This chapter responds generally to these questions, followed by the committee’s summary recommendations for the plan. More specific details on the chapters of the plan are discussed in Chapter 3 of this report, followed by a more detailed discussion in Chapter 4 of how GAPP relates to other programs including CCSP, CPPA, and GEWEX.
The committee reviewed the GAPP plan in the broader context of related federal programs and in the context of its ambitious mission. There are many strengths in the science activities described in the plan, as detailed in Chapter 3 of this report. If the plan is rewritten to incorporate the guidance provided in Chapter 3, the plan will meet GAPP’s science goals for prediction and application. However, program implementation is subject to limitations due to the need for improved coordination.
Some weaknesses in the plan are related to the lack of a centralized U.S. GEWEX office or a GAPP program office that is well coordinated with the international GEWEX office. A co-located office similar to the CLIVAR office would be helpful. There is no program officer to perform the necessary science integration and coordination functions and to encourage a broad strategic view of program management. Given that GAPP is an interagency program with multiple funded projects, the lack of a central facilitator is a serious problem. To date, the NOAA Office of Global Programs has taken on significant responsibility for coordination of GAPP simply because NOAA is the principal funder of GAPP. NOAA has done a good job, given this less-than-ideal circumstance, but more direct responsibility for coordination would clearly strengthen the program.
The merger of the CLIVAR-PACS program with the GAPP program has advantages due to the potential for improved scientific collaboration and is consistent with the GEWEX Phase II Objectives and the Coordinated Observation and Prediction of the Earth System (COPES) (see comments on Chapters 6 and 10 of the plan). The program structure of GAPP will change over time as it is gradually incorporated into the broader CPPA program within the Office of Global Programs. For example, this merger provides opportunities to evaluate broader interagency connections and feedback mechanisms to strengthen GAPP. However, the committee is concerned about the possibility that in the process of merging with other programs within NOAA, GAPP will lose its identity as a research program. If the program loses its identity, this would further complicate the interagency and international coordination of land-based investigations. Efforts will have to be made to ensure that GAPP has proper structural support in the context of this transition.
There is also a relationship between GAPP and the interagency Water Cycle Initiative. Based on the committee’s review of the plan, the comments received at the committee’s public meeting, and its members’ collective experience with these programs, the committee believes that interagency water-related coordination efforts are not sufficiently supported, through either resources or leadership, and are essentially dependent on the skills and good will of particular individuals. Federal support for the terrestrial hydrological cycle is inadequate, as is support for hydrometeorology and hydroclimatology in the context of the CCSP. GAPP is the natural center to foster, integrate, and transfer such research to the