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Major Scientific Goals and
When societal and environmental impacts are considered, the
dominant scientific and technical goals in upper-atmosphere and
near-Earth space can be identified as the following:
• to understand the physical, chemical, and dynamical
processes that determine the interactions between the stratosphere,
climate, and the biosphere;
• to develop the infrastructure that will permit
operational forecasting of "space weather";
• to understand the relationships between changes in the
middle and upper atmosphere and the Earth's surface and
lower-atmospheric climate; and
• to study solar variability and its influence on the
middle and upper atmosphere.
Key Components of the Scientific
The components of the strategy to address the major scientific
issues in upper-atmosphere and near-Earth space science are
developed on the basis of four national goals:
1. To study atmospheric processes using observations, laboratory
research, theory, and modeling.
2. To have the necessary observations, understanding, modeling
capability, and transfer to operations to permit skillful forecasts
of "space weather."
3. To document middle- and upper-atmospheric change and produce
models that consistently simulate these changes along with those of
the lower-atmosphere-surface system.
4. To document changes in solar output, determine how these
affect lower-atmosphere and surface climate, and compare these with
the climate record.
Scientific Requirements for the Coming
Role of the Stratosphere in Climate,
Weather Prediction, and Tropospheric Chemistry
The stratosphere plays two roles in the climate system. The
first involves the impact of stratospheric trace gases and
aerosols, including those of anthropogenic origin, on radiative
fluxes through the tropopause. The second role of the stratosphere
in the climate system is through the dynamic coupling between the
troposphere and the stratosphere. Considerations of the
stratospheric role in various aspects of climate and weather
include the following: