After 4.6 Billion Years, Earth's Turning Point

Mother Earth has been evolving slowly over the past 4.6 billion years. Recently, however, human activities have begun to affect our planet significantly.

To protect the Earth's environment and ecosystems and to help human societies to develop in harmony with nature, it is essential to understand the mechanisms of the global environment and to observe and predict global change.

Against this background, the Subcommittee on Earth Science and Technology, the Council for Aeronautics, Electronics, and Other Advanced Technologies, and the Science and Technology Agency (the present Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, or MEXT) published a report entitled "Towards the Prediction of Global Change" in July 1996. The report highlighted the need to integrate research and development into one system that incorporates process research, observation, and simulation.

To realize this objective, the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) (the present Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA]) and the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (the present Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology [JAMSTEC]) established the Frontier Research System for Global Change in October 1997. The aim of the system was to implement process research (modeling) for predicting global changes.

In July 2004, following the restructuring of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the Frontier Research System for Global Change became the Frontier Research Center for Global Change (FRCGC) and began research activities based on a new five-year mid-term research plan. The FRCGC aspires to become a center of excellence in global-change research, and to actively contribute to international cooperation in science and technology. It will focus on international joint research and participate in evaluation projects such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Climate Research Project (WCRP).

Importance of the prediction of global change