In recognition of this need, the Committee on a National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling was tasked by NOAA, NASA, DOE, NSF, and the intelligence community to produce a high-level assessment, providing a strategic framework to guide progress in the nation’s climate modeling enterprise over the next 10-20 years (see Appendix A for the full statement of task).


In response to the statement of task for this committee (Appendix A), this study has built upon recent efforts to engage and coordinate the national and international climate modeling community, recent NRC and interagency reports that have made recommendations about both U.S. climate modeling and its role in the broader and more diverse climate research and applications communities, and recent actions and progress by federal agencies and other domestic groups. Ultimately, the report attempts to provide a coherent set of recommendations understandable to nonexperts (Box 1.3 includes the definition of a number of key terms), and to set out a comprehensive, unified, and achievable vision for climate modeling for the next decade and beyond that can form the basis of a national strategy that advances climate models, climate observations,4 and user needs.

To obtain advice from a broad spectrum of climate modelers, researchers using climate model output, and the diverse and growing community of users of climate model outputs and projections, the committee convened a 50-person community workshop to engage with leaders from the modeling and user communities. During day-long open sessions at four other meetings, the committee heard from other stakeholder groups, both nongovernmental and from various levels of government, that are trying to use climate projections for long-term planning (Appendix B has more detail on the information-gathering process). The presentations and discussions encompassed global and regional models, downscaling, computing and data, user needs and education, the role of the private sector, and cultivating a coordinated national modeling and user community that spans many goals and applications.


4 One cannot consider advancing climate modeling without attention to the supporting climate observations, both space-based and in situ, needed to initialize, force, and validate climate models, as well as for monitoring climate variability and change. The United States currently does not have a coordinated climate observing system, or a strategy that could lead to a coherent system, across both in situ and remotely sensed observations. As noted in the report Improving the Effectiveness of U.S. Climate Modeling (NRC, 2001b): “the lack of a suitable sustained observing system for climate limits progress in climate modeling.” This statement still rings true today, and therefore this report only discusses observations at a high level.

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