•  provide an important vehicle to enhance and accelerate communication among climate modeling groups at research and operational modeling centers, especially regarding the status and requirements of operational models and potential collaboration;

•  offer an opportunity to facilitate the development and implementation of a shared national software infrastructure through sustained, regular interactions between the infrastructure software developers and model developers and users, as well as by providing demonstrations of the benefits of such an approach;

•  offer a vital opportunity for end users of climate model information to both learn about the strengths and limitations of models, and to provide input to modelers on the critical needs of end users that could feed back onto the model development and application process; these exchanges could include offering short update courses that would satisfy a continuing education requirement for “climate modeling interpreters;” and

•  provide an opportunity for regular broad-based discussion of strategic priorities for the national climate modeling enterprise.

Although current institutions may be subcritical in many areas, frequent interactions addressing the needs of all U.S. models with attractive and varying thematic foci would help to gather a critical mass of scientists across the United States to attack key problems in a coordinated fashion, and tighten the exchanges between global and regional modeling efforts. These interactions would include in-depth communications on activities, progress, and plans of the major research and operational centers and promote the advancement of specific aspects of climate modeling across the United States.

The Forum would be a particularly appropriate venue for discussing and planning more systematic comparisons and evaluations of regional climate models using standardized metrics, and for model development projects (e.g., scale-aware parameterizations) that try to bridge between the scales of regional and global models. It would also be an opportunity to broadly discuss the evaluation and communication of model uncertainty.

Because this activity involves coordination across multiple modeling groups and agencies, it would be most likely to succeed if it were organized through a strong coordinating institution. While other organizations such as the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, or the World Climate Research Program could in theory serve this role, the USGCRP might be a natural choice for taking the lead in organizing the Forum and associated activities given its mission to coordinate

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