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1.3 Research themes

CDC research is organized into three principal themes: 1) Intraseasonal-to-Interannual Climate Research, including modeling and prediction research and empirical and process studies; 2) Decadal-to-Centennial Climate Research; and 3) Experimental Climate Services. Chapters 2-6 provide reviews of recent research accomplishments in these areas; chapter 7 describes CDC's computing, network, web, and data services; chapter 8 lists CDC publications since 1997; and chapter 9 provides an organizational chart and list of current CDC personnel associated with each of these areas.

The first two themes directly support the long-term NOAA Strategic Goals to "Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts" and "Predict and Assess Decadal to Centennial Climate Change". Research within the first theme extends down to sub-seasonal time scales in order to address emerging research priorities linking climate and weather. The third theme was developed to support future requirements for NOAA's Climate Services, which in FY01 was supported as a new program. Research in this third component focuses on the climate-society interface, and particularly on how interactions between scientists and decision-makers can accelerate development of more useful climate products, and thereby improve the value of the climate information that NOAA will provide to address a broad range of social, economic, and environmental issues.

All of the above themes involve ongoing, long-term research that is central to NOAA's mission. Within the general themes, specific research foci are adjusted as needed to meet current mission requirements or anticipated future priorities. For example, over the past few years, CDC has placed increasing emphasis on developing new capabilities for forecasting climate probability distributions, including the likelihood of extreme events. This enhanced research emphasis has led to new advances in ensemble prediction methods, the development of new stochastic approaches to modeling and predicting climate variability, and new experimental forecast products. CDC is also gradually redirecting resources to increase research into the mechanisms and predictability of decadal-to-centennial climate variability and assessment of long-term climate change, including diagnosis of GFDL models used to study climate change in response to human-induced forcings.

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