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 ADMINISTRATION

DESCRIPTION:  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.