The goal of the ICARUS program is to provide climate models with sufficiently reliable estimates of radiative forcing by airborne particles so that remaining uncertainties in forcing no longer limit quantitative evaluation of climate change. A prime responsibility of the ICARUS organizational structure would be to ensure integration among field and laboratory measurements, model development, and model evaluation.
Prior to the present report, many studies have been recommended to reduce uncertainties about direct radiative effects of airborne particles and to permit responsible estimates of their indirect effects. Appendix A gives an incomplete, but illustrative, list of such recommendations, generated during the past quarter century. It is our opinion that currently the greatest need is for administrative leadership in executing a program on aerosols and climate. Thus, we recommend both an administrative strategy and a research strategy, because it is our firm conclusion that developing and applying an effective administrative strategy is equally critical to specifying needed research. To accomplish this goal and achieve the needed integration, the following actions are recommended.
Past failure to undertake needed climate-aerosol research has been caused, mainly, by inadequate coordination, stimulation, recognition, and encouragement. What is needed, as a start, is to stimulate U.S. aerosol and climate scientists (generally affiliated with separate agencies) to pull together as a team. Therefore, as a first step in Action Item 1, we recommend that the four federal program managers who requested this report define leadership for U.S. climate-aerosol research by forming a Science Team and an Executive Committee for an ICARUS program.
We expect that these four managers can immediately create this ICARUS program, but, to empower it fully, ICARUS must be organized as a component of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). We therefore recommend that, as soon as possible, ICARUS be recognized as an integral part of the USGCRP. Thereby, no doubt, ICARUS would receive USGCRP guidance for agency representation, Science Team, and Executive Committee membership.
It is appropriate that (1) the ICARUS Executive Committee include government representatives from at least the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration