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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data 1 INTRODUCTION The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) was established in 2002 to coordinate climate and global change research conducted in the United States. Building on and incorporating the U.S. Global Change Research Program of the previous decade, the program integrates federal research on climate and global change, as sponsored by 13 federal agencies and overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Economic Council, and the Office of Management and Budget. A primary objective of the CCSP is to provide the best possible scientific information to support public discussion and government and private-sector decision making on key climate-related issues. To help meet this objective, the CCSP is producing a series of synthesis and assessment products (SAPs) that address its highest priority research, observation, and decision-support needs. The CCSP is conducting 21 such activities, covering such topics as the North American carbon budget and implications for the global carbon cycle, coastal elevation and sensitivity to sea-level rise, trends in emissions of ozone-depleting substances and ozone recovery and implications for ultraviolet radiation exposure, and use of observational and model data in decision support and decision making. Each of these documents is written by a team of authors selected on the basis of their past record of interest and accomplishment in the given topic. A list of the CCSP SAPs is provided in Appendix A; additional information is available at <http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap-summary.php>. SYNTHESIS AND ASSESSMENT PRODUCT 5.3 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead agency for CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: “Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data”. Although the title of the SAP does not mention specific sectors, the prospectus for the SAP states that it “will concentrate on the water resource management sector” (U.S. Climate Change Science Program, 2006:2). NOAA’s stated purpose for SAP 5.3 is to focus on the water resource management sector to allow for detailed synthesis of lessons learned in decision-support experiments in that sector. The term “experiments” in this context refers to novel initiatives for providing resources to better inform decision makers in that sector, rather than to the use of experimental methodology. It is intended that the lessons learned from this product will be relevant, transferable, and essential to support decisions in other climate-sensitive resource management sectors. According to the guidance provided in the prospectus, SAP 5.3 is intended to inform (1) decision makers about others’ experimental uses of seasonal and interannual forecasts and other observational data; (2) climatologists and social scientists about how to advance the delivery of decision-support resources that use the most recent forecast products, methodologies, and tools; and (3) science managers as they plan for future investments in research related to forecasts and their role in decision support. The authors of the document were asked to address a series of issues and questions (see Box 1-1).
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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data Like the other synthesis and assessment products, SAP 5.3 is being produced with independent oversight and review from the wider scientific and stakeholder communities, as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) review of the U.S. CCSP Strategic Plan (National Research Council, 2004b). NOAA as the lead agency asked the NRC to perform the independent review of SAP 5.3, and our panel was created to perform the task. The Panel to Review CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data was asked to address the following review criteria: Are the goals, objectives and intended audience of the product clearly described in the document? Does the product address all questions outlined in the prospectus? Are any findings and/or recommendations adequately supported by evidence and analysis? In cases where recommendations might be based on expert value judgments or the collective opinions of the authors, is this acknowledged and supported by sound reasoning? Are the data and analyses handled in a competent manner? Are statistical methods applied appropriately? Are the document's presentation, level of technicality, and organization effective? Are the questions outlined in the prospectus addressed and communicated in a manner that is appropriate and accessible for the intended audience? Is the document scientifically objective and policy neutral? Is it consistent with the scientific literature? Is there a summary that effectively, concisely and accurately describes the key findings and recommendations? Is it consistent with other sections of the document? What other significant improvements, if any, might be made in the document? THE REVIEW PROCESS The panel received a draft of SAP 5.3 report “Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data” when it was completed on July 5, 2007. A table of contents for the draft appears in Box 1-2. The draft was prepared by a team of authors working over a 6-month period. We met on July 17 with three of the lead authors—Helen Ingram, the product lead author, and Nathan Mantua and David Feldman, two of the convening lead authors—to ask questions about the authoring team’s research and formulation of the draft document. During this meeting, we also interacted with NOAA personnel, who outlined their expectations for SAP 5.3. Nancy Beller-Simms of NOAA described the document as “very much a first draft” and asked us for comments that would help the authors make revisions to strengthen it. Ingram said that the authoring group recognized the draft as needing reorganization—for one thing, it was written in subgroups that separated the natural scientists from the social scientists, so that integration was as yet unsatisfactory to the authoring group. She and the other authors present mentioned some of their ideas for reorganization. They also said that they expected that, in revision, the concluding chapter would expand and that it would address the idea of a climate service. The authors did not see the draft as requiring major additional writing, however.
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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data Panel members engaged in fairly extensive discussion with the authors present, raising points of interest to individuals on the panel. The authors present were very open to receiving comments, expressing the hope that the review would direct them in some of the ways they were already heading. In short, the draft was presented to us as very much a work in progress and in flux. The panel then met in closed session to discuss reactions to the draft product and to develop its assessment of the draft. In these discussions and this review, we have focused on the draft document that we received on July 5, 2007, and have presumed nothing about ways the draft might subsequently change. After discussions were finished, individual panel members and the chair were assigned to draft a set of overview comments and review comments specific to each chapter. These were circulated among the panel members, compiled, and revised until the panel produced a draft that reflected our collective judgment. The draft was then independently reviewed following procedures established by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. GUIDE TO THE REPORT This report is organized around the seven review criteria given to us, although for reasons of exposition, we do not take them up in numerical order. Chapter 2 addresses Review Criteria 3, 5, 6, and 7; Chapter 3 addresses Review Criterion 1; Chapter 4 addresses Review Criterion 2; and Chapter 5 addresses Review Criterion 4.
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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data BOX 1-1 Questions To Be Addressed in Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3 The prospectus for SAP 5.3 indicates that the document will address, among others, each of the following questions or issues. They are numbered here for reference purposes. Section I: A Description and Evaluation of the Forecast/Data Products (a) What are the seasonal to interannual forecast/data products currently available and (b) how does a product evolve from a scientific prototype to an operational product? What steps are taken to ensure that this product is needed and will be used in decision support? (a) What is the level of confidence of the product within the science community and within the decisionmaking community; (b) who establishes these confidence levels and how are they determined? Section II: Decision-Support Experiments Within the Water Resource Management Sector What types of decisions are made related to water resources? What is the role that seasonal to interannual forecasts play and could play? How does climate variability influence water resource management? What seasonal to interannual (e.g., probabilistic) forecast information do decisionmakers need to manage water resources? (a) How do forecasters convey information on climate variability and (b) how is the relative skill and level of confidence of the results communicated to resource managers? What are the obstacles and challenges decisionmakers face in translating climate forecasts and hydrology information into integrated resource management? What are the barriers that exist in convincing decisionmakers to consider using risk-based hydrology information (including climate forecasts)? What is the role of probabilistic forecast information in the context of decision support in the water resources sector? What challenges do tool developers have in finding out the needs of decision makers? How much involvement do practitioners have in product development? What are the measurable indicators of progress in terms of access to information and its effective uses? How is data quality controlled? Section III: Analysis of Present and Past Decision-Support Experiments and a Look Toward the Future identify critical components, mechanisms, and pathways that have led to successful utilization of climate information by water managers. discuss how these findings can be transferred to other sectors.
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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data discuss options for (a) improving the use of existing forecasts/data products and (b) identify other user needs and challenges in order to prioritize research for improving forecasts and products. SOURCE: U.S. Climate Change Science Program (2006).
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Review of CCSP Draft Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data Box 1-2 Contents of “Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.3: Decision-Support Experiments and Evaluations Using Seasonal to Interannual Forecasts and Observational Data” Preface 5 Executive Summary 15 1 A Description and Evaluation of Forecast and Data Products 24 2 Moving Knowledge to Action 124 3 Managing Innovation: Ensuring Success in Joining Research and Operations 162 4 Decision-Support Experiments Within the Water Resource Management Sector 210 5 Looking Toward the Future 358 SOURCE: U.S. Climate Change Science Program (2006).