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Fact Sheet

NSF: Supporting Research on the Changing Climate

February 1, 2010

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The evidence for a changing planet goes well beyond any one field of science or engineering. The earth's climate is determined by highly complex interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere and biosphere. Sophisticated computer models take into account a dizzying panoply of observations, analyses, insights and historic records.

NSF contributes multiple resources to support the U.S. Global Change Research Program and other nationwide initiatives that are helping us understand and confront this global challenge. Consistent with national priorities, NSF-supported fundamental research provides a sound basis for decisions and policies by federal, state, regional and local authorities.

NSF programs address these challenges through investments in fundamental discovery, research infrastructure and educational activities. High priorities include the data acquisition and information management activities necessary for global change research; the enhancement of models designed to improve our understanding of Earth, atmospheric, and oceanic processes; the development of observing instruments and platforms; and the development of advanced analytic research methods.

NSF also supports fundamental research on the processes used by organizations to identify and evaluate policies for mitigation, adaptation and other responses to environmental conditions.

In FY 2011, NSF plans to expand and enhance its efforts to get research results to multiple users by developing a new program, Science and Engineering Education for Sustainable Well-Being (SEES). SEES will integrate NSF's existing efforts in climate and energy science and engineering research with new education and cyber-based activities. The aim is to enable a comprehensive knowledge base that can inform societal actions aimed at achieving a sustainable planet. This program responds to recommendations in a 2009 National Science Board report, "Building a Sustainable Energy Future."


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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