hall meetings with the purpose of soliciting community input; (c) comments were invited via the committee’s Web site; and (d) an interim report was released with the intent to solicit additional community input at subsequent town halls. The committee discussed and considered these comments as part of its deliberative process before drawing its final conclusions.
One important and especially challenging aspect of the committee’s charge was to assess the balance among the modes of support employed by ATM. The committee defines balance in Box 1-1 as the evolving diversity of modes and approaches to ensure the overall health of the enterprise. In a largely successful program like ATM, the balance is always shifting to reflect changing priorities and opportunities. In this report, the use of the word “balance” does not imply a specific percentage to any particular component. Indeed, there is no way to objectively determine the perfect balance among the modes. That said, the committee took three different tacks to evaluate the balance among the modes and activities supported by ATM in order to identify whether any modifications to the balance were warranted at this time. Chapter 2 examines several major achievements of the field over the past 30 years and to what extent the various modes were important in each. Chapter 3 reviews how the field has evolved over the past 40 years to help us consider whether new modes are needed to address new challenges. Chapter 4 assesses how each mode operates today to identify the strengths and shortcomings of each.
Chapter 5 highlights another major theme of the committee’s deliberations: cross-disciplinary, interagency, and international collaborations that are critical for the success of the atmospheric sciences. In the final chapter of the report the committee concludes with its findings and recommendations regarding the overall balance and value of the various funding modes and activities and points to broad areas where attention by NSF is warranted to improve support for the atmospheric sciences.