b.   A frank and full assessment of not only accomplishments, but remaining challenges.

c.   An integration of the lessons learned, and how the past experience of the program provides a strong backbone for the USGCRP going forward.

3)   Disciplinary Expertise: Fostering an interdisciplinary program addresses an important need, but the importance of disciplinary expertise is being unrealistically minimized. Some specific concerns include:

a.   Though clearly the need exists for more interchange at the cross roads of various disciplines, a community made up solely of generalists will never develop new parameterizations that are necessary for skillful Earth Systems models.

b.   Focusing solely on breadth in disciplinary training leads us to well integrated, but ultimately faulty attempts to fully understand the Earth System.

c.   A logical improvement might be for the USGCRP to provide a postdoctoral program to help train a new generation of young researchers from science, technology, and social science to carry out the disciplinary integration which is a stated goal.

General Comments

1)   Sustained Assessments, while admirably conceived, might take more in human and financial resources than are necessary. Rather than full length Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs), perhaps a short report every three or four years is more practical with a full report every third period. This keeps the sustained assessment cycle, but limits the large report to a scale that is more appropriate for that kind of in-depth review.

2)   There seems to be an assumption that every geographic area is equally important in the USGCRP Strategic Plan. As 90% of the population lives in urban areas that represent less than 3% of the land area, perhaps an acknowledgement of targeted systems (urban, agricultural, etc.) should be included in all four goals.

3)   The document is highly repetitive, and as result, probably ~30% too long. There are many instances of repetition and overlap across sections. This is probably the result of the multiple authorships of various chapters, but the entire document could use a single editing in this regard.

4)   There are a number of factual and semantical errors in this document. Some will be listed below, but a rigorous proof read is in order.

5)   The section on implementation seems much too brief and reads like a placeholder for a chapter that has yet to be written.

6)   How are the boundaries between research and operational activities to be discerned from this plan?

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