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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan 4 GAPP AND RELATED PROGRAMS The statement of task (Appendix A) for this review requires the committee to comment on how the GAPP science and implementation plan (NOAA-NASA 2004) relates to the science goals of other programs. Specifically mentioned are CCSP, the CPPA, GEWEX, and other programs with similar goals. Question 2 listed in the task asks whether the GAPP supports the CCSP goals for the water cycle. The committee has chosen to expand this question to include how the GAPP program supports other CCSP goals as well, especially climate variability, since there are important linkages with this program. GAPP has two science objectives (see Box 1, Chapter 1 of this report): prediction and decision support. GAPP AND CCSP CCSP has two research elements expected to benefit directly from GAPP: the Global Water Cycle Component and the Climate Variability and Change Component. The sections below identify some of the key linkages between GAPP and these elements. However, it is important to note that GAPP also maps directly to multiple other parts of the CCSP that were not noted in the committee’s statement of task. They include modeling, observing and monitoring, data management and information, and international research and cooperation key components. Though we have chosen not to articulate each of these relationships, even a cursory review of the plan in the context of the CCSP will result in a conclusion that these programs are highly interrelated. The decision support objective of GAPP, as has already been noted, should result in primary inputs to the decision support resources development component of the CCSP. Climate Variability and Change Research Element The following points in the CCSP Strategic Plan related to climate variability and change are most closely related to the GAPP plan activities. Points from the CCSP Strategic Plan are excerpted below in italics, with the committee’s comments following each point in standard type (CCSP 2003). CCSP Section 4.2—How can predictions of climate variability and projections of climate change be improved, and what are the limits of their predictability?
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan How can advances in observations, understanding and modeling of ocean-atmosphere-land interactions be used to further improve climate predictions on seasonal to decadal time scales? Committee comments: The GAPP program addresses the land-based component of improving climate predictions through observations, understanding, and modeling. What are the time scales for changes in climate variability following major changes in the land surface, oceans or sea ice, and how does this “memory” contribute to climate predictability on multi-year to decadal time scales? Committee comments: Since the GAPP program is focused on seasonal-to-interannual prediction, it does not contribute directly to predictability on multiyear-to-decadal time scales. However, the knowledge gained regarding the memory in the land surface on shorter time scales contributes to the longer-term investigations. CCSP Section 4.4—How are extreme events, such as droughts, floods, wildfires, heat waves and hurricanes related to climate variability and change? To what extent are changes in the statistics of extreme events predictable? Committee comments: GAPP intends to support the development of improved predictions of events such as floods and droughts. CCSP Section 4.5—How can information on climate variability and change be most efficiently developed, integrated with non-climatic knowledge, and communicated in order to best serve societal needs? What new climate information would provide the greatest potential for benefits, for different regions and sectors? How can climate information be best developed for use in adaptive management strategies? Can new climate indicators be developed to better assess climate vulnerability and resilience in climate-sensitive sectors? How can access to and communication of climate data and forecasts be improved to better serve the needs of the public, scientific community, decisionmakers, and policymakers? Committee comments: All of the goals in this section are related to the decision support objective of GAPP.
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan Water Cycle Research Element CCSP Section 5.1—What are the mechanisms and processes responsible for the maintenance and variability of the water cycle; are the characteristics of the cycle changing and, if so, to what extent are human activities responsible for those changes? What are the key mechanisms and processes responsible for maintaining the global water cycle and its variability over space and time scales relevant for climate? How have changes in land use and water management and agricultural practices affected trends in regional and global water cycles? How do aerosols, their chemical composition, and distribution affect cloud formation and precipitation processes, patterns and trends? With what accuracy can local and global water and energy budgets be closed? What are the characteristics of upper tropospheric/lower stratospheric water vapor and clouds and how are they affected by deep convection? Committee comments: GAPP does not focus on global change, but it does focus on the mechanisms and processes that control variability in the water cycle. CCSP Section 5.2—How do feedback processes control the interactions between the global water cycle and other parts of the climate system (e.g. carbon cycle, energy), and how are these feedbacks changing over time? What is the sign and magnitude of the current water vapor-cloud-radiation-climate feedback effect? How do changes in global and regional water cycles interact with evapotranspiration, vegetation and the carbon cycle and vice versa? What are the interactions between land surface changes and regional water cycles? Committee comments: GAPP does have an energy component in the modeling activities, but does not focus on how the feedbacks are changing over time. CCSP Section 5.3—What are the key uncertainties in S-I predictions and long-term projections of water cycle variables, and what improvements are needed in global and regional models to reduce these uncertainties? How predictable are water cycle variables at difference temporal and spatial scales over different regions of the Earth’s surface? For different model resolutions, how can key water cycle processes be better simulated, in order to enhance the capability of producing more accurate seasonal-to-interannual predictions of water cycle variables? How can the representation of water cycle processes in climate models be improved to reduce uncertainties in projections of climate change?
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan What are the critical hydrological and atmospheric factors present in major flood and drought events that can be isolated, quantified, and incorporated into water cycle prediction methodologies? What model improvements are needed to assess the changes in seasonality, intensity and variability of high latitude freshwater fluxes (precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff) and stores (soil moisture, snow/ice, permafrost) that may result from climate change, specifically in large basins covering a range of climate regions? What processes and model resolutions are needed to improve regional models used to downscale global predictions to local and watershed scales? Are there other downscaling techniques (e.g. statistical approaches) that can be equally effective? How can the uncertainty in the prediction of water cycle variables be characterized and communicated to water resource managers? Committee comments: GAPP’s prediction goal is quite clearly focused on these questions. CCSP Section 5.4 – What are the consequences over a range of space and time scales of water cycle variability and change for human societies and ecosystems, and how do they interact with the Earth system to affect sediment transport and nutrient biogeochemical cycles? Committee comments: GAPP does not specifically address this goal. CCSP Section 5.5 – How can global water cycle information be used to inform decision processes in the context of changing water resource conditions and policies? How could climate variability and change potentially alter the effectiveness of current and future water management practices and their feedbacks on the climate? What are the effective means for transferring stochastic water cycle research products (e.g., hydro-climatological predictions, projections, and associated uncertainties) into the management, planning, and design of water decision systems and infrastructure? What are the economic implications of strategies for the application of improved capabilities to predict seasonal water cycle variability and change? Committee comments: GAPP’s decision support goal is squarely focused on these issues and others. GAPP AND THE CPPA Since CPPA blends the existing CLIVAR-PACS and GAPP programs of NOAA into a single process research program, the GAPP plan is a component of the CPPA science objectives (NOAA 2005). CPPA Objective 1—Improve the understanding and model simulation of ocean, atmosphere and land-surface processes.
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan Committee comments: GAPP is strong in activities related to atmosphere and land processes. It is doing groundbreaking work in this area. However, GAPP does not specifically address coupling with the oceans. With the attention given to ocean coupling in other programs the committee feels that this is an appropriate emphasis for GAPP. CPPA Objective 2—Determine the predictability of climate variations on intra-seasonal-to-interannual time scales. Committee comments: The plan is not clear on the temporal scales of interest. Some parts of the plan mention “monthly-to-seasonal” predictability, while others reference “intra-seasonal-to-interannual.” In presentations by members of the Science Advisory Group, there was an implication that much of the LDAS and LSM development work focused on shorter time scales. It is not clear from the plan how much of the GAPP-funded activity is focused on these shorter time scales. CPPA Objective 3—Advance NOAA’s operational climate forecasts, monitoring, and analysis systems. Committee comments: The plan highlights development of North American LDAS and Global LDAS infrastructures for implementation by NCEP. This work should be specifically identified as a GAPP contribution to the CPPA goals. CPPA Objective 4—Develop climate-based hydrologic forecasting capabilities and decision support tools for water resource applications. Committee comments: The transfer of GAPP research to the Office of Hydrologic Development was not spelled out in any detail. The plan did not develop the sections on the decision support tools adequately. GAPP AND GEWEX PHASE II In the late 1980s, GEWEX was initiated as one component of WCRP with the goal of providing better understanding of the hydrological processes and the movement and distribution of water and energy fluxes at continental scales. The GEWEX program develops global data sets derived from satellite data, in situ data, and data assimilation capabilities. GEWEX also entails model development and predictability studies, field and process studies, and applications. The GEWEX program recently developed four primary objectives by revising its Phase I objectives. These objectives are as follows (GEWEX 2005): Produce consistent research quality data sets complete with error descriptions of the Earth’s energy budget and water cycle and their variability and trends on inter-annual to decadal time scales, and for use in climate system analysis and model development and validation
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan Determine the geographical and seasonal characteristics of the predictability of key water and energy cycle variables over land areas and through collaborations with the wider WCRP community determine the predictability of energy and water cycles on a global basis. Develop better seasonal predictions of water and energy cycle variability through improved parameterisations encapsulating hydro-meteorological processes and feedbacks for atmospheric circulation models Undertake joint activities with operational hydro-meteorological services and hydrological research programmes to demonstrate the value of new GEWEX prediction capabilities, data sets and tools for assessing the consequences of global change. One of the major changes is reflected in Objective 4, in which a more realistic user community is identified for GEWEX. This objective is targeting the operational hydrometeorological services. This community should benefit most from GEWEX scientific results and data products. GEWEX will improve the accuracy of the hydrologic predictions that are critical for decision making in water resources applications. To address its goals, GEWEX organized its scientific activities by creating three panels: the GEWEX Hydrometeorology Panel, the GEWEX Radiation Panel, and the GEWEX Modeling Panel. The GEWEX program develops global data sets derived from satellite data, in situ data, and data assimilation capabilities. GEWEX also entails model development and predictability studies, field and process studies, and applications. The GEWEX Hydrometeorology Panel organized a number of continental-scale experiments worldwide to represent various climatic conditions (Lawford et al. 2004). The first continental-scale experiment was the GCIP, the predecessor to GAPP. It is clear that the GAPP science and implementation plan is closely linked to the objectives of GEWEX Phase II. GEWEX, through its continental-scale experiment panel, has a formal review and evaluation mechanism to ensure that continental-scale experiments such as GAPP are addressing GEWEX overall goals and objectives. GAPP AND OTHER PROGRAMS WITH SIMILAR GOALS GAPP has well documented relationships with partners such as NCEP’s Environmental Modeling Center and the Office of Hydrologic Development within NOAA, sister programs within GEWEX such as CEOP and the GEWEX Land-Atmosphere System Study, and CLIVAR as described above—the details are not repeated here. However, other programs with relevant relationships to GAPP are given little or no mention in the current plan. A number of these are identified below.
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan Water Resources Application Project Given the stated goal of GAPP to “develop application products for resource managers,” there is an obvious potential relationship with the WRAP, a working group of the GEWEX Hydrometeorology Panel. WRAP was formed to initiate dialogue with the water resource community on the application of GEWEX products for water resource management and planning. The working group includes representatives from all of the continental-scale experiments of the GEWEX Hydrometeorology Panel, including GAPP; thus, it is curious that no mention is made of it in the plan. WRAP also includes membership from representatives of the water resource community, such as Hydrology for the Environment, Life, and Policy; World Water Assessment Programme; and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Coordinated Observation and Prediction of the Earth System The WCRP has recently adopted a new integrative strategic framework known as COPES. This new integrative strategy, which incorporates all WCRP research, will facilitate analysis and prediction of Earth system variability and change for use in an increasing range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit, and value to society. COPES will be implemented by new initiatives within WCRP projects such as GEWEX. As the GAPP science objectives relate to improving hydrologic prediction and decision support, they also relate to the COPES objective (WCRP 2004): To facilitate analysis and prediction of Earth system variability and change for use in an increasing range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit and value to society. In collaboration with the other GEWEX continental-scale experiments, GAPP is expected to make major contributions to central COPES issues, including understanding of internal and coupling processes, data assimilation techniques for coupled systems, and hydrologic models in support of applications in the water sector. A strong GAPP project is essential for GEWEX to play its central role within COPES. International Research Institute for Climate Prediction In the area of operational seasonal climate prediction, clear links and benefits to operational prediction efforts at NCEP are included in the plan. Passing reference is made to other “operational partners,” such as NASA and IRI. Neither is strictly operational in the forecast sense, but certainly there is a potential useful link to be made with IRI, particularly with its strong emphasis on applications of climate forecasts. More active efforts could be made by GAPP to link with this natural collaborator.
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Review of the GAPP Science and Implementation Plan Regional Integrated Science Assessments GAPP has provided support to some projects within the RISA program. This program, funded by the NOAA Office of Global Programs, establishes regional centers with university affiliations that focus on understanding the context of decision making and testing alternative systems for providing climate information for decision support. Each RISA has focused on particular sectors of interest in its region, and although each one differs significantly from the others, they have generally been successful in establishing the long-term relationships with stakeholders that enable two-way flows of information between researchers and end users. For example, the RISA at the University of Washington has successfully worked in water managers and fisheries experts, and GAPP funding assisted in recent developments of the variable infiltration capacity model, which allows downscaling of climate information for hydrologic applications at the basin scale. Water management is also a major focus of RISAs in Boulder, Colorado (the Western Water Assessment); Tucson, Arizona (the Climate Assessment for the Southwest); and San Diego, California (the California Applications Project). All of these centers can help provide the user interface that is needed by GAPP. However, it would be inappropriate to depend on them exclusively for establishing these connections, and funding remains a serious concern, despite their success. Cooperation with RISAs is mentioned a number of times in the GAPP plan (NOAA-NASA 2004, Chapter 7). However, it is unclear what mechanism has been put in place to work with RISAs. Other Programs It seems that GAPP has also increased cooperation with the Hydrologic Research Program of the National Weather Service on a number of initiatives such as the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service and the Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment (NOAA-NASA 2004, Chapter 7). While this more focused cooperation with the operational hydrologic community is perhaps a more realistic target user community, the linkage to the water resource community (i.e., reservoir management, water supply, and irrigation districts among others) needs to be clearly defined. During its public meeting, the committee was not briefed on the NASA Energy- and Water-Cycle Study (NEWS). The NEWS Science and Integration Team has developed a science enterprise implementation plan (NASA 2004) that outlines activities to which GAPP research may relate.
Representative terms from entire chapter: