Organization: Department of Commerce (DOC)

Research Title: Climate Change Data and Detection

Funding Level (millions of dollars):

FY94 4.4
FY95 4.0
FY96 3.9

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Component:
(a) Subcommittee: (i) Global Change Research Subcommittee (100%); (ii) Task Force on Observations and Data Management; (iii) NSTC Committee on Information and Communication
(b) Environmental Issue: Natural variability (50%) Climate change (50%)
(c) Research Activity: Data Management (100%)

Organizational Component:
Office of Global Programs
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville NC 28801-5001

Point of Contact:
Thomas R. Karl
Phone: 704-271-4319

Research Goals:
To provide the scientific community with the data and information necessary to assess seasonal, interannual, decadal and longer climate variations and changes, distinguish between natural and anthropogenically-induced change, and strengthen predictive capability.

Research Description:
The current NOAA Climate Change Data and Detection Program focuses on the following objectives: (1) to provide data and information management support (i.e. data assembly, processing, inventory, access, distribution and archiving) for a variety of national and international programs of primary interest to the U.S. Climate and Global Change Program, e.g., GEWEX (Global Energy & Water Cycle Experiment), WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment), GCOS (Global Climate Observing System), GOALS (Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land-System Program, IGBP (International Geosphere Biosphere Program), etc.; (2) to provide data and information management support related to cross cutting science efforts necessary to assess seasonal, interannual, decadal, and longer climate variations and changes; (3) to document the quantitative character of observed climate variations and changes; and (4) to attribute changes in the observed climate record to specific climate forcings. These objectives are accomplished through a set of continuing, focused activities by governmental and academic researchers. In the short-term, this NOAA project will improve access to data and thus ensure that information reaches decision makers on a more timely basis. In the longer term, the creation of more robust, long-term data sets that are adequately documented will allow the data to be used with confidence 20 years from now. These high quality, science-based data will reduce uncertainty in climate change assessments. NOAA data represent the largest, historical record of the Earth and the only significant global records for use by the Earth Observing System (EOS). These data are essential to both calibrate new EOS data and to extend the record to interpret EOS data. 8. Program Interfaces NOAA efforts in data and information management for C&GC benefit national and international programs. In the U.S., the linkages are to the academic and interagency communities. Internationally, NOAA C&GC data management efforts tie to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, the World Meteorological Organization, the Committee on Earth Observations Satellites, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other C&GC-related programs such as WOCE, TOGA, and GEWEX.

Program Milestones:
Autumn, 1994: Provide Internet access to Global Climate Perspectives System gridded data; Autumn, 1994: Complete Quality Control of 480,000 COADS Observations and Digitization of 80,000 Mechanical Bathythermograph Profiles; Spring, 1995: Expand listings of climate data sets in NOAA Environmental Services Data Directory to more than 5,000 descriptions; Spring, 1996: Complete linkage of NOAA Directory Services to the EOSDIS.

Policy Payoffs:
As a result of NOAA's C&GC data management efforts, data and information available in NOAA are being made accessible to researchers and policy makers. NOAA data sets constitute a major portion of the climate record and are principal inputs for the IPCC assessment. Nations are using NOAA data to implement the post-UNCED framework convention on Climate Change.