The proposed National Science Foundation (NSF) budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 1987 contains funding for a major new initiative [Waldrop, 1986], the Global Geosciences Program, which consists of separate but related research efforts that treat the earth as an integrated system of global oceanic and atmospheric circulation systems and as a delicate and dynamic balance of biogeochemical fluxes that sustain life on our blue planet.
This paper concerns the status of one important element of this program, the U.S. segment of the Global Ocean Flux Study, which is now being planned with NSF and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) support. What is the origin of such a program? What are its aims? How might it be accomplished? Finally, why is it necessary at this time?