Sunday, February 22, 2009

National Climate Service

Climate and atmospheric scientists are pushing for creation of a National Climate Service that would bring together records, data, and forecasts from a variety of research groups and agencies to make climate change predictions for large areas over months and years, according to a report in Nature.

New NOAA director Jane Lubchenco support the concept during her Senate confirmation hearings and a report from a workshop last June recommends that NOAA tie weather and climate services together as part of an NCS. The report will be presented to NOAA's science advisory board at a meeting on 10 March where they are expected to decide whether to accept it.

Some of the programs or offices mentioned as being part of an NCS are NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, NOAA's Climate Program Office, USGS stream flow data program, and the US Department of Agriculture snowpack melt monitoring program.

The idea for a climate service goes back 30 years but a bill to implement died in the Senate last year. Estimates to run NCS are $500 million per year, twice what NOAA spends on climate activities now, and could match the National Weather Service costs of $800 million per year.

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