National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
×

The Atmospheric Sciences Entering the Twenty-First Century

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources
National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C. 1998

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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National Academy Press · 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. · Washington, DC 20418

Notice: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Support for this project was provided by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Naval Research of the Department of Defense, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ATM-9526208. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the above-mentioned agencies.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

The atmospheric sciences: entering the twenty-first century /
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Commission on
Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, National Research Council.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-309-06415-5
1. Atmospheric physics. 2. Atmospheric chemistry. 3. Atmospheric
physics—Research—United States. I. National Research Council
(U.S.). Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.
QC861.2 .A88 1998
551.5—ddc21                    98-40083

The Atmospheric Sciences Entering the Twenty-First Century is available from the National Academy Press. 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20418 (1-800-624-624; http://www.nap.edu).

Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Current Board On Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

ERIC J. BARRON, (Co-chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park

JAMES R. MAHONEY, (Co-chair), International Technology Corporation, Washington, D.C.

SUSAN K. AVERY, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder

LANCE F. BOSART, State University of New York, Albany

MARVIN A. GELLER, State University of New York, Stony Brook

DONALD M. HUNTEN, University of Arizona, Tucson

JOHN IMBRIE, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

CHARLES E. KOLB, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts

THOMAS J. LENNON, Weather Services International Corp., Billerica, Massachusetts

MARK R. SCHOEBERL, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

JOANNE SIMPSON, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

NIEN DAK SZE, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts


Staff

ELBERT W. (JOE) FRIDAY, JR., Director

H. FRANK EDEN, Senior Program Officer

LOWELL SMITH, Senior Program Officer

DAVID H. SLADE, Senior Program Officer

LAURIE GELLER, Staff Officer

PETER SCHULTZ, Staff Officer

TENECIA A. BROWN, Senior Program Assistant

DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate That Prepared This Report

JOHN A. DUTTON (Chair). Pennsylvania State University, University Park

ERIC J. BARRON, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

WILLIAM L. CHAMEIDES, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

CRAIG E. DORMAN, Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia

FRANCO EINAUDI, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

MARVIN A. GELLER, State University of New York, Stony Brook

PETER V. HOBBS, University of Washington, Seattle

WITOLD F. KRAJEWSKI, The University of Iowa, Iowa City

MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

DOUGLAS K. LILLY, University of Oklahoma, Norman

RICHARD S. LINDZEN,* Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GERALD R. NORTH, Texas A&M University, College Station

EUGENE M. RASMUSSON, University of Maryland, College Park

ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado


Staff

DAVID H. SLADE, Senior Program Officer and Study Director

DORIS BOUADJEMI, Administrative Assistant

GREGORY H. SYMMES, Acting Director

WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Director

H. FRANK EDEN, Senior Program Officer

KENT L. GRONINGER, Senior Program Officer

PETER SCHULTZ, Staff Officer

LAURIE S. GELLER, Staff Officer

ELLEN F. RICE, Reports Officer

TENECIA A. BROWN, Senior Program Assistant

KELLY NORSINGLE, Senior Project Assistant

ANDREW E. EVANS, Program Summer Intern

* Did not participate in the preparation of this report.

Denotes past staff members who were active during the preparation of this report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER (Chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville

PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

JERRY F. FRANKLIN, University of Washington, Seattle

B. JOHN GARRICK, PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California

THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

DEBRA S. KNOPMAN, Progressive Foundation, Washington, D.C.

KAI N. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

JUDITH E. MCDOWELL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

RICHARD A. MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.

HUGH C. MORRIS, Canadian Global Change Program, Delta, British Columbia

RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario

H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens

THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida

E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park

MARY LOU ZOBACK, United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California


Staff

ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director

GREGORY H. SYMMES, Assistant Executive Director

JEANETTE A. SPOON, Administrative Officer

SANDI S. FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

MARQUITA S. SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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PREFACE

The atmospheric sciences have progressed in the twentieth century from a fledgling discipline to a global enterprise providing considerable benefits to individuals, businesses, and governments. Through research and applications, the atmospheric sciences provide information that contributes to protection of life and property, agriculture, economic and industrial vitality, management of air quality, battlefield decisions, and national policies concerning energy and environment.

This report sets forth recommendations intended to strengthen atmospheric science and services and to enhance benefits to the nation. It is thus intended for those who share the responsibility for maintaining the pace of improvement in the atmospheric sciences, including leaders and policy makers in the public sector, such as legislators and executives of the relevant federal agencies; decision makers in the private sector of the atmospheric sciences; executives of other economic endeavors whose activities are dependent on atmospheric information, and of course, university departments that include atmospheric science.

Today the activities of the atmospheric sciences extend from the search for fundamental understanding to a wide range of specific applications in weather, climate, air quality, and other environmental issues. Moreover, the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) believes that new alliances between government, the private sector, and academe are developing rapidly and will advance the atmospheric sciences and services. Nevertheless, the federal government has a key and continuing role in supporting research to ensure that weather forecasts and warnings will improve, that uncertainties about a changing climate or air quality will be reduced, and that future atmospheric impacts and benefits will be identified early enough to ensure the safety and vitality of the nation.

This study was supported by the Department of Agriculture, the Department

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation. It began with a poll of leaders in science and engineering to obtain their views of issues and priorities for the atmospheric sciences.

The Board then requested its continuing committees for chemistry, solar-terrestrial, and climate research and two ad hoc teams of experts in atmospheric physics and dynamics/weather forecasting to assess for BASC the scientific challenges facing their disciplines, each discipline's contribution to the national well-being, and the research needed to face the challenges. These five technical reports, called "Disciplinary Assessments," were prepared for consideration by BASC. They are published here because they contain valuable ideas and suggestions that could interest research workers and federal agencies.

BASC then used the Disciplinary Assessments, together with input received from a variety of scientific sources as the basis for its appraisal of the major changes facing the atmospheric sciences as a whole. Some remarkably consistent themes emerged across the five Disciplinary Assessments, themes that permitted BASC to develop its vision of the future for the atmospheric sciences.

Thus, the Board's conclusions and recommendations for atmospheric sciences and services are a summary and a synthesis of the Disciplinary Assessments and recommendations and are presented as Part I of this report. In Part I the Board also points out some opportunities and challenges that derive from its own broad survey of the state and future of the atmospheric sciences. Although the major part of this report focuses on science issues, Part I points to other key elements of a national agenda for atmospheric sciences and services.

Part II, "Disciplinary Assessments," contains the five assessments, each devoted to a major research area within the atmospheric sciences. These areas and the chairs of the study groups follow: Atmospheric Physics, William A. Cooper; Chemistry, William Chameides; Dynamics and Weather Forecasting, Kerry Emanuel; Upper Atmosphere and Near-Earth Space, Marvin Geller; and Climate and Climate Change, Eric J. Barron. The Board is indebted to all who contributed to this study. Their names appear in the appropriate chapters of Part II. Portions of the Disciplinary Assessments included in Part II of this report have been abstracted and used as input to a forthcoming NRC report Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade.

The Twenty-First Century report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

Bruce Albrecht, University of Miami

Richard A. Anthes, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Eugene W. Bierly, American Geophysical Union

John S. Chipman. Department of Economics, University of Minnesota

Ralph J. Cicerone, University of California, Irvine

Paul J. Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

Richard M. Goody, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Thomas E. Graedel, Yale University

John Hallet, Desert Research Institute

Dennis L. Hartmann, University of Washington

D.A. Henderson, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

James R. Holton, University of Washington

Donald Hornig, Harvard School of Public Health (emeritus)

Donald R. Johnson, University of Wisconsin

Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Syukuro Manabe, Institute for Global Change Research Program, Tokyo. Japan

Marcia M. Neugebauer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. California Institute of Technology

Edward S. Sarachik, University of Washington

Joanne Simpson, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

George Siscoe, retired

Robert M. White, President, Washington Advisory Group

Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

The Board and I are grateful to David H. Slade, Senior Program Officer and Study Director, whose acumen and energy contributed much to the organization and writing of this report, and to Doris Bouadjemi, Administrative Assistant, who directed its publication with skill and dedication. The Board and I are also grateful to William A. Sprigg. former director of BASC, whose energy. dedication and innovation contributed much to the work of the Board and to its achievements in recent years.

JOHN A. DUTTON
CHAIR

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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CONTENTS

Summary

1

Part I

 

1
Introduction

13

Four Centuries of Progress

14

The Atmospheric Sciences and Other Disciplines

14

Looking Forward to the Twenty-First Century

15

2
Contributions of the Atmospheric Sciences to the National Well-Being

17

Protection of Life and Property

17

Need for Forecasts and Warnings

18

Progress in Weather Services

21

Maintaining Environmental Quality

22

Chlorofluorocarbons and Ozone

22

Greenhouse Gases and Global Change

22

Aerosols

23

Role of Atmospheric Sciences in Environmental Issues

23

Enhancing National Economic Vitality

24

Benefits of Weather and Climate Information

24

Strengthening Fundamental Understanding

26

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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3
Scientific Imperatives and Recommendations For the Decades Ahead

28

Atmospheric Science Imperative 1: Optimize and Integrate Observation Capabilities

29

New Observing Opportunities

30

Requirements for Optimizing and Integrating Observing Systems

31

Observing System Simulation Experiments

33

Atmospheric Science Imperative 2: Develop New Observation Capabilities

33

Water in the Atmosphere

34

Wind Observations

35

Observations in the Stratosphere

36

Observations in Near-Earth Space

37

Atmospheric Research Recommendation 1: Resolve Interactions at Atmospheric Boundaries and Among Different Scales of Flow

37

Surface Properties

38

Long-Term Interactios with the Oceans

38

Clouds and Their Consequences

39

Aerosols and Atmospheric Chemistry

40

The Fundamental Problem of Nonlinearity

40

Atmospheric Research Recommendation 2: Extend a Disciplined Forecast Process to New Areas

41

Atmospheric Research Recommendation 3: Initiate Studies of Emerging Issues

43

Climate, Weather and Health

44

Water Resources

44

Rapidly Increasing Emissions to the Atmosphere

45

4
Leadership and Management Challenges in the Decades Ahead

46

Leadership and Management Recommendation 1: Develop a Strategy for Providing Atmospheric Information

46

A Changing System for Providing Weather Services

47

Prospects for Atmospheric Information

48

Implications of Distributed Atmospheric Information Services

49

Leadership and Management Recommendation 2: Ensure Access to Atmospheric Information

50

Leadership and Management Recommendation 3: Assess Benefits and Costs

51

Federal Funding of Atmospheric Research and Services

52

Leadership and Management Planning

58

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Part II
Disciplinary Assessmets

 

1
Atmospheric Physics Research Entering the Twenty-First Century

63

Summary

63

Major Scientific Goals and Challenges

63

Key Components of the Scientific Strategy

64

Initiatives to Support the Strategies

65

Expected Benefits and Contributions to the National Well-Being

65

Recommended Atmospheric Physics Research

66

Introduction

68

Mission

68

Major Research Themes and Past Accomplishments

69

Perspective for the Future

70

Scientific Challenges and Questions

71

Atmospheric Radiation

71

Cloud Physics

74

Atmospheric Electricity

77

Boundary Layer Meteorology

79

Small-Scale Atmospheric Dynamics

81

Disciplinary Research Challenges

83

Contributions to National Goals

106

2
Atmospheric Chemistry Research Entering the Twenty-First Century

107

Summary

107

Major Scientific Questions and Challenge

108

Overarching Research Challenges

109

Disciplinary Research Challenges

110

Infrastructural Initiatives

110

Expected Benefits and Contribution to the National Well-Being

111

Introduction and Overview

111

The Mission

112

Insights of the Twentieth Century

114

Disciplinary Research Challenges

121

Overarching Research Challenges

132

Infrastructural Initiatives

135

Conclusion

140

The Environmentally Important Atmospheric Species: Scientific Questions and Research Strategies

140

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Stratospheric Ozone

140

Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases

147

Photochemical Oxidants

157

Atmospheric Aerosols

162

Toxics and Nutrient

166

3
Atmospheric Dynamics and Weather Forecasting Research Entering the Twenty-First Century

169

Summary

169

Emerging Research Opportunities

170

Key Recommendations

173

Introduction

175

Basic Research Foci

175

Technique Developments

187

Technological Developments

193

Conclusion

197

4
Upper Atmospheric and Near-Earth Space Research Entering the Twenty-First Century

199

Summary

199

Major Scientific Goals and Challenges

200

Key Components of the Scientific Strategy

200

Scientific Requirements for the Coming Decade(s)

200

Expected Benefits and Contributions to the National Well-Being

202

Upper-Atmosphere and Near-Earth Space Research Tasks

202

Introduction

204

The Sun

204

Interplanetary Space

204

The Magnetosphere

205

The Ionosphere-Upper Atmosphere

206

The Middle Atmosphere

206

Cosmic Rays

208

Research Priorities

208

Stratospheric Processes Important for Climate and the Biosphere

211

Stratospheric Ozone

213

Volcanic Effects

218

Solar Effects

219

Quasi-Biennial Oscillation Effects

220

Atmospheric Effects of Aircraft

220

The Role of the Stratosphere in Climate and Weather Prediction

223

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Key Initatives

223

Measures of Success

225

Space Weather

225

Scientific Background

228

Critical Science Questions

237

History and Current Research Activities

241

Key Initiatives

242

Middle-Upper Atmosphere Global Change

245

Scientific Background

245

Critical Science Questions

249

Key Initiatives

250

Contributions to the Solution of Societal Problems

254

Measures of Success

255

Solar Influences

256

Solar Energy Output over a Solar Cycle

257

Separating Solar and Anthropogenic Effects

259

Solar Influences on the Earth's Upper and Middle Atmosphere

263

Physical Basis of the Solar Activity Cycle

265

Long-Term Changes in Solar Behavior: Solar-Type Stars

268

Key Initiatives

270

Contributions to the Solution of Societal Problems

271

5
Climate and Climate Change Research Entering the Twenty-First Century

272

Summary

272

Introduction

276

Mission Statement

278

Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century

279

Insights of the Twentieth Century

279

The Scientific Questions

296

Key Drivers for Research in the Twenty-First Century

297

Objectives and Requirements for Climate Research

302

Objective 1

302

Objective 2

307

Objective 3

309

Objective 4

310

Objective 5

311

Objective 6

314

Objective 7

316

Priorities for Climate Research

318

Build a Permanent Climate Observing System

319

Extend the Instrumented Climate Record Through Development of Integrated Historical and Proxy Data Sets

320

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6021.
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Continue and Expand Diagnostic Efforts and Process Study Research to Elucidate Key Climate Variability and Change Processes

320

Construct and Evaluate Climate Models That Are Increasingly Comprehensive, Incorporating All Major Components of the Climate System

321

Cross-Cutting Requirements

322

Education

322

Institutional Arrangements

323

Contributions to National Goals and Needs

324

References

325

Appendix A
Acronyms and Abbreviations

341

Appendix B
Listing of Reports by the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Since 1958

346

Index

349

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Technology has propelled the atmospheric sciences from a fledgling discipline to a global enterprise. Findings in this field shape a broad spectrum of decisions--what to wear outdoors, whether aircraft should fly, how to deal with the issue of climate change, and more.

This book presents a comprehensive assessment of the atmospheric sciences and offers a vision for the future and a range of recommendations for federal authorities, the scientific community, and education administrators.

How does atmospheric science contribute to national well-being? In the context of this question, the panel identifies imperatives in scientific observation, recommends directions for modeling and forecasting research, and examines management issues, including the growing problem of weather data availability.

Five subdisciplines--physics, chemistry, dynamics and weather forecasting, upper atmosphere and near-earth space physics, climate and climate change--and their status as the science enters the twenty-first century are examined in detail, including recommendations for research. This readable book will be of interest to public-sector policy framers and private-sector decisionmakers as well as researchers, educators, and students in the atmospheric sciences.

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