ESRL Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2009

Climate Services Update

A new National Climate Service (NCS) is taking shape within NOAA, with ESRL’s help. In late January, Deputy Undersecretary Mary Glackin announced the appointment of Tom Karl as Director of NOAA’s Climate Services, and Chet Koblinsky as Deputy Director.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco spoke about her commitment to forming a NOAA National Climate Service during her Senate confirmation hearing, a service that would resemble, in some ways, the National Weather Service. “I heard firsthand from businesses and state and local governments about the need for better information and predictions about the impacts of climate change in communities all across this country,” Lubchenco said. “From concern about droughts and sea level rise to changes in the chemistry of the ocean, there is a real hunger for more and better information.”

There has been strong ESRL involvement in the development of the new Service. ESRL’s Randall Dole, chief scientist of the Physical Sciences Division, and Susan Solomon, senior scientist in the Chemical Sciences Division, are co-leading a team of NOAA staff writing one of the NCS foundational documents, which will define strategic goals and principles of the Service. This document will provide basic guidance for the subsequent development of an implementation plan and identification of priorities.

ESRL’s Dole, Robin Webb, and Roger Pulwarty participated in early planning activities, which involved input from the private sector and across government. An external review committee, chaired by Eric Barron of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, reviewed an initial draft plan and has submitted recommendations regarding needs for a National Climate Service to NOAA’s Science Advisory Board. The National Research Council originally outlined a vision for the agency in 2001.