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"On a periodic basis (not less frequently than every 4 years) the Council, through the Committee, shall prepare and submit to the President and the Congress an assessment which:
1. Integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the Program and discusses the scientific uncertainties associated with such findings
2. Analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity
3. Analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years." (from Section 106)]
|This chapter's contents ...
Goal 1: Prepare scientific syntheses and assessments to support informed discussion of climate variability and change issues by decisionmakers, stakeholders, the media, and the general public.
Goal 2: Develop resources to support adaptive management and planning for responding to climate variability and climate change, and transition these resources from research to operational application.
Goal 3: Develop and evaluate methods (scenario evaluations, integrated analyses, and alternative analytical approaches) to support climate change policymaking and demonstrate these methods with case studies.
In order to fulfill the scientific assessment requirements of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606)1, and to enhance the utility of the extensive body of observations and research findings developed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) since 1990, The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is adopting a structured approach to match, coordinate, and extend resources developed through the research activities to the support of policy and adaptive management decisionmaking. The USGCRP has made very large investments in research and observing programs since 1990. By comparison, the USGCRP investment in assessment activities and other decision support resources has been much smaller to date. The largest assessment program previously undertaken by the USGCRP was the National Assessment initiated in 1998 that produced overview reports in late 2000 and a series of specialty reports in the period 2001-2003.
The decision support approach for analyses and assessments adopted by the CCSP builds upon the "lessons learned" from earlier USGCRP assessment analyses, as well as other sector, regional, national, and international assessments. The Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) will place enhanced emphasis on the extraction of mature scientific knowledge from the core research program for use in assessment and decision support. The principal guidelines for the CCSP decision support approach are the following:
The CCSP activities in Decision Support Resources go beyond what has been accomplished in the past in the breadth of interagency activity and commitment to extend beyond traditional science assessments to new forms of stakeholder interactions that focus development and delivery of information in more effective and credible ways. The CCSP Decision Support Resources activities will build on the science foundation established by the USGCRP, the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), and related international research programs, as well as the lessons learned from other assessments and stakeholder interaction projects conducted during the last decade. The planned decision support resource development will address key recommendations from the National Research Council (NRC), particularly those discussed in Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (NRC, 1999a), Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions (NRC, 2001a), and The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge to Work (NRC, 2001e).
Priorities on decision support resources are guided by national and international priorities that have been established with stakeholder partnerships. National priorities include the management of carbon, energy, water, air quality, community growth, disaster, invasive species, and coasts, along with possible negative ancillary impacts associated with health and agricultural efficiency.
The analyses and development of other decision support resources are intended to support the decisionmaking process and to be capacity building activities. By sponsoring these activities (conducted by government, academic, and other groups) the CCSP will enhance the capabilities of various interdisciplinary research groups to assist in the evaluation of the many different policy and adaptive management questions likely to arise in the coming years. Decision support resources are improved on an iterative basis, requiring a continuous process of incorporating new technologies, processes, and knowledge. The CCSP plan for evaluation is to systematically verify and validate the integration of each new generation of climate change research results into decision support resources and to determine the confidence in using the enhanced tools in a variety of applications.
The planned CCSP Decision Support Resource activities respond to the following three goals:
Management and advisory processes (involving both government and non-government reviewers) will be developed to ensure implementation of a coordinated CCSP decision support effort using review and feedbacks to identify and set priorities.
Box 11-1. Working Definitions
"Decision Support Resources" refers to the set of analyses and assessments, interdisciplinary research, analytical methods (including scenarios and alternative analysis methodologies), model and data product development, communication, and operational services that provide timely and useful information to address questions confronting policymakers, resource managers and other stakeholders.
Policy decisions result in laws, regulations or other public actions. These decisions are typically made in government settings (federal, state, local) by elected or appointed officials. These decisions, which usually involve balancing competing value issues, can be assisted by -- but not specified by -- scientific analyses.
Adaptive management decisions are operational decisions, principally for managing entities that are influenced by climate variability and change. These decisions can apply to the management of infrastructure (e.g., a waste water treatment plant), the integrated management of a natural resource (e.g., a watershed), or the operation of societal response mechanisms (e.g., health alerts, water restrictions). Adaptive management operates within existing policy frameworks or uses existing infrastructure, and the decisions usually occur on time scales of a year or less.
Planning is a process inherently important for both policy decisions and adaptive management. It usually occurs in the framework of established or projected policy options.
Stakeholders are individuals or groups whose interests (financial, cultural, value-based, or other) are affected by climate variability, climate change, or options for adapting to or mitigating these phenomena. Stakeholders are important partners with the research community for development of decision support resources.
Assessments are processes that involve analyzing and evaluating the state of scientific knowledge (and the associated degree of scientific certainty) and, in interaction with users, developing information applicable to a particular set of issues or decisions.
A scenario is a coherent statement of a potential future situation that serves as input to more detailed analysis or modeling. Scenarios are tools to explore, "If ..., then..." statements, and are not predictions of or prescriptions for the future.
Three decisionmaking categories will be addressed by the CCSP: (1) public discussion and planning based on state-of-science syntheses and assessments; (2) operational adaptive management decisions undertaken by managers of natural resources and built infrastructure (i.e., "climate services applications"); and (3) support for policy formulation. Each of these decisionmaking categories has a unique set of stakeholders and requires different decision support tools. A common framework of activities will be used where appropriate for all three categories as shown in Figure 11-1. The figure illustrates stakeholder partnerships with scientists to identify and formulate the problems to be addressed, the development of decision support resources, and expected outcomes. Key elements in this framework include:
Figure 11-1: Schematic representation of decision support framework illustrating components of problem identification and formulation, development of decision resources, and final outcomes.
The "decision support toolbox" refers to the collection of decision support products (including communication methods, integrated maps, GIS-based analysis products, targeted forecasts for particular sectors, "decision calendars," scenarios, etc.) that have been validated, verified, and evaluated from the perspective of users. In its mature state, decisionmakers will be able to assess the extent to which analytical tools applied in a particular sector or circumstance could be applied or modified in their particular setting. The toolbox depends upon the physical, natural, social science, and, now, assessment foundations of the CCSP, including Earth observation networks and systems, Earth system models, the data and data-handling infrastructure of the CCSP research activities, and an evolving network of socioeconomic data.
The expected outcomes from the CCSP Decision Support Resources activities include:
The Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606, section 106) directs the USGCRP to support research to "produce information readily usable by policymakers attempting to formulate effective strategies for preventing, mitigating, and adapting to the effects of global change" and to undertake periodic science assessments. Assessments are an effective means for integrating and analyzing CCSP research results with other knowledge, and communicating useful insights in support of a variety of applications for decision support. Assessments also help identify knowledge gaps and thus provide valuable input to the process of focusing research.
During the next decade, the CCSP will continue to support assessment analyses. Given the broad set of policy, planning, and operational decisions that would benefit from climate and global change information, there are a wide variety of candidates for CCSP assessment analyses. A focused, systematic approach for selecting and producing a practical number of assessments -- and for continuously addressing the "lessons learned" from each assessment analysis -- will be developed and published by the CCSP.Objective 1.1: Produce scientific synthesis reports.
The CCSP participating agencies will coordinate their work to produce a number of synthesis reports that integrate research results focused on identified science and decision issues. These reports will provide current evaluations of the science foundation that can be used for informing public debate, policy and operational decisions, and for defining and setting the future direction and priorities of the CCSP.
The CCSP agencies and scientists funded by these agencies will also continue to participate in the principal international science assessments including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fourth assessment scheduled for completion in 2007, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) / United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessments of stratospheric ozone depletion and associated environmental impacts.Objective 1.2: Plan and implement designated assessment analyses in collaboration with the stakeholder and research communities.
The CCSP will produce a set of assessments that focus on a variety of science and policy issues important for public discussion and decisionmaking. The assessments will be composed of syntheses, reports, and integrated analyses that the CCSP will complete by the third quarter of 2006. CCSP cooperating agencies will sponsor or carry out the analyses with interagency oversight to ensure that resources from the entire program are best utilized. This approach will cover the full range of CCSP goals and will provide a "snapshot" of knowledge concerning the environmental and socioeconomic aspects of climate variability and change. A list of the planned CCSP scientific synthesis and assessment reports is provided in Box 11-2. This list reclassifies the product summary in Table 2-1 (Chapter 2) by primary decision support purpose.
Box 11-2. CCSP Topics for Integrated Synthesis and Assessment Products Categorized by Primary End Use
Science Reports to Inform Evolution of the Science Research Agenda
Synthesis and Assessment Products to Inform Adaptive Management Decisions
Synthesis and Assessment Products to Inform Policy Decisions
Adapting to climate variability and potential change poses challenges to management of resources, infrastructure, and the economy. The pressures of increased population densities and intensified land use, common throughout much of the United States and other nations, increase the demand for effective management of resources sensitive to climate in many regions. For example, information on short-term climate variability (i.e., weekly, monthly and seasonal projections) is relevant for the development of state and regional drought action plans, agricultural operations management, water resource system management, and fishery management. Much of the information from CCSP research is relevant to these decisions, but often is insufficiently focused on management applications to be directly useful. Thus, the CCSP decision support resource activities will play an important role in the "transition from research to operations" for major elements of the underlying research. In the transition process, particular attention will be placed on the establishment of validation and verification guidelines for the extension of the research, analyses and assessments, model and data products, and other resources into operational decision support.
CCSP research results, data products, forecasts, and model results are already being applied to adaptive management decision support in a limited number of regional and sectoral case studies. Elements of climate and associated ecosystem observations from satellite, ground-based, and in situ platforms are also being synthesized into useful data products for decisionmakers. Examples include a variety of maps for crop management, water quality management, and urban planning, and integrated products illustrating snowpack, precipitation, streamflow, and potential for drought conditions. Climate projections, especially those from El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) analyses (which have demonstrated elements of seasonal- to biennial-scale forecast skill), have provided information for state and local emergency preparedness organizations; water resource management plans for the western regions; agricultural planning for the southeast; and fire management for drought-stricken regions. Decision support tools are also employed by federal agencies to serve the public in local and regional decisionmaking and include applications in the management of carbon, water, disasters, invasive species, and coastal ecosystems along with information on public health, agriculture efficiency, and energy use. All of these products have been co-developed by scientists and users after extensive dialogues and are potential resources for a "decision support toolkit."
Making use of information on variability and potential future changes in climate requires that decisionmakers be directly involved in shaping their key questions, and not passive consumers of general scientific information. User partnerships that actively engage scientists provide the opportunity for understanding where scientific resources and knowledge can best be used and what new research may be needed. Outputs from such interactions include decision calendars and assessments that frame the context in which the science will be used, determine what products need to be developed using the science information base and experiential knowledge of stakeholders, and determine the limits of existing knowledge to be applied to the problem.
Decision support for adaptive management requires advances in basic knowledge and progress in applying scientific information within adaptive management settings. Conducting research within a decision support framework can provide multiple benefits for both practitioners and scientists. Ideally, users of research information are served so that new options exist for minimizing negative impacts or pursuing opportunities, and researchers benefit from refinement and prioritization of research agendas through the identification of the uncertainties most relevant to decisionmaking
The CCSP will play an important role in producing processes and products relevant to adaptive management decision options. Examples of pilot products include: historical data analyses and products; forecasts for particular sectors at key time periods; probabilistic climate variability and change information integrated with decision models; "decision calendars;" geo-referenced maps of critical climate and associated environmental parameters; and specific model runs or data sets. The CCSP will also develop mechanisms to sustain interactions between users and researchers in order to better understand how to optimize the delivery of research results, data products, and forecasts.Objective 2.1: Conduct research to extend the uses and identify the limits of existing decision support resource capabilities for adaptive management.
The CCSP's approach for accelerating and enhancing decision support for adaptive management will be based on the following:
CCSP research will target adaptive management issues and information use, including the potential entry points and barriers to using climate information as well as the types of new information that would provide the greatest benefit to decision processes. This research will integrate natural and social systems within an application context of managed resources or infrastructure, utilizing climate and environmental observations, model outputs, socioeconomic data, and decision models. It will incorporate elements of regional/sub-regional climate science and associated environmental processes, socioeconomic impacts, technological capabilities, management institutions and policies, and decision processes including evaluation.
The CCSP will integrate lessons learned from current adaptive decision support case studies sponsored by CCSP participating agencies. These lessons will provide a mechanism for evaluating how scientific information is currently used by decisionmakers (to help frame problems) and for evaluating the quality of the scientific resources available to be applied to the problems.
Within a case studies framework, the CCSP will support development of resources for decision support, and will develop methods to quantify uncertainty and its effect on the adaptive management process in a range of example cases. Illustrative resources to be developed are listed in Box 11-3.
Box 11-3. Illustrative Resources to be Developed for Adaptive Management Decision Support
New experimental long-lead (12 month) streamflow forecasts for major watersheds of the United States, coupled with improved decision-support for water managers and users [2-4 years].
Experimental to operational decision-support systems for agriculture and ranching in selected regions (Southwest and Southeast) of the United States [2-4 years].
Prototype regional (Western and Southeastern) integrated "multi-stress" and multi-jurisdiction decision support systems for forest and wildfire management [2-4 years].
Development of a blueprint for the improved regional climate, hydrologic, and ecological observing systems needed for enhanced decision support, particularly in mountainous regions [2-4 years].
Tests of existing regional modeling capabilities, and definition of the improved regional modeling capabilities needed for enhanced decision support [2-4 years and beyond].
Improved public health decision support for major climate-modulated infectious disease threats in the United States, including mosquito-borne viral disease, Hantavirus, and Valley Fever [2-4 years].
Analysis of historical records in target areas to gain a better understanding of past and current climate variability across all time-scales for use in sensitivity analyses of existing and planned physical infrastructure [2-4 years and beyond].
Assessments of potential effects of climate change and land-use change on water and vector-borne diseases [2-4 years].
Assessment of the potential effects of climate change, land-use change, and UV radiation on aquatic ecosystems [2-4 years].
The CCSP will periodically develop workshops and forums to gather information on lessons learned from adaptive management decision support activities, and will prepare summary reports that help transition knowledge and resources across regions and sectors. The resources (processes and tools) that emerge from this research in decision support are the foundation for a "tool kit," a term that describes a range of products useful to individuals and institutions responding to the effects of climate variability and change. The CCSP will support the mechanisms to help users identify and use the capabilities in the tool kit, including web-based tutorials, workbooks, and interactive forums.Objective 2.2: Promote the transition of resources from research to operations for sustained use.
Once decisionmakers begin using new products, there is a need to ensure the continuity of that product through services entities. While the CCSP itself does not have a service mission, many of the CCSP collaborating agencies do. The CCSP will work to facilitate the successful transitioning, verification and validation, and maintenance of newly developed decision support products within its collaborating agencies or other non-federal service entities. CCSP will work to support collection of data, information, and other resources utilized by the decision support products and will aid in the transition of this collection to operational entities when appropriate. In the transition process, it is important to benchmark the improvement in performance of solutions that result from integrating research-quality observations with research-quality predictions and outlooks into operational decision support tools.
Two case studies of adaptive management decision support, summarized in Boxes 11-4 and 11-5, illustrate the transition of decision support analyses into the type of operational management resources anticipated by the CCSP Decision Support Resource development goals.
Box 11-4. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the Southwestern United States
This case study describes research and assessment activities undertaken to better understand the cause of outbreaks of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the southwestern United States in the 1990s. The research and assessment efforts led to pilot production and evaluation of risk maps, which were then used by public health officials for on-the ground interventions to prevent disease outbreaks and protect public health. This study illustrates how place-based, multidisciplinary research and assessment, conducted in response to questions raised by a particular user group (public health officials), can lead to the development of products (risk maps) that successfully increase regional adaptive capacity (enhanced public health care).
In 1993, a disease characterized by acute respiratory distress with a high death rate (greater than 50%) among previously healthy persons was identified in the southwestern United States. This disease, HPS, was traced to a virus maintained and transmitted primarily within populations of a common native rodent, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Public health officials wanted to understand the cause of the outbreak so they could develop effective techniques for intervening and preventing the disease.
Researchers hypothesized that the outbreak was due in part to the unusual weather in 1991-92 associated with the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Unseasonable rains in 1991 and 1992 during the usually dry spring and summer, and the mild winter of 1992, were thought to have created favorable conditions for an increase in local rodent populations. It was suggested that a cascading series of events from weather, through changes in vegetation, to virus maintenance and transmission within rodent populations, culminated in changes in human disease risk from HPS.
A study explored this hypothesis by comparing the environmental characteristics of sites where people were infected with those sites where people were not infected. The study used a retrospective epidemiologic approach to risk assessment. Satellite imagery (Landsat Thematic Mapper images), combined with epidemiologic surveillance, retrospectively identified areas at high risk for HPS associated with Peromyscus populations over broad geographic regions during the 1993 outbreak. Thematic Mapper data identified environmental conditions approximately one year before the outbreak that were measurably different near HPS sites than in rural, populated sites where the disease did not occur.
Pilot Production and Evaluation of Risk Maps as a Decision Support Tool
The assessment revealed that environmental conditions near HPS sites varied with the presence or absence of ENSO. The geographic extent and level of predicted HPS risk were higher during ENSO, supporting the view that El Nino may increase the likelihood of HPS outbreaks.
It was then determined that high-risk areas for HPS can be predicted more than 6 months in advance based on satellite-generated risk maps of climate-dependent land cover. Predicted risk paralleled vegetative growth, supporting the hypothesis that heavy 1992 rainfall due to El Nino was associated with higher rodent populations that triggered the Hantavirus outbreak in 1993. Landsat satellite remote sensing images from 1995, a non-El Nino "control" year, showed low risk in the region, whereas the images from the 1998 strong El Nino again showed high risk areas as in 1992-93. Trapping mice in the field validated the satellite generated risk maps with mouse populations directly related to risk level, with a correlation factor of over 0.90. Risk classification also was consistent with the numbers of HPS cases in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999.
Next Generation Integrated Knowledge
This information was used to develop an Early Warning System, with intervention strategies designed to avoid exposure. These strategies, developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Indian Health Service, are already being implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for disease prevention in the southwest.
Box 11-5. Climate-Ecosystem-Fire ManagementWildland fires burn millions of acres each year and major resources are committed to fuel (live and dead vegetation) treatment, fire prevention, and fire suppression. Effective decision support products and tools can improve resource allocation decisions and maintain a high standard of safety for firefighters and the public. The fire-climate assessment tool, which is in essence a structured process, allows fire and fuels specialists and fire weather meteorologists in each of the National Interagency Fire Center's eleven Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACCs) to work with climatologists to develop GACC-level assessments of fire risk at seasonal to shorter time scales. The tool also allows Predictive Services staff to develop and update a national map and discussion of fire potential for the fire season each year.
Next Generation Integrated Knowledge
The objective is to develop an understanding of the interactions among climate, ecology (e.g., fuel load), and human factors (e.g., real estate, land use, recreation, conservation, jurisdiction, law) such that decision support insights reflect the true "multiple-stressor" realities of wildland fire risk and management. Particularly important are questions such as:
Pilot Product Development and Evaluation
In the spirit of the adaptive learning approach built into many of the regional projects, pilot products are inspiring a new round of research into understanding decision structures and constraints in order to transfer knowledge gained in this particular decision support experience.
Policy-related questions regarding climate change typically arise from numerous sources, for example from:
The CCSP will work in close collaboration with the Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) to develop evaluations of relevant policy questions that incorporate up-to-date knowledge of both scientific and technology issues. The CCSP will focus on two objectives in this area: (1) developing scientific syntheses and analytical frameworks ("resources") to support integrated evaluations, including explicit characterization of uncertainties to guide appropriate interpretation, and (2) initially conducting a limited number of case studies with evaluation of the lessons learned, to guide future analyses.Objective 3.1: Develop scientific syntheses and analytic frameworks to support integrated evaluations, including explicit evaluation and characterization of uncertainties.
One of the challenges of developing scientific syntheses is providing a systematic way of integrating knowledge across disciplines, each having their own methodologies, resolutions, and degrees of certainty of scientific information. Meeting this challenge requires defining and meeting information needs across these borders, and developing methods and approaches to put information from different disciplines in compatible formats. Integrated models are an important tool for synthesis and comparative evaluation because they impose stringent standards of cross-disciplinary consistency and intelligibility. The CCSP supports the development of a number of integrated modeling frameworks that are useful for exploring many dimensions of climate and global change. The CCSP will also adopt other approaches for synthesis, including integration of expert knowledge across the relevant fields.
The CCSP will structure its syntheses and integrated analyses of policy questions related to climate variability and change using four types of approaches and drawing on research results produced throughout all areas of the program. These four approaches are:
Evaluation of net greenhouse gas flux and uptake in the Earth system (including human activities, the land surface, ecosystems, the atmosphere, and the oceans). The CCSP will use several methods to evaluate historical, current, and projected future patterns of greenhouse gas flux uptake, and consequent concentrations. These methods include state of science syntheses for emissions and carbon cycle information, evaluation of the effects of future technology adoption in the United States and globally (in collaboration with the CCTP), use of expert working groups (including both government and non-government specialists) to evaluate historical and projected greenhouse gas emission information and uncertainties (including uncertainties arising from different assumptions about human driving forces), and various inverse-calculation methods to verify greenhouse gas flux rates compared to recent and current observations of greenhouse gas levels. Consistent with overall CCSP guidelines, these analyses will be developed in response to specific questions, and will be released for public review prior to publication in final form.
Climate system analyses. The CCSP will examine the range of natural variability (short- and long-term), responsiveness of the climate system to changes in net greenhouse gas fluxes and concentrations, and the potential for abrupt climate changes. CCSP analyses will use analytic approaches to improve the evaluation of uncertainty in important variables. It is well-recognized that there are significant questions about climate model sensitivity, as well as questions about verification of climate model projections when compared to long-term observation records. The CCSP will prepare an updated analysis on the uses and limitations of climate models for various policy support applications, and this CCSP analysis will guide the use of climate models in other CCSP analyses. In addition to computer-based climate models, several other analytical techniques will be used by the CCSP in developing policy-support analyses. These include atmospheric and oceanographic process research, historical and analog evaluations, and various data analysis and projection techniques. The CCSP supports a major program of climate model development and verification (see Chapter 10), and results from this program will be used in support of syntheses as appropriate.
Analyses of the effects of climate variability and change. Evaluation of the potential impacts associated with different atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols is an important input to weigh the costs and benefits associated with different climate policies. Further research is required to integrate our understanding of the range of effects of different concentration levels and to develop methods for aggregating and comparing those impacts across different sectors and settings. Working with external advisory groups and the broad range of CCSP scientists, the CCSP-supported research will analyze a range of possible climate change impacts determined from climate system modeling and arising from different assumptions about natural and human influences, including (among many others) implications for agriculture, forestry, drought, fire, water resources, fisheries, coastal zones, and built environments such as ports. It will also address (to the extent possible given uncertainties) the potential implications of various response options for both the climate system and the economy.
Integrated analytic frameworks. Integrated analysis of climate change is essential for bringing together research from many contributing disciplines and applying it to gain comparative insight into policy-related questions. Full integration of information including research on human activities, greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions, land-use and land-cover change, cycling of carbon and other nutrients, climatic responses, and impacts on people, the economy, and resources is necessary for analysis of many important questions about the potential implications (both economic and environmental) of different greenhouse gas concentrations and various technology portfolios. Development and use of techniques for scenario and comparative analysis is useful for exploring the implications of different hypothetical policies for curbing emissions growth or encouraging adaptation. Answers from integrated analysis can only reflect the existing state of knowledge in component studies, but it is important to develop frameworks and resources for integration, exercise them, and learn from analysis of the results. The CCSP will encourage innovation and development of approaches to integrated analysis, and test these approaches in case study evaluations.
Evaluation of uncertainty. For all four of the analytical approaches described above, the issue of evaluation and communication of uncertainty and levels of confidence is fundamental. Uncertainties can arise from lack of knowledge; from problems with data, models, terminology, or assumptions; and from other sources. Integrated models are strong tools for examining uncertainty through repeated model runs with variation of key parameters. Use of scenarios, sensitivity analysis, and the specification of probability distributions for many inputs coupled with model runs are among the ways in which integrated models can be used to explore uncertainty. The CCSP will use these and other techniques to evaluate uncertainty, and couple this analysis with its commitment to reporting levels of confidence and uncertainty clearly and transparently. The approaches to uncertainty evaluation and communication will enable users of CCSP analyses to understand the uses and limits of the information. As indicated elsewhere in the strategic plan, broad guidelines for consideration of scientific uncertainty by the CCSP include the following:
Analytic approaches. Within the four analytical domains described above, a variety of approaches will be used and tailored to the study of a particular set of policy questions. The approaches are a means for examining proposed courses of action that incorporate knowledge of important key factors and uncertainty. In addition to development of decision support-related resources, the CCSP will also support research that furthers development of resources for integrated and comparative analysis, including:
An emphasis will be placed on the development of the greenhouse gas net flux scenarios through collaboration with the CCTP. The distinctive feature of scenarios is that they integrate knowledge from the full range of relevant sources into a consistent description of potential future events. The specific variables incorporated in scenario development depend on the question being addressed. Scenarios for atmospheric chemistry, climate, impacts, adaptation, and mitigation models all require different techniques and variables. Scenarios will be constructed using up-to-date information on projections for key variables (e.g., demography, technology characteristics and costs, and economic growth and characteristics) and the relationship of key driving forces to environmental change (e.g., land use and land cover). The CCSP will coordinate its scenario development plans with CCTP plans for analysis of different plausible technology portfolios and with the scenario efforts of the IPCC.Objective 3.2: Conduct a limited number of case study analyses and evaluate the lessons learned in order to guide subsequent analyses.
During the next two years the CCSP will conduct a limited number of case study integrated analyses using the approaches described above. For each case study analysis, a project team will be established that is responsible for design and implementation of the decision support methodology and products. Diverse input will be solicited to frame the questions, determine analytic methodologies to be used, identify needed observations to address the problem, and determine what resulting analyses and products are to be prepared. Stakeholder involvement will be sought throughout the case studies to aid in question development, selection of analytical methods, review of products, and guidance for communication of results. The CCSP will provide support and coordination of the scientific community, stakeholder, and public interactions. End products of each case studied will include appropriate assessment reports, as well as the related "lessons learned" documents.
The lessons learned during the decision resource case studies conducted in the next two years will be used to guide the definition of a wider set of analyses to be completed in the 2-4 year time period. Both the initial and subsequent case studies will be specified (e.g., by choice of technical issues addressed, and by parameters selected for analysis) to reflect relevant climate variability and change issues. An illustrative case study demonstrating the application of the policy decision support process to an examination of technology mitigation is summarized in Box 11-6. Note that this illustration does not constitute a specific plan for analysis. As mentioned previously, the CCSP will present specific plans for decision support analyses in separate announcements when ready, and will solicit public comment on each proposed plan.
Other case studies being considered for short-term (within 2 years) or longer-term (2-4 years) analysis include:
Box 11-6. Technology Scenario Case Study: An Illustrative Case Study (in conjunction with the CCTP)
Evaluate Two Categories of Scenarios
1) What combinations of technologies can be expected to provide energy consistent with different emission levels between now and 2050?
2) What are the range of plausible consequences (on the climate system and socioeconomic parameters) of different emission scenarios reflecting the technology options responsive to the previous question?
A project workshop, with expert stakeholders including climate scientists, energy technology engineers and scientists, energy economists, industry, government, and non-government organizations would be held (late 2003 / early 2004) to gain alignment and organize cooperative research on deliverables. Additional project working groups would be formed for continued dialogue throughout the project timeframe. A draft study plan, including competitive proposal processes and federal in-house research assignments, and a timeline for completion of tasks would be prepared by early 2004. The draft plan would be posted for public comment by the CCSP.
Scenarios for Technology Performance with Alternative Profiles
Each profile would include technologies that are presently part of the global energy system and that are expected to have their performance improved over time, as well as new technology options presently under development (e.g., carbon capture and disposal, hydrogen systems, fusion energy, and biotechnology). Performance improvements with alternative technology options would also be explored. Estimates of potential benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy security, and oil dependence would be assessed. The scenarios would also explore the potential for unintended consequences -- both positive and negative. For example, if wind energy were extracted over large areas, it could reduce conventional air pollution as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it could also conceivably affect regional atmospheric circulation. Interaction with the CCTP would be essential in developing these baseline scenario profiles. Incorporation of current scientific information about socioeconomic, technology, climatic, and environmental factors would be undertaken, with a characterization of the uncertainty in the scenarios. The scenarios would be completed by the end of 2004.
Modeled Climate Change for Each Greenhouse Gas Scenario, including Dynamic Carbon Cycle and Reasonable Projections of Land Use
This climate modeling task would be the responsibility of the large U.S. modeling groups. The model runs would also estimate the uptake of greenhouse gases by natural systems. This modeling must be informed by the results of carbon cycle research. The veracity of the model simulations for carbon sources and sinks needs to be tested ahead of time by comparisons to historical observations of the carbon cycle and the contribution of land-use changes. The model results would likely be presented in probabilistic form, and would be required to achieve agreed confidence limits to be considered usable for decision support. The large baseline computer modeling would be completed by mid-2005.
Modeled Environmental Impacts on Soil Moisture, Streamflow, and Vegetation
It is likely that one or both of the high-end U.S. climate models used for these studies would include fully interactive hydrologic-carbon-biogeochemical cycles (i.e., the major natural systems being impacted by climate). Workshops would be held to engage the broader community of researchers studying climate impact in the analysis of these experiments, and provide guidance as to how process-driven impacts models can be interfaced to these simulations. The baseline global impacts modeling would be completed with probability distributions of projected outcomes by the end of 2005. Higher-resolution (50 kilometers or greater) simulations may be available for portions of the baseline scenarios starting in FY06, but only if such higher-resolution models are shown to have useful confidence limits by that time.
Analyses, Assessments, and Reports
Throughout the process, several intermediate analyses, assessments, and reports would be generated. Example products for this case could include the following:
CCSP management and advisory processes will ensure implementation of an open and credible process for development of decision support resources.
Leadership and direction will be provided by the CCSP interagency governing body, working with representatives of the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change Science and Technology (IWGCCST) and the CCTP to:
Decision support activities in the CCSP will be implemented through an interagency working group with management and coordination support from the Climate Change Science Program Office (CCSPO). Specific responsibilities of the working group include:
The CCSPO will support development of decision support activities, under the supervision of the CCSP interagency governing committee. The CCSPO will be responsible for helping to coordinate the preparation of assessment and synthesis products; connecting the assessment activities, learning, and development of decision tools to broader interests and communities; and evaluating, reporting, and communicating results from the decision support activities.
Stakeholder Input and Evaluation
CCSP decision support activities will be conducted openly with input from external technical experts and other stakeholders. Advisory processes will be structured to meet specific requirements for each activity. Past experience has indicated that open framing of the questions to be addressed and methods to be adopted are crucial to establishing an open process and credible product. Ongoing advisory processes will provide independent review and oversight and ensure that products developed bring in all relevant perspectives. Independent evaluation of both products and processes will be included as a component of decision support efforts to ensure that future activities are improved by consideration and application of experience garnered through initial case study activities.
A first step that will be taken in developing stakeholder input is to hold a focused workshop to provide comments on (1) initial selection of topics/questions for policy decision support activities; (2) possible structures of "If ..., then..." scenario analyses and other approaches for providing insight into the identified topics; (3) suggestions regarding the appropriate role of CCSP-supported research in fostering problem-oriented/solution-based adaptive management decision support; and (4) suggestions for ongoing external advisory and review mechanisms.
Chapter 11 Authors