FY 1996 Budget Request: NSF - Geosciences, Polar Programs

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Publication date: 
15 February 1995
Number: 
28

Below are summaries of the Fiscal Year 1996 National Science
Foundation budget requests for the Geosciences Activity and Polar
Programs.  These are two separate activities and budgets under
NSF's Research and Related Activities appropriation (comparable to
the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Activity which supports
physics and astronomy research.)  See FYI #22 for an overview of
the entire NSF budget; as well as FYI #26 and forthcoming FYI #29
and 30.

GEOSCIENCES ACTIVITY:  NSF requested a $451.48 million budget for
this activity, which is a 7.6%, or $31.99 million increase.  There
are three subactivities funded under this budget, each containing
separate categories:

Atmospheric Sciences Subactivity: NSF requested $155.84 million,
which is a $12.03 million (8.4%) increase.  There are two
categories of spending under this subactivity.  The first category
is Atmospheric Sciences Research Support, which would receive a
budget of $91.01 million.  NSF proposes to increase this research
support by $5.58 million (6.5%) to permit "a better understanding
and improved predictive capability of costly and disruptive storms
on Earth and in space; and continued support of activities that are
a part of international field programs...."  The second category is
the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which would receive
a $6.45 million (11.0%) increase for a total of $64.83 million.
This increase would upgrade "high-performance computing and data
storage facilities to support large, long-running simulations of
Earth's climate system...."

Earth Sciences Subactivity: NSF requested $90.05 million, which is
a $7.74 million (9.4%) increase.  There are three categories of
spending under this subactivity.  The first category is Earth
Sciences Project Support, which would receive $58.57 million.  NSF
requested an increase of $4.08 million (7.5%) for interdisciplinary
emphasis in various areas, a joint initiative with the Ocean
Sciences Subactivity, and additional support for university student
research.  The second category is Instrumentation and Facilities,
for which $22.15 million is requested, an increase of $1.72 million
(8.4%).  This increase is targeted for the global seismic network
and shared analytical facilities.  The third category is
Continental Dynamics, for which $9.33 million is requested, an
increase of $1.94 million (26.3%) for "participation of U.S.
scientists and engineers in a coordinated international continental
drilling activity."  The budget document states, "The funds
requested above for the Earth Sciences Subactivity include $11.20
million, an increase of $300,000 for research on fundamental
earthquake studies, an element of the National Earthquake Hazard
Reduction Program."

Ocean Sciences Subactivity: NSF requested $205.59 million, which is
a $12.22 million (6.3%) increase.  There are three categories of
spending under this subactivity.  The first category is Ocean
Sciences Research Support, which would receive $111.30 million.  A
$7.40 million (7.2%) increase is requested for the Coastal Ocean
Processes Program, the RIDGE Mantle Electromagnetic and Tomography
project, and focused studies of continental margins.  The second
category is Oceanographic Centers and Facilities, which would
receive $54.20 million, an increase of $3.60 million (7.1%).  This
increase "will support continued ship and submersible operations,
maintenance, and technical support, as well as instrumentation
improvements and coordination functions."  The third category is
the Ocean Drilling Program, which would receive a $41.09 million
budget, an increase of $1.22 million (3.1%), "to maintain the
current level of effort for the program as operating costs
increase."

U.S. POLAR PROGRAMS:  NSF is requesting a $234.88 million budget,
which is a 6.1% or $13.48 million increase.  The budget document
states:

"NSF conducts Polar Programs through two Activities:

"U.S. Polar Research Programs includes funding for both arctic and
antarctic research, as well as operations and science support.

"U.S. Antarctic Logistical Support Activities funds logistics
provided by the Department of Defense that contribute to the U.S.
presence in Antarctica."  NSF is requesting $62.60 million for this
Activity, which is the current year budget.

The Polar Research Programs budget would increase $13.48 million
(8.5%) to $172.28 million.  There are three Polar Research Program
components.  The first component is the U.S. Arctic Research
Program, for which $31.57 million is requested, a $6.0 million
(23.5%) increase.  This increase is targeted toward Arctic System
Science, Arctic Logistics, and other research projects.  The second
component is U.S. Antarctic Research Program, for which $31.54 is
requested, an increase of $2.48 million (8.5%).  This increase
would support major research cruises, McMurdo science laboratory
environmental research, and "support for the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet (WAIS) program, a multidisciplinary program investigating the
potential collapse of this massive ice sheet and its possible
impact on sea level."  The third component under this over-all
budget is Operations and Science Support.  A $109.17 million budget
is requested, which is an increase of $5.00 million (4.8%).  The
increase is targeted to "various civilian contractor functions to
support the antarctic research program," including increases in
Research Support and Information Systems.