Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will identify priorities and strategic steps forward for atmospheric chemistry research for the next decade, in the context of the current state of knowledge, ongoing research activities, and resource availability. The committee will report a compelling research strategy and identify where additional investments in research infrastructure could best advance scientific understanding. The report will include the following elements:

  1. A brief summary of the rationale and need for supporting a comprehensive U.S. research program in atmospheric chemistry, including how research in this area contributes to advancing our understanding of climate change, air quality, the carbon and nitrogen cycles, the energy and water cycles, and the overall role of the atmosphere in Earth system science.
  2. A commentary on the broad trends in laboratory, field, satellite, and modeling studies of atmospheric chemistry, as well as application of atmospheric chemistry knowledge that may influence the overall field of Earth Sciences in the coming decade.
  3. A determination of the priority areas of research for advancing the basic science of atmospheric chemistry over the coming decade. In prioritization, the committee should consider the need for a balance among laboratory studies, field campaigns, modeling efforts, and instrument development. The committee is requested to provide research areas/topics sorted by their prioritization, and to explain how the priorities were developed.
  4. An analysis of the research infrastructure needed to address the priority research topics identified in #3 and identification of the highest priority needs for improvements in this infrastructure. This analysis will include an assessment of the need for new measurement technologies, observational platforms, and major infrastructure investments in atmospheric chemistry over the next decade.

The committee’s report should incorporate input from the broader atmospheric chemistry research community, including scientists working in academia, government, and private sector. The committee should consider how the proposed research agenda relates to the broader federal agency and international context for atmospheric chemistry, but focus on those activities that might best be supported by the National Science Foundation. The committee should not make specific budget recommendations, but should comment generally on budget implications as part of determining priority areas for research.