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Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

August 4, 2004
RELEASE : 04-258
NASA Selects Proposals To Study Global Carbon Cycling
NASA, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy, recently awarded 59 research grants to study changes in the distribution and cycling of carbon among land, ocean, and atmospheric reservoirs, with emphasis on North America. These new research activities are funded as part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP).

"NASA is very proud of this tremendous opportunity for interagency cooperation to help improve and protect our home planet," said Dr. Ghassem Asrar, Deputy Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "Carbon is a fundamental building block for life on Earth and we need to better understand how Earth's living system cycles this essential element," he added.

The global carbon cycle affects Earth's climate. Of special interest are factors that control changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations, as well as the effectiveness of carbon management meant to mitigate increases in these greenhouse gases. Within the CCSP, the North American Carbon Program (NACP) focuses on continental carbon dynamics of special U.S. interest. NACP investigators are endeavoring to close the carbon budget with respect to sources, sinks, and observed changes in atmospheric carbon over North America and adjacent oceans.

"I am delighted to see this solid collaboration among agencies, with NASA's lead, supporting new research that conforms so well to the goals and priorities of CCSP," said Dr. James R. Mahoney, Director of the CCSP. "The North American Carbon Program research is an important step forward in reducing the major uncertainties about global climate change that are the focus of the Administration's Climate Change Research Initiative," he added.

While emphasizing North America, the selected projects will also model and analyze the global carbon cycle and its control of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane. Regionally focused projects will work to reduce major uncertainties about carbon cycle dynamics outside of North America where NASA's unique observations provide data about remote areas of the Earth.

The 59 proposals selected will receive approximately $14 million a year over a three-year period. The grants will go to researchers at universities, government laboratories, and other organizations that will investigate virtually every aspect of the contemporary carbon cycle. NASA received 301 proposals in response to the research announcement of April 2004.

For a complete listing of the research projects selected and their principal investigators on the Internet, visit:

For information about the CCSP on the Internet, visit:


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