The global modeling initiative (GMI) science team is developing a three-dimensional chemistry and transport model (CTM) for use in assessment of the atmospheric effects of aviation. This model must be documented, be validated against observations, use a realistic atmospheric circulation, and contain numerical transport and photochemical modules representing atmospheric processes. The model must retain computational efficiency for multiple scenarios and sensitivity studies. To meet these requirements, a facility model concept was developed in which the different components of the CTM are evaluated separately. The assessment of the impact on the stratosphere of the exhaust of supersonic aircraft will depend strongly on the meteorological fields used by the CTM. Three data sets for the stratosphere were considered: the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model (CCM2), the Goddard Earth Observing System data assimilation system, and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies general circulation model. Objective criteria were developed to identify the data set that provides the best representation of the stratosphere. Simulations of gases with simple chemical control were chosen to test various aspects of model transport. The data sets were evaluated and graded on their performance on these tests. The CCM2 meteorological data set has the highest score and was selected for GMI. This objective model evaluation establishes a physical basis for interpretation of differences between models and observations. Further, the method provides a quantitative basis for defining model errors, for discriminating between different models, and for ready reevaluation of improved models. This will lead to higher confidence in assessment calculations. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.