Science, Technology, and Decision Making Symposium
February 25, 8:45am-4:30pm, CIRES Auditorium


Roger Pielke

Joel Gratz
Striking Back! - Protecting Spectators from Lightning in Large Stadiums

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While much attention is given to lightning safety for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, very little - if any - attention is paid to the safety of the tens of thousands of spectators at large outdoor events.  This presentation summarized past lightning incidents at large stadiums as well as the present two alternatives that managers of these stadiums should consider for spectator protection.  Further, the presentation concluded with a brief look at how this research was received and used at a recent convention of television meteorologists.

Joel's talk included a look at how this research was received and used at a recent convention of television meteorologists in Lake Tahoe and also featured a 2-minute video of an interview of Joel that appeared on WVUA in Tuscaloosa, AL as part of a story about thunderstorms in the area.

Susan Avery
Changing the Climate on Climate

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The new United States Climate Change Science Plan (CCSP) calls for increased connectivity between climate science and decision-making. Types of decision-making that are targeted in the plan include: (1) informing science research agendas, (2) adaptive management decisions, and (3) policy decisions. Making decisions on climate science priorities with knowledge about science gaps determined from making policy and management decisions using climate science would seem to make sense. But can we do it? This presentation will illustrate the challenges and opportunities associated with bringing together climate science and decision-making using examples from the CIRES/NOAA Western Water Assessment.

Brad Udall
Does Water Flow towards Money or Downhill? Lessons from the Western Water Assessment

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The Western Water Assessment is one of seven NOAA-funded programs known as “Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments” or RISAs.  WWA is a multidisciplinary effort utilizing experts in law, limnology, economics, climate, hydrology, and the social sciences at CU and the NOAA Boulder labs. The program’s dual mission is to (1) to convey information about climate variability and change to water resource managers; and (2) to convey lessons about the use and usability of this information to NOAA as it constructs a national climate service. 

This talk will begin with an overview of the RISA program.  Key western water issues will then be discussed to set the stage for WWA’s efforts.  Three major WWA products will be highlighted: (1) experimental 90-day climate outlooks provided to the Colorado Drought Task Force, (2) tree-ring based 300-year streamflow reconstructions provided to Front Range water suppliers, and (3) an integrated assessment model, the South Platte Regional Assessment Tool, and its projections for the future of water use in the Colorado. Finally, likely future foci for the Assessment will be presented. 

Doug Kenney
Assessing the Effectiveness of Lawn Watering Restrictions During the Drought of 2002

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One of the worst drought years in Colorado history occurred in 2002.  Fearing that water supplies would not be adequate to meet domestic water needs, many municipal water providers placed various types of restrictions on lawn watering (and other outdoor water uses) in an attempt to ease pressure on declining reservoirs.  A small team of CU researchers tracked these efforts in 8 cities, calculating the magnitude of water saved by each program and comparing the effectiveness of the different strategies employed.  In general, the study affirmed that lawn watering restrictions are a very effective strategy for managing drought. 

Martyn Clark
Transfer of Streamflow Forecasting Methods from the Research Community to Operational Agencies: Lessons Learned

The transfer of technology from research to operations is often described as an exceptionally challenging activity.  The degree of difficulty depends on the available infrastructure for technology transfer, as well as the consistency between the new technology and the operational forecasting system.  The potential to improve operational forecasts depends on the ability and the willingness of the science community to identify and address deficiencies in operational forecasting systems. 

I will provide examples of the development of new streamflow forecasting technologies, and their implementation by the National Weather Service River Forecast Centers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.  I will discuss issues related to the prioritization of science, the technology transfer process, and the burden of work on individual scientists.

Tom Chase
Climate Change and Regional Heat waves: Policy Implications

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The 2003 European summer heatwave was a statistically unusual climate event which has been associated with large numbers of heat-related deaths. In this talk I will examine how unusual this event was in the context of the last few decades and whether such a heatwave can be tied to other large scale climate changes such as global greenhouse gas warming. Because examples of those seeking legal recourse to the effects of changing climate are on the rise, I open the question as to whether such an event could potentially be attributed to greenhouse gas producers, making them liable.

Genevieve Maricle
One-Stop Shopping for Usable Science: The Case of Climate Information

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Over the past several years, decision makers have expressed greater interest in the societal implications and benefits of scientific research.  Accordingly, the National Science Foundation added a societal benefit criterion to its grant proposal review process in 1998, and the chairman of the House Science Committee, the congressional body charged with authorizing scientific research funds, promoted additional society-driven scientific research around the same time.  These influences compel researchers to further consider decision maker needs as they develop research questions.  Consequently, more scientific research explicitly aims to meet decision maker needs and decision makers increasingly want to use scientific results in their decisions.

Yet, much scientific research still goes unused because it either does not meet decision maker needs or decision makers are unaware of what is available.  In part, this is due to a lack of coordination of research.  Both producers and consumers of scientific information need a broad perspective on available products in order to a) use what is available and b) produce what is needed.   Little coordination of research results, therefore, fosters a mismatch between scientific output and decision maker interests.  A clearinghouse for products in a particular field could help to address this challenge of under-utilized and unusable research.

This presentation showcases how the Climate Services Clearinghouse seeks to
lessen the mismatch between scientific results and decision maker needs with regard to climate information.  It will also extend the lessons from this experiment in one-stop shopping of scientific information to other scientific fields.

Balaji Rajagopalan
Incorporating Large-Scale Climate Information in Water Resources Decision Making

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Water managers in the western U.S. and throughout the world are facing the increasing challenge of supplying a variety of water demands under the growing stresses of climate variability and of population and economic growth.  Accurate streamflow forecasts are key to the water resources planning and decision-making process.  There is growing evidence that variability in western streamflow is modulated by large-scale ocean atmospheric features.  Traditional forecasting techniques, however, do not systematically utilize large-scale climate information. 

In this study we present a framework for incorporating climate information into water resources decision-making and demonstrate the method on the semi-arid Truckee-Carson basin in Nevada where environmental, agricultural and municipal demands compete for a limited supply of water.  In this basin, water managers must plan carefully to meet the demands of timing of and required flowrates.  The framework presented in this paper consists of a streamflow forecast system that is based on large-scale climate information.  The forecasts are then incorporated in a decision support tool to aid in water resources planning and decision-making.  The authors’ previous work on the Truckee-Carson basin has demonstrated that incorporating climate information into the forecast can increase the accuracy (or skill) and lead time of forecasts.  This paper focuses on the decision support system that is used to evaluate decision strategies and demonstrates possible water management improvements.  The performance of the framework and the improved forecasts are evaluated on the Truckee-Carson system by using a suite of years from the historical record.

Lisa Keranen
Science and Security in the Age of Bioterrorism: Challenges for Scientists and Citizens

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During the past three years, bioterrorism-related R&D has mushroomed. This presentation examines some of the ethical and political dilemmas posed by the science involved in counter-bioterrorism initiatives. It focuses on the tensions between deterrence and defense, secrecy and disclosure, awareness and alarm, and efficiency versus justice, and illuminates the role communication scholarship can play in understanding recent trends in counter-bioterrorism.

The talk concludes by posing a series of questions regarding citizenship in the age of bioterrorism.

Jerry Peterson
Decision Structures for the New Nuclear Era

The nuclear world has become diverse, with global powers, regional powers and a wide range of nations seeking nuclear arms at a wide range of intensities, for a wide range of reasons.  Leakage of nuclear materials continues, increasing the possibility of non-national actors achieving great destructive power.  Since legal, political, diplomatic, economic and technical issues are deeply entwined in any attempts to address the ever more complex nuclear future, new ways to integrate
national goals, strengths and principles are needed to improve our chances of a secure future.  Explicit suggestions for the University of Colorado at Boulder will be summarized.

Douglas Sicker
The Impact of Frequency Agile Radio Communications on Spectrum Policy

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Several recent technologies have created an opportunity for the development of software defined, frequency agile radio devices. Such devices, known as Software Defined Radios (SDRs), promise to increase the availability of spectrum by providing flexible usage regimes that could better assess and access under-utilized spectrum. Such developments will allow us to move away from the traditionally fixed regulatory structures for allocating, assigning and using spectrum; thereby allowing us to consider novel techniques for spectrum management and usage.

While SDRs represent a major opportunity for improving the design and operation radio devices, they also create substantial technology and regulatory uncertainty. Uncertainty lies in aspects of the economics, security, policy and technology involved in moving toward dynamic spectrum use. These uncertainties are compounded by misunderstandings on the part of the policymakers, technologists and business community. Should any part of this process fail to capture the entirety of the problem, we can expect difficulties in the (1) availability of public safety spectrum, (2) use of commercial spectrum and (3) misuse of non-licensed spectrum, to name a few. While many take comfort in a slow-roll strategy in the development and deployment of SDRs (as being prescribed by the FCC, the DoD and others), the technology exists now and is forcing policy makers to react.

As part of several NSF and DARPA funded projects, we are working on protocols and algorithms to address some of the aforementioned concerns. Together, this work focuses on the development of (1) cooperative network algorithms, (2) strategies and mechanisms for policing device behavior, (3) enforcement mechanisms, and (4) public policy models. An explicit focus of this work is to examine how new technology might map to the public policy models. We believe that properly solving these technical problems of cooperation, policing and enforcement, creates a platform on which to consider and address the policy concerns.

Shep Ryen
Implications of Go-as-You-Pay for the Bush Space Vision

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In January 2004, George W. Bush laid out a new course for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. President Bush committed NASA to completing the International Space Station and exiting from our station and shuttle obligation. Bush proposed a new chapter in manned flight, sending humans to the Moon and Mars, as well as changes in the scientific priorities of the agency. The President and the Aldridge Commission he appointed to add detail to the plan support an indefinite time schedule for reaching the Moon and Mars based on the principle of Go-as-You-Pay. The agency must reach these goals without exceeding traditional levels of funding. This approach has important implications for the goals and priorities of NASA over the next several decades. This presentation will describe how the go-as-you-pay system may impact and constrain the agency given the goals of manned flight to Moon and Mars

Bobbie Klein
Policy, Politics, and Science in the White House: Conversations with Presidential Science Advisors

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On issues as diverse as stem cell research and aluminum tubes in Iraq, science has occupied the center of a number of highly visible debates in recent years. To gain perspective on the role of science in policy and politics at the highest levels of government, the CIRES Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder is sponsoring a lecture series featuring six current and former presidential science advisors. 

The theme of the lecture series is “Policy, Politics, and Science in the White House: Conversations with Presidential Science Advisors.”  Through this series we seek to document how science is used and perhaps sometimes misused in policy and politics.  Using an interview format we will articulate the theme by discussing with each current or former presidential science advisor a significant science policy issue or issues that arose during his tenure.  Participants include Dr. John Marburger (President George W. Bush 2001 – present), Dr. Neal Lane (President Bill Clinton 1998-2001), Dr. John H. Gibbons (President Bill Clinton 1993-1998), Dr. D. Allan Bromley (President George H.W. Bush 1989-1993), Dr. George A. Keyworth II (President Ronald Reagan 1981-1985), and Dr. Edward David (President Richard Nixon 1970-1973).  The series will host other speakers including Bob Palmer, the Democratic Staff Director of the Committee on Science.

Tom Yulsman
Journalism Values vs. Science Values: an uneasy Match
How science is covered in the media: Newsworthiness and the journalistic value of “balanced” reporting

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About Newsworthiness: Reporters and editors evaluate the newsworthiness of a story based on a number of criteria, including such factors as impact, proximity and timeliness. These criteria work just fine for covering the immediate events surrounding, say, politics. But they do not encourage the best possible coverage of science. This is because of a mismatch between how science works and traditional journalistic views of what makes a story newsworthy.

About Balance: Particularly when it comes to coverage of controversial scientific issues such as climate change, editors often demand that reporters’ stories achieve “balance” by giving “both sides.” These demands recently have had a direct impact on coverage of such issues as evolution and climate change. The problem is, of course, that such complex issues often cannot be boiled down to two competing and scientifically valid points of view.

Elizabeth McNie
Beyond the Linear Model: Introducing “Pasteur’s Quadrant”

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Conventional understanding of the flow of scientific information between scientists and decision makers holds that it is one-way; scientists conduct research and produce data, and decision makers must then sort through and select from the available information for use in their decisions. This simplified model, however, often leads to the under-utilization of scientific information in the decision process in two ways. First, scientists may not be supplying the ‘right’ information that is needed by decision makers, or are providing too much information that goes underutilized. Second, decision makers may have specific informational needs that are critical to the policy decision, yet this information may not be produced by the scientists, or the decision makers may be unable to use available information for a variety of reasons. A better situation would enhance linkages between both the supply of and demand for scientific information. That is, scientists produce information that is both needed and used by decision makers in their policy decisions. 

In this talk I articulate the problem of the linear model of science policy by describing the current trends, factors contributing to the problem, and the practical challenges in science policy of reconciling the “supply and demand” of scientific information. I also explore the use of “Pasteur’s Quadrant” as an alternative model for science policy.

Lisa Dilling
In search of Pasteur’s Quadrant:  Opportunities and Barriers in Incorporating Considerations of Use in Carbon Cycle Science Research

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Since the 1970s, carbon cycle science has been justified in the United States for its potential to provide information to underpin important societal decisions.  At that time, as today, societal concern over rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations was the backdrop as scientific debates swirled around various uncertainties, including the magnitude of carbon sources and the effects of increasing CO2 on climate, humans, and Earth systems.  In 1977, the National Academy of Sciences recommended a program of research on phenomena “involved in the carbon dioxide problem” to “close gaps in knowledge, so that future decisions regarding the exploitation of energy resources can be made on as sound a basis as possible.”  Several agencies, notably the Department of Energy, began to invest significant resources in carbon cycle science.  Twenty-seven years later, resources invested in carbon cycle science have increased to over 260 million dollars a year.  Research carried out within the program is generally considered “basic science”, on topics such as ocean circulation, terrestrial carbon exchange, atmospheric gas monitoring, modeling, vegetation dynamics, and so on.  With the introduction in 2002 of the North American Carbon Program, the goal of serving the needs of decision makers with this research was reaffirmed.  Indeed, the NACP was a leading component of the President’s U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative, which “represents a focusing of resources and attention on those elements of the USGCRP that can best support improved public debate and decision-making in the near term.”  Numerous studies have pointed out, however, that research justified by its usefulness to society, but divorced from users in practice, has difficulty effectively supporting decision-making.  The carbon cycle science program to date does not have a component focused on understanding how research can support decision-making, and thus risks replicating the failed model of many other climate-related research programs of the past few decades.  Here we present the alternative model of “use-inspired basic research,” or “Pasteur’s Quadrant,” and suggest new research paths are necessary to understand precisely what needs exist, and how information on the North American carbon balance or other aspects of the carbon program will meet them.  Using the method of reconciling supply and demand, we hope to identify where there is a good match of information needs and supply, and where there is a "missed opportunity," or a chance to perhaps better connect the supply of scientific information to societal need.  Previous experience suggests that such a systematic approach is necessary to realize the potential usefulness of research, avoid misuse or nonuse, and, indeed, meet the broader goals of the NACP to contribute useful information to decision makers.