Page 324

mate prediction—must be established when warranted by the potential for increased efficiencies or by their potential to catalyze research efforts. Diversity in our institutions is important to promote efficient, sustained efforts that address the major scientific issues in climate research.

Contributions to National Goals and Needs

A robust climate research program is likely to contribute substantially to national goals and needs. Nine major contributions can be identified:

1. operational predictions of interannual climate fluctuations up to one year in the future;

2. detection of natural climate variations on decadal time scales and increased understanding of their causes and impacts;

3. plausible climate change scenarios for regional climate and ecosystem change, suitable for impact analysis;

4. improved estimates of the relative global warming potential of various gases and aerosols, including their interactions and indirect effects of other chemical species;

5. improved ability to determine the regional sources and sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide;

6. reduction in the range of predictions of the rate and magnitude of global warming over the next century;

7. predictions of anthropogenic interdecadal changes in regional climate, in the context of natural variability;

8. documentation of the level of greenhouse gas-induced global warming and documentation of other climatically significant changes in the global environment; and

9. improved understanding of the interactions of human societies with the global environment, enabling quantitative analyses of existing and anticipated patterns of change.



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