broadly seeking white papers to identify topics/activities of interest, having one or more workshops / "all scientist" meetings, and ultimately producing a written document on the order of 30-50 pages. We are open to suggestions as to how to make this process most efficient and rewarding, and we seek your comments in this regard. Dr. Bill Emanuel, a visiting scientist (Intergovernmental Personnel Act) assigned to the Terrestrial Ecology Program, has agreed to coordinate our NASA HQ participation in this process.
The Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry and Land-Cover and Land-Use Change programs have annual investigator team meetings that will provide opportunities to work on the new program plans. Projects within this focus area addressing biodiversity and related issues will be meeting in late August, per an e-mail from Woody Turner. The Terrestrial Ecology program will schedule such a meeting within the next 12 months.
A new Land Measurements Team is being formed to watch over the systematic time series of land and snow cover, vegetation biophysical properties, and land surface temperature data products. This is analogous to the Ocean Color Team already in place and signals NASA's continuing evolution from mission-oriented to measurement-oriented science teams.
Please, as you begin to hear about one or more of the above activities/groups, understand that some are operating at different levels and for somewhat different purposes, but they are all inter-related. If you are invited to provide input, serve on a committee, or attend a meeting, we hope you will be able to accept - as well as understand how that activity fits with the others. If you have any questions or would like more information on these activities, any one of us would be delighted to help.
Diane E. Wickland, Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Focus Area Lead & Terrestrial
Paula Bontempi, Ocean Biology & Biogeochemistry Program
Bill Emanuel, Terrestrial Ecology Program
Garik Gutman, Land-Cover and Land-Use Change Program
Ed Sheffner, Applied Sciences Program
Woody Turner, Applied Sciences Program and Biodiversity
Diane E. Wickland, PhD
Manager, Terrestrial Ecology Program and
Lead, Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Focus Area
Science Mission Directorate
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546-1000