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INTRODUCTION

The GOALS (Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System) Program is designed to improve the understanding andprediction of climate variations on seasonal-to-interannual timescales. This brief report contains recommendations on a structurefor organizing U.S. participation in the GOALS Program. At the requestof the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Committee on Environmentand Natural Resources of the President's National Science and TechnologyCouncil, the NRC formed the GOALS Panel to “provide scientific leadershipand regular guidance on long-range scientific policy, planning, andpriorities” for U.S. activities related to GOALS (see the Appendix for the panel's Statement of Task). Within “activities related to GOALS” we include most research on seasonal-to-interannual climate variationsthat is funded by the agencies participating in the Global ChangeResearch Program. GOALS is a component of the fifteen-year, majorinternational program CLIVAR (Study of Climate Variability and Predictability)under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) of the World MeteorologicalOrganization (WMO). CLIVAR is cosponsored by the IntergovernmentalOceanographic Commission and the International Council of ScientificUnions. GOALS will examine the predictability and the predictionof climate variations occurring on time scales of months to years.The other components of CLIVAR will be considering decade-to-centuryclimate variations and anthropogenic climate change (both of whichare being examined by the NRC's Dec-Cen Panel). The specific scientificobjectives of GOALS are to:

  • understand global climate variability on seasonal-to-interannualtime scales;

  • determine the spatial and temporal extent to which this variabilityis predictable;

  • develop the observational, theoretical, and computational means topredict this variability; and,

  • make enhanced climate predictions on seasonal-to-interannual timescales.

These objectives, along with the scientific background and justificationfor them, were provided in the 1994 NRC report GOALS (Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System) forPredicting Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.) We have considered theseobjectives and reaffirm our support for them and for the overallGOALS science plan presented in that earlier report.

ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS FOR GOALS

In totality, GOALS will involve the efforts of many nations. Withinthe United States, the program will involve several federal agenciesand the academic community. Meteorologists, oceanographers, and hydrologistswill participate. Large observational programs will need coordination,as will data management, modeling, and model intercomparison efforts.Research activities must be coordinated with operational activitiesbecause regular forecasts of seasonal-to-interannual climate variationsare already being



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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) INTRODUCTION The GOALS (Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System) Program is designed to improve the understanding andprediction of climate variations on seasonal-to-interannual timescales. This brief report contains recommendations on a structurefor organizing U.S. participation in the GOALS Program. At the requestof the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Committee on Environmentand Natural Resources of the President's National Science and TechnologyCouncil, the NRC formed the GOALS Panel to “provide scientific leadershipand regular guidance on long-range scientific policy, planning, andpriorities” for U.S. activities related to GOALS (see the Appendix for the panel's Statement of Task). Within “activities related to GOALS” we include most research on seasonal-to-interannual climate variationsthat is funded by the agencies participating in the Global ChangeResearch Program. GOALS is a component of the fifteen-year, majorinternational program CLIVAR (Study of Climate Variability and Predictability)under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) of the World MeteorologicalOrganization (WMO). CLIVAR is cosponsored by the IntergovernmentalOceanographic Commission and the International Council of ScientificUnions. GOALS will examine the predictability and the predictionof climate variations occurring on time scales of months to years.The other components of CLIVAR will be considering decade-to-centuryclimate variations and anthropogenic climate change (both of whichare being examined by the NRC's Dec-Cen Panel). The specific scientificobjectives of GOALS are to: understand global climate variability on seasonal-to-interannualtime scales; determine the spatial and temporal extent to which this variabilityis predictable; develop the observational, theoretical, and computational means topredict this variability; and, make enhanced climate predictions on seasonal-to-interannual timescales. These objectives, along with the scientific background and justificationfor them, were provided in the 1994 NRC report GOALS (Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System) forPredicting Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.) We have considered theseobjectives and reaffirm our support for them and for the overallGOALS science plan presented in that earlier report. ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS FOR GOALS In totality, GOALS will involve the efforts of many nations. Withinthe United States, the program will involve several federal agenciesand the academic community. Meteorologists, oceanographers, and hydrologistswill participate. Large observational programs will need coordination,as will data management, modeling, and model intercomparison efforts.Research activities must be coordinated with operational activitiesbecause regular forecasts of seasonal-to-interannual climate variationsare already being

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) issued and because the GOALS program will rely, in part, upon operationalobserving systems. An organizational structure is needed to ensurethat all the participants in the GOALS program gain the benefitsof each other's efforts. The complexity of GOALS calls for coordinationthat can only be accomplished with an organized structure. Such astructure is not yet in place. The NRC, through the efforts of the GOALS Panel, is currently preparingan implementation strategy for U.S. participation in GOALS. One ofthe more important aspects of that strategy is the development ofan infrastructure that will promote: cross-disciplinary interaction among scientists involved in the variousresearch activities that are necessary for improving the predictionof seasonal-to-interannual climate variations; coordination and interaction among agencies, and among the atmospheric,oceanic, and hydrological divisions of agencies; coordination between the U.S. national GOALS effort and the internationalCLIVAR/GOALS program; efficient allocation of resources by coordination among GOALS andother climate-related programs (e.g., GEWEX [Global Energy and WaterCycle Experiment] and ACSYS [Arctic Climate System Study]); and, oversight and review of the scientific priorities and implementationof GOALS. The breadth of the required coordination presents a difficult organizationaltask. It is important that the organizing structure be set up soon becausemany activities related to GOALS are already ongoing. Some are continuationsof activities begun under TOGA, for example the maintenance of theoceanographic and meteorological observing system in the tropicalPacific Ocean. Some new activities under GOALS are already organizing.For example, the GOALS project Pan-American Climate Studies (PACS)has already been allocated funds, formed a scientific working group,and is developing an implementation plan. Furthermore, the creationof the organizational infrastructure now will allow the U.S. efforton GOALS to move forward quickly once more specific priorities havebeen set. Below, several working groups are recommended. Input fromthese working groups will help the NRC to advise on priorities forGOALS. The WCRP's CLIVAR Scientific Steering Group will soon be releasing a scienceplan. The plan relies heavily on the NRC's GOALS report mentioned above for its discussions of research on short-termclimate variations. The International CLIVAR Project Office is nowassembled in Hamburg, Germany. An immediate charge for that officewill be to develop an international implementation plan. This planwill be a consolidation of the several national plans, such as theone on which the NRC is now working. The United States will needformal points of contact with international bodies and activitieson matters related to GOALS.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) PRECEDENT OF TOGA The organizational needs for GOALS are very similar to those of therecently completed TOGA (Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere) Program.Many of the issues for GOALS are similar to those faced by TOGA,although there will be a considerable broadening of the scientificissues and geographic domain for GOALS. However, the organizationalstructure used during TOGA can provide important lessons for GOALS. The TOGA Program developed a tripartite management structure withan advisory mechanism, a project office, and a resource group. (Thisdescription of the institutional arrangements from TOGA has beendeveloped from communication between the TOGA and GOALS Panels; froma draft of the TOGA Panel's final report, now in preparation; andfrom the 1986 NRC report U.S. Participation in the TOGA Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 24pp.) The NRC, throughits TOGA Panel, provided the scientific advisory and review mechanism.An interagency panel coordinated the provision of resources. NOAA(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) provided a homefor the U.S. TOGA Project Office, which coordinated U.S. activitiesand acted as a conduit for communication with the International TOGAProject Office. The U.S. TOGA Project Office organized two scientificworking groups: one for the large field experiment in the tropicalPacific Ocean, called COARE (Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment),and one for coordinating efforts predicting interannual climate variations,called T-POP (TOGA Program on Prediction). The TOGA Panel believesthat this structure effectively contributed to the success of theTOGA Program. The organizational model for TOGA has also served asa basis for interagency coordination of the U.S. Global Change ResearchProgram. PROPOSED GOALS INFRASTRUCTURE To provide an organizational infrastructure for GOALS, we recommendthe creation of several entities. Interagency GOALS Panel: We recommend the formation of an Interagency Panel for the U.S. GOALSeffort. The interagency panel should be similar to the TOGA InteragencyPanel that worked successfully for the TOGA Program and the TOGACOARE sub-program. The Panel would have representatives from agenciesor offices with interests overlapping the scientific objectives ofGOALS (e.g., NOAA, NASA, NSF, ONR, DOE, and USGCRP). The InteragencyGOALS Panel would: coordinate the GOALS-related activities of the participating agencies; garner resources for GOALS research; oversee a GOALS Project Office; and working through the GOALS Project Office, coordinate GOALS activitieswith several scientific working groups.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) For the NRC to provide its best advice to the Interagency Panel and the participants in GOALS, it would be useful if the Interagency Panel regularly communicates its intentions and questions to the NRC's GOALS Panel. GOALS Project Office: We recommend the establishment of a GOALS Project Office. This office would: administer and coordinate the U.S. efforts for GOALS on a day-to-day basis; support the scientific working groups listed below; ensure coordination between U.S. GOALS activities and the International CLIVAR Project Office; and coordinate activities on projects of mutual benefit with other project offices (such as the International GEWEX Project Office). Scientific Working Groups: For the coordination of the science of GOALS, we recommend the formation of both standing and limited-tenure scientific working groups. Some of the working groups will address broad themes requiring coordination efforts; others will develop at the initiation of scientists involved in GOALS. The working groups would be comprised of academic, government, and private sector scientists participating directly in GOALS or other activities related to seasonal-to-interannual climate prediction. They would also be responsible for communicating resource requirements and options for the scientific activities to the Interagency Panel. It would be useful to the NRC if the working groups also communicate this information to the NRC's GOALS Panel. Appointments to and support for the working groups should be the responsibility of the U.S. GOALS Project Office. Following are descriptions of the working groups we recommend. Observations Working Group: Without a strong observational base, the scientific objectives of GOALS cannot be attained. The required observing systems are complex and costly; the area that must be observed is vast. For these reasons, coordination of observations requires a special effort, which will be, by necessity, an international effort. As the observational emphasis following TOGA, which concentrated on the tropical Pacific Ocean, expands into the other tropical oceans and to 1higher latitudes, it is necessary for a group to consider an optimal observational strategy relative to the limited resources available. This group will also need to coordinate the special observations for GOALS with systems organized through the World Weather Watch (WWW) and the emerging Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), for example. Modeling Working Group: The success of GOALS will be measured in large part by the ability to predict short-term climate variations using numerical models. The modeling working group would coordinate modeling activities pertaining to the global ocean-atmosphere-land system, especially model intercomparison and prediction verification. It would also cooperate with the National Meteorological Center and other groups preparing operational forecasts to assist in the transfer of research results to operational practice.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) Applications Working Group: The interface between the climate research community and the users of climate information requires development. Forecasts of climate variations will not be perfect, although they should contain useful skill and they must be regularly assessed. They will have value only if they are applied, but the applications must account for forecast uncertainties and errors. Potential applications must, in part, drive the quantities being forecast and how forecasts are presented. A deliberate effort of cooperation between physical and social scientists will be needed to improve understanding of the use of climate forecasts and the effects of climate variability. The NRC GOALS Panel believes that such efforts should be formally part of the GOALS Program. Special Working Groups: Some projects require congregations of scientists with specific expertise and interests. Within this group we would include the Pan-American Climate Study (PACS) Scientific Working Group, which is already formed and preparing an implementation plan. Other working groups may be constructed from time to time to handle other specific tasks, such as the coordination of research in the western Pacific and south Asian monsoon region. The accompanying figure illustrates the proposed infrastructure. In essence, the GOALS Project Office answers to the GOALS Interagency Panel. In turn, the GOALS Working Groups coordinate activities with the Project Office. The NRC, relying on the work of its GOALS Panel with close scrutiny by the Climate Research Committee and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, provides written scientific advice and review of the overall GOALS Program. The options of creating a CLIVAR interagency panel rather than a GOALS interagency panel and/or creating a CLIVAR project office rather than a GOALS project office might also be considered. However, we believe that this is not the best strategy at the outset of the GOALS program because the modeling efforts and data required during the first few years of GOALS are quite different from those required for research on decade-to-century climate variations. During the lifetime of the CLIVAR program, we expect the differences in the challenges faced by the research efforts for the two ranges of time scales will be reduced, and a more unified organizational structure will then be appropriate. At the midpoint of CLIVAR, a review should be undertaken to see if a unification of organization for activities across the range of time scales should be instituted. As the NRC noted in its science plan for GOALS, “Even modest improvements in climate prediction at seasonal-to-interannual time scales would be of great social and economic benefit.” It further noted that the recently completed TOGA Program has demonstrated “a new capability of making tropical climate predictions a year or so in advance.” The GOALS Program will provide the research needed to develop that capability for making seasonal-to-interannual climate predictions, especially at the higher latitudes that include the United States.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) ORGANIZATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GOALS Schematic of proposed organizational infrastructure for coordinatingU.S. participation in GOALS. The US GOALS Project Office administers and coordinates the U.S. effort for GOALS on a day-to-day basis.It answers to the U.S. GOALS Interagency Panel. The working groupscoordinate their activities with the Project Office. All of thesegroups provide information on their activities and plans to the NRC's GOALS Panel. The NRC, relying on the work of its GOALS Panel, provideswritten advice on and scientific review of U.S. participation inthe GOALS Program. The Climate Research Committee, parent of theGOALS Panel, serves as the U.S. national committee to the World ClimateResearch Programme.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) APPENDIX. STATEMENT OF TASK FOR THE GOALS PANEL Under the oversight of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate,through its Climate Research Committee (CRC), the Panel will: Provide overall scientific leadership and regular guidance on long-rangescientific policy, planning, progress, and priorities to the U.S.GOALS Project Office and involved agencies on behalf of the ClimateResearch Committee (CRC). Report regularly to inform the CRC on the Panel's involvement in U.S. GOALS plans and activities and to receive guidancefrom the CRC on GOALS matters in the context of the overall U.S.climate research program. Advise on U.S. participation and provide the U.S. inputs to theinternational GOALS program planning. The members of the panel shall be selected to provide broad expertisein appropriate ocean, atmosphere, and land process research.

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Organizing U.S. Participation in GOALS: (Global Ocean—Atmosphere—Land System) ACRONYMS AND OTHER ABBREVIATIONS ACSYS Arctic Climate System Study BASC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate BOND Board on Natural Disasters BSD Board on Sustainable Development CGC Committee on Global Change CLIVAR Study of Climate Variability and Predictability COARE Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment CRC Climate Research Committee Dec-Cen Climate Variability on Decade to Century Time Scales DoD Department of Defense DOE Department of Energy EPA Environmental Protection Agency GEWEX Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment GOALS Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System GCOS Global Climate Observing System GOOS Global Ocean Observing System ICPO International CLIVAR Project Office IGPO International GEWEX Project Office OFCM Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology ONR Office of Naval Research OSB Ocean Studies Board NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NRC National Research Council NSF National Science Foundation PACS Pan-American Climate Studies PRB Polar Research Board TOGA Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere Program USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture USGCRP U.S. Global Change Research Program USGS U.S. Geological Survey USN U.S. Navy WCRP World Climate Research Programme