The responses to the eight policy questions need to be revised. The committee recommends that each response begins with a clear and succinct reply to the question and follow it with a description of important scientific knowledge that supports it. Each response should also identify additional research needed to answer the policy question and to make better air-quality management decisions.
The committee recommends that NARSTO, in preparing future assessments, enhance its interaction with the policy community. The committee finds that the draft assessment falls short especially in terms of the method for eliciting information needs from decision-makers and communicating the policy implications of the science to them. The committee strongly recommends that social scientists with expertise in elicitation of information be engaged in the process of developing policy guidance for future assessments. In providing policy-relevant atmospheric-science information, NARSTO should strive to discuss tradeoffs, options, and priorities more explicitly. By articulating policy implications less ambiguously, NARSTO will be more effective in informing policy development.
The committee also recommends that NARSTO focus on better placing the atmospheric-science information in the context of impacts on health, visibility, ecosystems, and global climate and with regard to implications for economics and other social sciences. To do that effectively, NARSTO needs to engage the relevant communities more fully and foster interaction with them. For example, NARSTO should consider establishing or increasing the prominence of leadership positions in its organization for persons whose responsibilities include linking to the other communities via standing committees, workshops, briefings, and similar endeavors. Failure of NARSTO to strengthen its cross-discipline interactions will limit the value of chapters of a future assessment, devoted to other related fields, as is the case with the chapter on health effects in the current draft assessment. What is more serious, the relevance of atmospheric-science research to the larger air-quality management activity could be compromised.