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The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has appointed a Water Cycle Study Group (WCSG),chaired by George Hornberger of the University of Virginia, to advise the USGCRP agencies on development of a Global Water Cycle Program within the USGCRPThe aim is to define a USGCRP initiative for fiscal years 2001 and beyond. In appointing the group, Robert Corell (then chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research) noted that “Deficiencies in our understanding of the global water cycle severely handicap efforts to improve climate prediction and guide water resource planning. Central to this initiative is the establishment of a science community-based research planning process complemented by an enhanced interagency coordination effort to address the content of this effort for FY 2001 and beyond.”

The charge to the WCSG is to “formulate a research strategy and scientific plan for investigating the global water cycle, its role in climate, and the fundamental processes that govern the availability and the biogeochemistry of water resources, [and to] develop the strategy and science plan for a national program.” The WCSG is assisted by a parallel Interagency Working Group (IWG), which is charged with coordinating agency activities with the development of the WCSG science plan.The IWG is cochaired by Rick Lawford of NOAA's Office of Global Programs and Robert Schiffer of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise.