THINKING STRATEGICALLY

THE APPROPRIATE USE OF METRICS FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM

Committee on Metrics for Global Change Research

Climate Research Committee

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program THINKING STRATEGICALLY THE APPROPRIATE USE OF METRICS FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM Committee on Metrics for Global Change Research Climate Research Committee Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 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. This study was supported by the federal agencies of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Contract No. NASW-01008. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 0-309-09659-6 (Book) Library of Congress Control Number 2005929740 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; Internet http://www.nap.edu Cover design by Van Nguyen, the National Academies Press. Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine 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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. Wm. 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. Harvey V. Fineberg 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program COMMITTEE ON METRICS FOR GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH ERIC J. BARRON, Chair, Pennsylvania State University, University Park ROGER C. BALES, University of California, Merced JOHN B. CARBERRY, E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company, Newark, Delaware DAVID J.C. CONSTABLE, GlaxoSmithKline, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania PAUL V. DESANKER, Pennsylvania State University, University Park MARVIN A. GELLER, State University of New York, Stonybrook EILEEN E. HOFMANN, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia HENRY D. JACOBY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge JOYCE E. PENNER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor EUGENE A. ROSA, Washington State University, Pullman SUSAN E. TRUMBORE, University of California, Irvine KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut CARL WUNSCH, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge NRC Staff ANNE LINN, Study Director

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program CLIMATE RESEARCH COMMITTEE ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., Chair, University of Maryland, College Park LEE E. BRANSCOME, Climatological Consulting Cooperation, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida JAMES A. COAKLEY, JR., Oregon State University, Corvallis JULIA E. COLE, University of Arizona, Tucson JUDITH A. CURRY, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta CLARA DESER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado DAVID KAROLY, University of Oklahoma, Norman ROBERT J. LEMPERT, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California LINDA O. MEARNS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado GERALD A. MEEHL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado PETER B. RHINES, University of Washington, Seattle W. JAMES SHUTTLEWORTH, University of Arizona, Tucson LYNNE D. TALLEY, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California HASSAN VIRJI, International START Secretariat, Washington, D.C. YUK YUNG, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena NRC Staff AMANDA STAUDT, Senior Program Officer ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ROBERT J. SERAFIN, Chair, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado M. JOAN ALEXANDER, Colorado Research Associates, Boulder FREDERICK R. ANDERSON, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Washington, D.C. MICHAEL L. BENDER, Princeton University, New Jersey ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MARY ANNE CARROLL, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor CAROL ANNE CLAYSON, Florida State University, Tallahassee WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vaisala Inc., Boulder, Colorado KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge DENNIS L. HARTMANN, University of Washington, Seattle PETER R. LEAVITT, Weather Information, Inc., Newton, Massachusetts JENNIFER A. LOGAN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts VERNON R. MORRIS, Howard University, Washington, D.C. WILLIAM J. RANDEL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University/CIRA, Fort Collins ROGER M. WAKIMOTO, University of California, Los Angeles Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, New Jersey NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director PAUL CUTLER, Senior Program Officer AMANDA STAUDT, Senior Program Officer MARIA UHLE, Program Officer ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Senior Program Assistant ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Coordinator ANDREAS SOHRE, Financial Associate

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its 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 review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jack Azar, XEROX Corporation, Webster, New York Rosina Bierbaum, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Susan Cozzens, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Jack Fellows, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Debra Knopman, RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia Roger Lukas, University of Hawaii, Honolulu Michael Mann, University of Virginia, Charlottsville Philip Marcus, University of California, Berkeley Linda Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University, Bloomington David Skole, Michigan State University, East Lansing

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Frosch, Harvard University, and Thomas Graedel, Yale University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program Preface Federal agencies are increasingly being asked to document progress and measure performance to improve their accountability to Congress and the public and to provide information useful for making budget decisions. This task can be difficult to accomplish, especially in a program as complex as the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), which spans all of the environmental and related social science disciplines and includes activities ranging from basic research to decision making in 13 federal agencies. Current approaches to evaluate progress (e.g., peer review of basic research, reduction of uncertainty) focus on particular aspects of the CCSP and/or have other limitations. For example, gaining improved understanding of the climate system can lead to increased uncertainties about some aspects of the system, yet progress has clearly been made. So, the question remains: How can progress in climate science be demonstrated after nearly 15 years of sponsored research and observations? At the request of Dr. James Mahoney, director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, the National Research Council established a committee to develop quantitative metrics and performance measures for documenting progress and evaluating future performance for selected areas of global change and climate change research. Committee membership included researchers drawn from a wide range of global change disciplines and experts from industry and government with practical experience in developing and using metrics.

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program The Committee on Metrics for Global Change Research held three meetings from December 2003 to June 2004 to discuss the issues and to gather input in three major areas: the different types of metrics (e.g., input, outcome) and the different scales of programs that can be evaluated usefully by such measures; the experience of industry, academia, and federal government agencies in measuring performance; and lessons learned from retrospective analysis of science programs. A fourth meeting (September-October 2004) was devoted to writing this report. In preparing its report the committee strove to provide practical advice on the applicability of performance measures across the full range of CCSP goals and approaches—from discovery science, to modeling and assessment, to communicating results and managing risk. The committee thanks the following individuals for making presentations or providing other input: David Bader, Susan Cozzens, James Hack, Richard Hallgren, Jack Kaye, Charles Kennel, Mike MacCracken, James Mahoney, Richard Moss, Franklin Nutter, Cheryl Oros, John Parascandola, Craig Robinson, Jason Rothenberg, Sherwood Rowland, and Spencer Weart. Thanks also go to members of the Climate Research Committee and Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate—particularly Anthony Busalacchi, James Coakley, David Karoly, Robert Serafin, and Lynne Talley—for their input and guidance throughout the study. Finally, the committee extends its appreciation to the NRC staff, particularly study director Anne Linn, for their highly professional contributions to this report. Eric Barron Chair

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   11      Committee Charge and Approach,   14      Metrics and Performance Measures,   14      Organization of the Report,   16 2   LESSONS LEARNED FROM DEVELOPING METRICS   19      Industry Research,   19      University Research,   28      Federal Agency Research,   30      Evaluating the Outcome of Research,   39      Conclusions,   45 3   PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPING METRICS   47      Prerequisites for Using Metrics to Promote Successful Outcomes,   48      Characteristics of Useful Metrics,   48      Challenges in the Application of Metrics,   53 4   CHARACTERIZING AND REDUCING UNCERTAINTY   55      The Role of Uncertainty in Climate Discussions,   56      Pitfalls in the Application of Uncertainty Metrics,   57      Use of Uncertainty Metrics,   61

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Thinking Strategically: The Appropriate Use of Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program 5   PROCESS OF DEVELOPING METRICS   63      Framework for Measuring Progress Toward CCSP Goals,   63      Example Case Studies,   65      Conclusions,   71 6   METRICS FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE PROGRAM   77      Development of General Metrics,   77      Robustness of the General Metrics,   82      Use of General Metrics to Set Priorities,   85      Conclusions,   85 7   CONCLUSIONS AND NEXT STEPS   87      Answers to the Committee Charge,   87      Implementation,   90     APPENDIXES         A  Measuring Government Performance   97     B  Case Study Metrics for the Climate Change Science Program   103     C  Pool of Generic Metrics for Science and Technology   141     D  Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   145     E  Abbreviations and Acronyms   149