NOAA Tackles Climate Change

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2010-02-08 Email Print this article Print

Responding to public demand for climate change information, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to form an NOAA Climate Service line office and launches a new Website to serve as a single point of entry for NOAA's extensive climate information, data, products and services.

To accommodate the increasingly number of requests for climate change information, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Feb. 8 it is creating an NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency's climate science and service delivery capabilities.

NOAA said unifying its 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. In coordination with the proposed Climate Service office, NOAA also debuted a new Website to serve 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.

"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," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. "In the process, we'll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs."

The new service will encompass a core set of longstanding NOAA capabilities with proven success, NOAA said. 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.

"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 usable climate services," said Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary 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."

Highlights of the new portal include an interactive climate dashboard that shows a range of constantly updating climate datasets such as 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 is one of the U.S. agencies monitoring the state of the climate system worldwide, conducting climate science research, producing models to better understand and predict future climate scenarios, and assessing the impacts of climate variability and climate change on global, national and regional scales.

In recent years the agency has seen more visitors to its Websites seeking information, asking questions and expressing concerns about climate change. In addition, the users of climate data and services are expanding to include businesses, local governments and many sectors concerned about the economic and societal impacts of climate change.

"More and more individuals-community planners, farmers, public health officials and small business owners-are seeking reliable, user-friendly climate data and information," said Lubchenco. "We envision this climate portal as the first step toward making the wealth of climate information at NOAA available in one easy-to-use resource."


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