synthesis and assessment products should be produced with independent oversight and review from the wider scientific and stakeholder communities (NRC, 2004). To ensure credibility and quality, NOAA has requested an independent review of its synthesis and assessment product on temperature trends by the NRC. The NRC committee’s statement of task is included in Appendix B. The committee conducted its work by reading the CCSP report Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Understanding and Reconciling Differences (draft dated 2/9/2005) carefully, meeting with the authoring team to ask questions, and then compiling this summary of reactions. In addition, a public comment period is scheduled to occur after this review has been completed and revisions have been made by the authoring team.

BOX 1
Questions to be Addressed in the First CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product

The first CCSP synthesis and assessment product focuses on both understanding reported differences between independently produced data sets of temperature trends for the surface through the lower stratosphere and comparing these data sets with model simulations. The fundamental questions posed in the assessment are:

  1. Why do temperatures vary vertically (from the surface to the stratosphere) and what do we understand about why they might vary and change over time?

  2. What kinds of atmospheric temperature variations can the current observing systems measure and what are their strengths and limitations, both spatially and temporally?

  3. What do observations indicate about the changes of temperature in the atmosphere and at the surface since the advent of measuring temperatures vertically?

  4. What is our understanding of the contribution made by observational or methodological uncertainties to the previously reported vertical differences in temperature trends?

  5. How well can the observed vertical temperature changes be reconciled with our understanding of the causes of these changes?

  6. What measures can be taken to improve the understanding of observed changes?



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