The grayware required to deal with global change issues
It has become increasingly apparent that improving our understanding of the functioning of the Earth as a closely coupled interactive system is a prerequisite to knowledgeable management of the planet’s resources and to the preservation and enhancement of the global environment. Developing this understanding is indeed a tremendous scientific and institutional challenge. A primary objective of this paper is to underscore need for the Nation’s higher educational system to better prepare our future citizens, decisionmakers, and scientists to deal with global change issues. A second major theme of this discussion is the role the mapping sciences can play in both detecting the signals and helping to predict the impacts of global change. Specific examples of ongoing research are used to illustrate this point. Satellite observation of lake ice is being tested as a potential means for detecting regional climatic change, and coupling of ecosystem process models with GIS techniques is being used to predict the response of lakes located in northeastern Wisconsin to alternative climate change scenarios.