February 10th, 2010
NOAA New Directions + Web Work
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced the intent to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s strong climate science and service delivery capabilities. NOAA responds to millions of annual requests for climate data vital to planning and operations.
In vulnerable areas, infrastructure can be designed with a better understanding of projected sea-level rise, flooding and/or changes in hurricane frequency and intensity. 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 researchers collect climate data throughout the world. This data yields important clues about long-term global changes, improving predictions of climate variations in the shorter term, such as during cold spells and periods of drought, and over centuries.
Unifying NOAA’s climate capabilities under a single climate office will integrate 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 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 and will provide regional leadership for integrating user engagement and on-the-ground service delivery within the Climate Service.
NOAA is also unveiling a new web site 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.