assessment and other needs” (CCSP, 2002, p. 139). Both are described only in general terms. Unlike the other sections of this chapter this section has no section devoted to “The Road Forward,” “Research Needs,” or “Products and Payoffs.” This general discussion does not address the fact that these two activities require the same community of modelers to apply and develop their models to meet quite different objectives. Without clear priorities or even well-defined “Products and Payoffs” there is no clear pathway for implementation.
This general treatment of modeling sidesteps entirely the significant challenges associated with transitioning the current efforts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) into an effective applied modeling program, while maintaining cutting-edge research programs (see also the discussion of Applied Climate Modeling in Part II of this report). “Maintaining collaborations with perhaps hundreds of external contributors” is an appropriate but very difficult objective. Chapter 12 needs to provide more details about how the NCAR-GFDL partnership will be directed (i.e., will its focus be on conducting IPCC projections; facilitating the transition of research results into operational code; refining projections so as to reduce uncertainties in climate sensitivity; preparing model projections for local, regional, and national decision makers; or some combination of these?). It is unrealistic to expect the current modeling community to be able to make substantial near-term progress on all of these fronts.
For Theme 3 the objectives are quite diffuse and address only a portion of the challenges of this activity.
As with most of the other chapters in this report an answer to this question is made difficult by the lengthy lists of results and deliverables, limited timelines, and the lack of information on available resources.
For Theme 1 a major increase in routine, opportunistic monitoring is required to inform models and interested stakeholders about the state of the Earth system (e.g., in space, on land, in the oceans). Long-term routine observation programs are particularly appropriate. These challenges can be met, but will require substantial funding and ongoing commitment.
For Theme 2 a large barrier to improved modeling, especially modeling that addresses regional and smaller scales, is supercomputing capacity. Addressing the substantial shortcoming in current computational power will require a significant commitment of funds, but the neither the plan or the most recent edition of Our Changing Planet (GCRP, 2003) indicate that such a commitment is forthcoming. In addition, producing the full suite of model products identified in the plan would require the efforts of large numbers of highly qualified personnel. Indeed, it is unrealistic to expect the existing community of climate modelers to accomplish all the relevant objectives listed in Chapter 6 (repeated in Chapter 12) and also to build substantial new applied climate modeling capabilities. As described in Part I of this report the plan does not address the significant capacity building that will be necessary to recruit, train, and retain a much increased community of climate modelers.
For Theme 3 the generation and maintenance of integrated datasets is extremely important, difficult to accomplish, and historically under funded. It will take a major long-term commitment to achieve the “seamless access to information” expressed in the CCSP.
This chapter is organized around four themes: (1) inventory of existing agency activities; (2) reporting and outreach for decision makers; (3) reporting and outreach for the public; and (4) outreach for K-12 education.
Effective outreach and reporting are pivotal to the success of the CCSP. The program cannot fulfill its mission of enabling the nation to address and evaluate global and climate change risks and opportunities without effective means of sharing information, reporting results, and engaging stakeholders. Chapter 13 of the draft strategic plan discusses critical reporting and outreach needs and mechanisms. Chapter 13 also addresses the promotion of public discourse and the use of decision support resources in establishing and choosing policy options. Its most glaring shortfall is the adoption of an outmoded, one-way, top-down mode of interacting with decision makers and other stakeholders.
The chapter defines two general stakeholder groups with complementary, but disparate needs, the first stakeholder group includes policy makers, resource managers, the scientific community, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the international community, the second stakeholder group includes those involved in education of the general public, school children, the media, and educators. The specific information needs of each group and the mechanisms for incorporating their input into policy at all levels of government are not addressed.
The chapter summarizes very generally current federal agency reporting and outreach activities and commits the CCSP to specific activities for enhanced interagency coordination for decision makers, the public, and K-12 education. The chapter successfully identifies current problem areas and makes useful suggestions for correcting them. It falls short, however, when it fails to assign responsibility, establish time frames, and delineate budget and funding means. The recommendations for action, while