the science and its application. This conclusion was also the clear consensus of the many members of the broad atmospheric sciences community who have provided input to the committee’s deliberations.

The committee has identified a set of 10 principles that have enabled ATM to be successful over the past 45 years. Continuing to strive to meet these principles should ensure that the division remains strong in the coming decades. A robust set of principles can be used as a framework for making funding decisions in an understandable and describable way. Such clarity is of benefit in times of expanding or declining budgets. The committee notes that all principles are not equal and that they should be applied judiciously depending upon the context.

  1. High Quality. The division has maintained a high level of quality in the research it funds. This has been achieved through rigorous competition, strong peer review, and close working relationships between ATM program officers and members of the research community. In the case of STCs, the enforcement of a “sunset date” for the centers is generally viewed as positive, and has led to evolution that allows the centers to address cutting-edge research questions. This high level of quality is essential to the continued success of ATM.

  2. Flexibility. ATM will be better able to meet its objectives of supporting the atmospheric science research community if it has the flexibility to apply different modes and create new modes to address evolving needs. This flexibility is essential, given the evolving roles of other federal agencies, the private sector, and the international research efforts.

  3. Responsiveness. ATM’s success over the past decades reflects in part a commitment to being responsive to the needs of the research community. Indeed, NSF’s support of the atmospheric sciences is particularly important in this regard because it is the main federal agency that supports high-risk, potentially transformative research, except, of course, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) satellite-based research.

  4. Balance. Atmospheric science comprises many subdisciplines— ranging from dynamic meteorology to climate change and from atmospheric chemistry to upper atmospheric dynamics and solar physics—and is inherently interdisciplinary in that the atmosphere interacts with the oceans, land surface, and near-space environment. Furthermore, the research efforts span the spectrum from fundamental research to efforts with direct applications. A portfolio that addresses the range of these research objectives and utilizes the range of modes of support in a balanced way is essential.

  5. Interagency Partnerships. Research in the atmospheric sciences benefits from the relevance of weather, climate, and air quality to multiple federal agencies that support some extramural research. These agencies

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement