Earlier this month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the decision to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s climate science and service delivery capabilities as a way of addressing the growing demand for climate data vital to planning and operations. NOAA is also unveiling a new Web site – http://www.climate.gov – that serves as a single point-of-entry for NOAA’s extensive climate information, data, products and services.
By Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responds to millions of annual requests for climate data vital to planning and operations. Decision-makers and individuals across a broad spectrum of sectors – from transportation to agriculture to energy – increasingly are asking NOAA for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses. Earlier this month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the decision to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s climate science and service delivery capabilities as a way of addressing the growing demand for this type of information.
More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives.
NOAA is also unveiling a new Web site – http://www.climate.gov – that serves as a single point-of-entry for NOAA’s extensive climate information, data, products and services. Known as the NOAA Climate Portal, the site addresses the needs of five broadly-defined user groups: decision makers and policy leaders, scientists and applications-oriented data users, educators, business users and the public.
Highlights of the portal include an interactive “climate dashboard” that shows a range of constantly updating climate datasets (e.g., temperature, carbon dioxide concentration and sea level) over adjustable time scales; the new climate science magazine ClimateWatch, featuring videos and articles of scientists discussing recent climate research and findings; and an array of data products and educational resources.
“By providing critical planning information that our businesses and our communities need, NOAA Climate Service will help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said Secretary Locke. “In the process, we’ll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs.”
“Working closely with federal, regional, academic and other state and local government and private sector partners, the new NOAA Climate Service will build on our success transforming science into useable climate services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
They are unifying NOAA’s climate capabilities under a single climate office to dintegrate the agency’s climate science and services and make them more accessible to NOAA partners and other users. Planning has been, and continues to be, shaped by input from NOAA employees and stakeholders across the country, with close consideration given to the recommendations of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, National Academies and National Academy of Public Administration.
NOAA Climate Service will encompass a core set of longstanding NOAA capabilities with proven success. The climate research, observations, modeling, predictions and assessments generated by NOAA’s top scientists – including Nobel Peace Prize award-winners – will continue to provide the scientific foundation for extensive on-the-ground climate services that respond to millions of requests annually for data and other critical information.
Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, will serve as transitional director of NOAA Climate Service. New positions for six NOAA Regional Climate Services Directors will be announced soon.
© 2010, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.