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February 8, 2010
Individuals and decision-makers across widely diverse sectors – from agriculture to energy to transportation – increasingly are asking NOAA for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses. To meet the rising tide of these requests, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today 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.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
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.
“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. “NOAA is committed to scientific integrity and transparency; we seek to advance science and strengthen product development and delivery through user engagement.”
Leaders from numerous public and private sector entities support the creation of NOAA Climate Service:
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.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
“Addressing climate change is one of our most pressing environmental challenges. Making climate science more easily accessible to all Americans will help us gain the consensus we need to move forward,” said Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy. “The new NOAA Climate Service is a welcome addition. It will help bring people together so we can also bring about an economic recovery by more rapidly modernizing our nation’s energy infrastructure.”
“NOAA has consistently led the world in climate research and observation,” said Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change. “Businesses, communities and governments will rely even more on its expertise and the critical information it provides to make informed decisions based on the best science available. Through NOAA’s improved climate services we will be better able to confront climate change, and the many challenges it presents for our environment, security, and economy.”
“The establishment of NOAA Climate Service will be an important step forward in helping the nation better understand and forecast the changing climate. The Navy's Task Force Climate Change looks forward to working closely with NOAA Climate Service to ensure that both the nation and the Navy are best prepared for the future challenges posed by climate change,” said RADM Dave Titley, oceanographer of the Navy and director of the Navy's Task Force Climate Change.
"NOAA's reorganization to consolidate its formidable capabilities relating to climate science and services in a single office is an important step forward in the larger effort of harnessing relevant capabilities across all the executive branch agencies to help citizens and businesses plan for and cope with climate change," said Shere Abbott, associate director for environment and energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
NOAA weather balloon launch.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
To see what other leaders from government, business, science and environment are saying about NOAA Climate Service, and to get additional information, visit http://www.noaa.gov/climate.
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 – 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 and will provide regional leadership for integrating user engagement and on-the-ground service delivery within the Climate Service.
NOAA is also unveiling today 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.NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.