NOAA Climate Variability and Change Science Challenge Workshop

September 20-22, 2011
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
David Skaggs Research Center / Room GB-402
Boulder, Colorado
June, July and August maximum temperature change over the past 100 years, 1910-2009

Purpose: Sponsored by the NOAA Research Council, a NOAA Science Workshop was convened in April 2010, and a white paper "Strengthening NOAA Science: Findings from the NOAA Science Workshop" summarizing outcomes from the Workshop was released in August 2010. The white paper identified an overarching grand science challenge; subsidiary topic-specific, major science challenges; and two cross-cutting challenges.

In response to the white paper and to support the Science and Technology Enterprise capability in "NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan", the Council on October 25 proposed a series of four thematic workshops be held in 2011. The workshops will explore the topic-specific and cross-cutting challenges identified at the NOAA Science Workshop in greater depth and, importantly, do so in collaboration with external partners. The workshops will focus discussion on NOAA’s research planning for the next 5 years. The findings and recommendations generated from the workshops will inform a subsequent, major NOAA Science Conference, which will be designed to address the white paper’s overarching grand science challenge and to contribute to a new 5-year research plan for the agency.

Outcomes: To fulfill the purpose of the workshops, discussions at each workshop should:

  • encompass the current state of understanding;
  • identify gaps that can be addressed over the next 5-years;
  • identify NOAA’s role in filling those gaps in concert with external partners and other institutions over the next 5-years;
  • outline the expected benefits of filling the gaps.

Workshop Format: This will be a working meeting, with introductory plenaries that identify major challenges and provide specific examples of regional climate variations and change that are of high importance to NOAA, the nation and world. A large fraction of the time will be devoted to breakout groups that focus on 3-4 high priority topics or "case studies" that can inform more general strategies related to the overarching Workshop theme. Each breakout group will identify specific needs in observations, process understanding and modeling required for NOAA together with its partners to address key science challenges, and recommend high-priority steps NOAA could take over the near-term (next several years).

Agenda: Agenda updated September 18, 2011.

White Paper: Draft updated September 14, 2011.

Organizing Committee

  • Harold Brooks (NSSL)
  • Randy Dole (ESRL PSD, chair)
  • Leo Donner (GFDL)
  • David Fahey (ESRL CSD)
  • Mitch Goldberg (NESDIS STAR)
  • Martin Hoerling (ESRL PSD)
  • Wayne Higgins (CPC)
  • Arun Kumar (CPC)
  • Robert Webb (ESRL PSD, Water Cycle Science Challenge liaison)

Program Committee

  • Derek Arndt (NCDC)
  • Harold Brooks (NSSL)
  • Randy Dole (ESRL, chair)
  • Leo Donner (GFDL)
  • Lisa Goddard (IRI)
  • James Kinter (COLA)
  • Siegfried Schubert (NASA GMAO)
  • Claudia Tebaldi (Climate Central)
  • Scott Weaver (CPC)
  • Robert Webb (ESRL PSD, Water Cycle Science Challenge liaison)

For more information, contact the workshop organizers:
Randy Dole -
Ann Keane -
Barbara Herrli -