The first four steps were done in an iterative consensus process in which a strawman list was vetted and modified by outside experts in several rounds of discussion at committee meetings and workshops. Although such methods have well-known shortcomings (e.g., validity, reliability, problems concerning the consensus among the experts), they have proven useful when it is not possible to obtain objective data (Finkel and Golding, 1994; Davies, 1996). The last step was carried out by the committee, which is responsible for the priorities presented in this report.

IDENTIFYING SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS PRIORITY AREAS

The overarching goals of the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP; Appendix B) provided the context for identifying both science and applications priority areas (Step 1; Table C.1). Strawman priority areas (Step 2) were gleaned from workshops and more than 100 published reports and articles to give them a level of community review and acceptance. Among the most important sources were the gaps and weaknesses identified in Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Methods and Preliminary Results (NRC, 2007) and discussion papers prepared by the National Academies Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change (CHDGC) and Climate Research Committee (CRC; see Appendixes D and E). The CHDGC and CRC narrowed down dozens of candidate priorities using criteria similar to those developed by the committee for Step 3 and feedback from the committee.



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