Current increases in the understanding of climatic processes, the availability of climate predictions, and the assessment of climatic impacts indicate that development of public policy to mitigate adverse impacts and enhance beneficial ones is becoming possible. A review of policy needs and of existing atmosphere-related policies leads to the development of a functional model for a climatic impacts policy. This policy contains long-term planning, continuous monitoring, and short-term response elements. It is akin to current strategies used to deal with short-term events such as tornadoes. Effective operation of the policy requires continuing research to enhance understanding of both climatic processes and climatic impacts.

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1 Based on paper presented at Task Force Meeting on Policy Aspects of Climatic Impact Assessments, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria, 30 June–2 July 1986.

2 Department of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

3 National Climate Program Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Rockville, MD 20852.

4 The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of NOAA or other Agencies of the United States government.