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British Geological Survey 175th Anniversary Symposium 28 September 2010. Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges with Integrated Science. Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director U.S. Geological Survey. U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey. U.S. Department of the Interior

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British Geological Survey

175th Anniversary Symposium

28 September 2010

Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges with Integrated Science

Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey

a look ahead
A Look Ahead
  • The need for trusted, authoritative science information
  • The fundamental role of government-sponsored science
  • The nature of USGS science
  • Integrated science promotes synergy in knowledge and in practice
  • A recent example of integrated science
  • New frontiers for geological surveys

Night light produced largely from fossil fuels

An index of population and human power in the environment


Night light produced largely from fossil fuels


Human-induced changes on a global scale

  • Rising demand for resources
  • Climate change
  • Approaching thresholds of ecosystems
increased demand
Increased demand
  • Energy
  • Minerals
  • Water
  • Agriculture
global issues concerning society and the environment
Global issues concerningsociety and the environment
  • Competition for, natural threats to, natural resources
  • Natural hazards – floods, earthquakes, landslides
  • Effects of wildlife disease on human health
  • Availability of water for people and ecosystems
  • Effects of climate change on resources, ecosystems, human health
  • _______________
  • An urgent need for authoritative, trusted science information
the nature of usgs science
The Nature of USGS Science
  • The Nation’s natural science agency.
  • Conducts independent research.
  • Our reputation is our most important asset.
  • Science resources leveraged in partnership with
  • more than 2,000 agencies in the U.S. and abroad: . State, local, tribal governments . Academic community . Other Federal allies . Non-governmental organizations . Private sector
usgs science information
USGS Science Information

The National Map

Usually held in large archives

Provides historical record for improved baselines

Beyond the capabilities of states or universities

Helps forestall duplicative efforts

Free access, in public domain

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

The Earth behaves as a system in which oceans, atmosphere and land, and the living and non-living parts therein, are all connected.

Global Change and the Earth System

Steffen et al, 2005

USGS Science Strategy: A Systems Approach



Climate and Land-Use Change

Energy, Minerals, and Human Health

Natural Hazards



Informatics and Data Integration

USGS Realignment follows USGS Science Strategy

Science Quality and Integrity


USGS Science in the Gulf:

the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey

deepwater horizon oil spill effects
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Effects
  • April 20 explosion, 11 fatalities
  • Total oil released: Apr. 22 – July 15 (when flow suspended) 4.9 million barrels, +/- 10% (FRTG)
  • Over 1.8 M gallons of dispersant (as of 8/23)
  • Over 80,000 square miles of Gulf closed to fishing (8/10)
  • 642 mi. of coastline impacted,343 mi. currently oiled (8/25)
pre impact assessment
Pre-Impact Assessment
  • Water, sediment and benthic samples taken at ~70 locations
  • Conducted coastal vegetation photo surveys and ground truthing
  • Remote sensing and production of maps and GIS layers showed historical and current locations of trust resources, coastal ecosystems, and shoreline conditions``````````````````````````
flow rate technical group mass balance team
Flow Rate Technical GroupMass Balance Team

Methodology peer reviewed and published, May 14

well integrity team
Well Integrity Team

Director McNutt with Well Integrity Team members (l to r):Paul Hsieh, Water Mooney, Marcia McNutt, Steve Hickman, Cathy Enomoto, Phil Nelson

the relevance of national surveys
The Relevance of National Surveys

Authoritative, unbiased


Extensive national and global observation networks and databases require a national commitment

Historical perspective essential for information continuity and archival

Decision support tools Partnerships optimize science resources, build consensus

toward future geological surveys
Toward future geological surveys

New frontiers for Geological Surveys

Move beyond traditional categories of natural resources

Assess effects of societal actions on the environment

Consider societal resilience to hazards Create decision support systems using all available scientific data

Geological surveys can expand as vital sources for science information