The committee recognizes that NARSTO’s expertise lies in atmospheric science and that NARSTO has therefore limited its current assessment activities largely to summarizing the state of atmospheric science. At the same time, the committee notes that objectives 5 and 6 of NARSTO’s charge for this assessment (see Box 1–1 of the present report) indicate that NARSTO clearly sees the importance of informing and coordinating the research of the atmospheric-science community with that in related fields. Indeed, objective 6 includes a goal to deliver atmospheric-science research products in a way that is useful to the other communities. The committee finds that it is impossible for NARSTO to meet those objectives without enhanced interaction between the atmospheric-science community and related disciplines, such as human health, ecosystem and climate sciences, and economics and other social sciences. If those links are not addressed better, the value of future assessment chapters devoted to related fields will be limited, as is the case for the chapter on health effects in the draft assessment. Without such strengthened cross-disciplinary links, NARSTO runs the risk of reducing the relevance of its science assessments to the larger air-quality management activity.
The committee recommends that, in preparation for future assessments, NARSTO augment its activities to encompass a broader array of researchers in issues pertaining to air quality, such as human health, ecosystems, and economics and other social sciences. NARSTO should establish or increase the prominence of leadership positions in its organization to foster interactions with the other communities. Such activities as standing committees; workshops; agency, industry, and symposium briefings; and similar endeavors should be pursued to engage the other communities more fully, rather than simply consulting a few researchers from each field in preparing the next assessment.