The Atmospheric Sciences in the 1990s: Accomplishments, Challenges, and Imperatives

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  • 1 College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, and the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate, National Research Council
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The atmospheric sciences, along with other disciplines, are today contemplating strong competition for resources, exciting scientific challenges, and the need to assess opportunities and priorities. This review is intended to stimulate thought, discussion, and the active participation of the community in charting a course into the next century.

Current efforts concentrate on mesoscale phenomena and severe weather, climate dynamics and prediction, the interplay of chemical and physical processes, the interactions of planetary atmospheres with ionospheres and solar processes, and the predictability of chaotic systems. These efforts are the foundation for initiatives involving global and regional climate change, mesoscale research and prediction, and the modernization of the National Weather Service.

Contemporary imperatives include developing leadership and management capabilities, making the requisite investments in advanced data and information systems, enabling the prediction of predictability, and developing appropriate approaches to education and to cooperation with other disciplines. Most of all, the atmospheric sciences community must learn to be more effective in determining priorities and in developing compelling rationales for obtaining the resources necessary to pursue signal opportunities for scientific advance and service to the nation.

*This review expresses the opinions of the author; it does not necessarily represent the views of the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate or the National Research Council.

The atmospheric sciences, along with other disciplines, are today contemplating strong competition for resources, exciting scientific challenges, and the need to assess opportunities and priorities. This review is intended to stimulate thought, discussion, and the active participation of the community in charting a course into the next century.

Current efforts concentrate on mesoscale phenomena and severe weather, climate dynamics and prediction, the interplay of chemical and physical processes, the interactions of planetary atmospheres with ionospheres and solar processes, and the predictability of chaotic systems. These efforts are the foundation for initiatives involving global and regional climate change, mesoscale research and prediction, and the modernization of the National Weather Service.

Contemporary imperatives include developing leadership and management capabilities, making the requisite investments in advanced data and information systems, enabling the prediction of predictability, and developing appropriate approaches to education and to cooperation with other disciplines. Most of all, the atmospheric sciences community must learn to be more effective in determining priorities and in developing compelling rationales for obtaining the resources necessary to pursue signal opportunities for scientific advance and service to the nation.

*This review expresses the opinions of the author; it does not necessarily represent the views of the Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate or the National Research Council.

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