The Environmental System Science (ESS) program is part of the Earth and Environmental Systems Sciences Division (EESSD) within DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER). EESSD has a strategic plan covering the period 2018–2023.
This plan highlights five scientific grand challenges that outline science needs for basic research addressing key uncertainties in the understanding of Earth system components, as well complex uncertainties that arise from the interactions and interdependencies of these components in the coupled Earth system. Research supported by ESS contributes to achieving these grand challenges:
- Integrated Water Cycle. Advance understanding of the integrated water cycle by studying relevant processes involving the atmospheric, terrestrial, oceanic, and human system components and their interactions and feedbacks across scales, thereby improving the predictability of the water cycle and reducing associated uncertainties in response to perturbations.
- Biogeochemistry. Advance a robust, predictive understanding of coupled biogeochemical processes and cycles across spatial and temporal scales by investigating natural and anthropogenic interactions and feedbacks and their associated uncertainties within Earth and environmental systems.
- High Latitudes. Understand and quantify the drivers, interactions, and feedbacks both among the high-latitude components and between the high latitudes and the global system to reduce uncertainties and improve predictive understanding of high-latitude systems and their global impacts.
- Drivers and Responses in the Earth System. Advance next-generation understanding of Earth system drivers and their effects on the integrated Earth-energy-human system.
- Observation-Model Integration. Develop a broad range of interconnected infrastructure capabilities and tools that support the integration and management of models, experiments, and observations across a hierarchy of scales and complexity to address EESSD scientific grand challenges.
To enhance the seasonal to multidecadal predictability of the Earth system using long-term field experiments, DOE user facilities, modeling and simulation, uncertainty characterization, best-in-class computing, process research, and data analytics and management.
To develop an improved capability for Earth system prediction on seasonal to multidecadal time scales to inform the development of resilient U.S. energy strategies.
Download the Strategic Plan
- U.S. DOE. 2018. Climate and Environmental Sciences Division Strategic Plan 2018–2023, DOE/SC–0192, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (science.osti.gov/-/media/ber/pdf/workshop-reports/2018_CESD_Strategic_Plan.pdf).