future of climate programs may absolutely require the infusion of corporate funding. The document might therefore give consideration to an approach to climate forecast development that includes public-private partnerships in funding and developing needed information.

It is worth noting that some priorities and recommendations appear to have a broader audience than federal government agencies. One is the recommendation to adopt appropriate roles for private enterprise, which implicitly calls for action by businesses. Another is the priority of improving understanding of water resources vulnerability. Presumably, it is water resource managers and not only federal agencies that need this better understanding.


Chapter 1:
A Description and Evaluation of Forecast and Data Products

There are four key findings and recommendations in Chapter 1 (pp. 111-112).

  1. Continued support for efforts to improve the skill in climate forecasting are crucial for improving the skill in hydrologic forecasting at seasonal lead times. This summary/ recommendation points to the need for further strengthening of climate and hydrologic forecasts. There is perhaps a perception that seasonal to interannual forecast skill (as measured by accuracy) is at a plateau. We recommend that the revised document indicate what advances are likely in forecast quality with increased investment (examples might be more reliable probabilistic forecasts, higher spatial resolution information, statistics of weather within climate, etc.). Needless to say, the models have room for further improvement. Examples of areas with most relevance to the coupling of climate and hydrology that are not being accounted for in dynamical models are realistic land-atmosphere interaction and cryospheric processes.

  2. Support for the maintenance, expansion, and integration of dense hydrologic monitoring networks is paramount in supporting hydrologic and water resources forecasts. This conclusion is an important one, but it is far stronger than the text in the associated section in the chapter. The text may need to be strengthened with some additional references in support of this recommendation.

  3. Support for coordinated efforts to standardize and quantify the skill in hydrologic forecasts is needed. This recommendation implies the evolution of hydrologic forecasts from deterministic to probabilistic but then advocates accuracy metrics. In support of the latter, discussion of the literature of available metrics of “quantitative estimates for the forecast uncertainty” is necessary.

  4. New efforts are needed to extend “forecasts of opportunity” beyond those years when anomalous ENSO conditions are underway. It is not clear what is intended by “extending forecasts of opportunity beyond ENSO years.” However, probabilistic forecasts may still offer information beyond “climatology,” such as indicating more extreme outcomes having a lower probability of occurrence. A clear discussion indicating that decadal trends provide additional skill to the seasonal forecasts is perhaps necessary.

    We note again a sense of disconnection between these recommendations, which come from and propose investments to improve climate science, and the rest of the document, which is

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