PROGRAM TITLE: Seasonal to Interannual Forecasting ACTIVITY STREAM: Assessment and Integrative Modeling and Prediction SCIENCE ELEMENT:
Climate and Hydrologic Systems DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATIONDESCRIPTION: The Seasonal to Interannual Forecasting Program will provide forecasts of seasonal to interannual climate variations to serve both U.S. interests and the needs of other countries, primarily developing countries. This effort will build on the existing capabilities and resources in both operational organizations like the National Meteorological Center and the broad international research community. The proposed program will involve the capabilities of NOAA and its university partners to a program that provides experimental forecasting products for use by all interested countries and an operational forecasting capability designed specifically to address U.S. interests. An "International Research Institute for Climate Prediction" (IRICP) has been advocated in many international fora over the past two years, most notably as an assessment activity of the USGCRP by the U.S. delegation to UNCED in Rio. The Seasonal to Interannual Forecasting Program will support research and development of coupled climate prediction models, development and production of experimental forecasts, and the training of scientists and decisionmakers in the interpretation and utilization of predictions. Application centers in participating countries will tailor and distribute products of social and economic benefit to users. The IRICP concept defines a partnership between developed countries -- which have made advances in understanding and predicting climate variability -- and developing countries, where utilization of climate predictions will have significant social and economic impact. The assessment of seasonal to interannual climate variations will be provided through the delivery of information products of direct relevance to decisionmakers within governments and industries. Operational Climate Prediction efforts at the National Weather Service will be enhanced through accelerated development and implementation of a multi-season forecast system based upon models of a coupled ocean- atmosphere, expansion of systems to process and assimilate observations, and delivery of prediction services to the U.S. Climate prediction services will provide interpretation of forecast parameters and development of economic applications for improved U.S. economic advantage. STAKEHOLDERS: Agriculture, energy, transportation, fisheries, water management and other industrial sectors in the U.S. and worldwide are the primary beneficiaries of routine and systematic delivery of seasonal to interannual climate forecasts. Forecast products from the IRICP and NMC will be provided to application centers and weather services internationally. The IRICP concept was borne out of deliberations of the U.S. TOGA Advisory Panel of the National Academy of Sciences and subsequently championed by the Intergovernmental TOGA Board of the WCRP comprised of delegates representing fourteen nations. A number of countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Peru, South Africa and the U.S. have expressed interest in participating in an IRICP. SHORT-TERM POLICY PAYOFFS: Predicting seasonal to interannual climatic trends and disseminating forecasts through appropriate channels offers an early return on the U.S. investment in Global Change research and was highlighed in President Clinton's FY94 budget for NOAA in the USGCRP. Ten years of TOGA research has resulted in the proven ability of coupled ocean-atmosphere models to forecast ENSO events up to a year or two in advance. This program will implement the TOGA research results for practical use by industry and government planners, providing them an opportunity to learn to manage social and economic systems within the context of the natural environment. Bert Bolin, in a speech to the INC, recently highlighted the importance of ENSO prediction and the participation of scientists in developing countries in international climate research programs as key elements of ensuring an effective international response to the challenges associated with climate change. The programmatic design and implementation exemplifies the future of international relations in the field of environmental and scientific cooperation. The multinational approach reflects the new international operating principle of cooperation for mutual benefit rather than conflict management. The particularly valuable implications of an IRICP for tropical countries exemplifies the U.S. commitment to a more progressive era in North-South relations. PROGRAM CONTACT: Claudia Nierenberg, Office of Global Programs, 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1225, Silver Spring, MD 20910, (301) 427-2089 X 46.