the past.” To help develop its response to this charge, the CCSP Advisory Committee has requested input on:

  1. Top priorities that have been identified by the Climate Research Committee (CRC) and elsewhere that focus on understanding the climate system and that take into consideration science requirements from stakeholders

  2. Sources/references for these priorities and criteria for selecting them

  3. Items in the existing CCSP strategic plan that could be deemphasized

This discussion paper identifies 15 priorities, with an emphasis on improving our scientific understanding of the natural climate system. To develop this list of priorities, we reviewed the documents listed in the “Context” section below, solicited input from members of the CRC and its parent Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), and used an informal set of criteria, listed in the “Selection Criteria” section, to select 15 priorities from among the many ideas collected. We identified two overarching priorities, which emerged as the most critical issues facing the CCSP from the perspective of natural sciences research, then categorized the remaining 13 as either existing priorities (i.e., those already reflected in the 2003 CCSP strategic plan), emerging priorities (those that have surfaced or increased in importance during the past 5 years), or crosscutting (infrastructural and organizational) priorities.

Although an attempt was made to cover the full range of activities needed to facilitate progress in understanding the physical basis of climate change and to support climate-related decision making, this appendix does not attempt to provide a comprehensive review of the priorities listed in other documents (e.g., the recently proposed draft revisions to the CCSP strategic plan), and it is likely that some important priority areas have been overlooked. Also, this appendix focuses on priorities related to the natural (physical-biogeochemical) climate system; a companion paper (Appendix D) discusses priorities for the human dimensions of global change research. The CCSP Advisory Committee will also be considering priorities for climate science applications,

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