BOX 1-2 CCSP Guiding Vision, Mission, Goals, Core Approaches, and Criteria for Prioritization (CCSP, 2003, pp. 2-8).

CCSP Vision

A nation and the global community empowered with the science-based knowledge to manage the risks and opportunities of change in the climate and related environmental systems.

CCSP Mission

Facilitate the creation and application of knowledge of the Earth’s global environment through research, observations, decision support, and communication.

CCSP Goals

CCSP Goal 1: Improve knowledge of the Earth’s past and present climate and environment, including its natural variability, and improve understanding of the causes of observed variability and change.

CCSP Goal 2: Improve quantification of the forces bringing about changes in the Earth’s climate and related systems.

CCSP Goal 3: Reduce uncertainty in projections of how the Earth’s climate and related systems may change in the future.

CCSP Goal 4: Understand the sensitivity and adaptability of different natural and managed ecosystems and human systems to climate and related global changes.

CCSP Goal 5: Explore the uses and identify the limits of evolving knowledge to manage risks and opportunity related to climate variability and change.

CCSP Core Approaches

  1. Scientific Research: Plan, sponsor, and conduct research on changes in climate and related systems.

  2. Observations: Enhance observations and data management systems to generate a comprehensive set of variables needed for climate-related research.

  3. Decision Support: Develop improved science-based resources to aid decision making.

  4. Communications: Communicate results to domestic and international scientific and stakeholder communities, stressing openness and transparency.

CCSP Criteria for Prioritization

  1. Scientific or technical quality;

  2. Relevance to reducing uncertainties and improving decision support tools in priority areas;

  3. Track record of consistently good past performance and identified metrics for evaluation of future progress;

  4. Cost and value.

success on one of these topics? Does a 0-2 year timeline indicate that work is already underway, and that an update or a revision to an existing model will be regarded as satisfactory realization of the milestone? The committee finds that many of the 0-2 and 2-4 year deliverables are too short to attain any significant progress on scientific goals for which work is not already underway. Clear definition of deliverables is particularly important for research that addresses challenging unanswered questions or involves major advances in capabilities, such as the development of an integrated observing system or upgraded climate models; it may take longer than 4 years to make significant progress in these areas. Moving into the implementation phase, the program should specify the milestones and products more clearly, while ensuring that associated timelines are realistic.


This committee identified a lack of clarity about the relationship between the Global Change Research Program (GCRP) and the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) as one weakness of the draft report (see Box 1-3). The integration of GCRP and CCRI activities has been clarified in the revised plan, which portrays the CCSP as a single integrated program combining longer-term research efforts with shorter-term, targeted decision support and

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