Organization: Department of Commerce (DOC)

Research Title: Climate Observations

Funding Level (millions of dollars):

FY94 8.4
FY95 7.1
FY96 8.0

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Component:
(a) Subcommittee: Global Change Research Subcommittee (100%) Task Group on Observations and Data Management
(b) Environmental Issue: Climate Change (100%)
(c) Research Activity: System structure and function: Observations (100%)

Organizational Component:
Office of Global Programs
1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1225
Silver Spring MD 20910

Point of Contact:
William L. Murray
Phone: 301 427-2089 ext 26

Research Goals:
To meet the scientific requirements for information that can be used to monitor the climate, detect climate change, predict the climate system on time scales ranging from seasonal to centennial, and perform integrated impact assessments.

Research Description:
NOAA's USGCRP contribution to Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) consists of (i) a program of long-term ocean observations with an emphasis on in-situ measurements of key parameters that have a strong and demonstrable impact on describing and understanding climate variability, detecting trends and supporting prediction at time scales from seasons to several decades; and (ii) the development, validation, and implementation of high quality, climate-relevant data products derived from NOAA operational observing systems, with a primary emphasis on operational meteorological satellite measurements. A critical component of the ocean observation program is the transition and maintenance of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Observing System to operations while studies are undertaken to determine the optimum Pacific Ocean observing system to facilitate climate predictions. NOAA is also currently exploring the possibilities of strengthening the organizational linkage between the NOAA Climate & Global Change observational efforts that include the contribution to GCOS and the Climate Change Data and Detection program activity.

Program Interfaces:
NOAA's contribution to GCOS directly supports national and international science programs of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) including the Global Energy Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Program, and the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder project.

Program Milestones:
Autumn, 1994: Begin Collection of GOES 8 data for International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP); Summer, 1995: Complete instrument installation for three sites of the Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD); Summer, 1995: Complete full implementation of the Indian Ocean XBT Program to coincide with the WOCE Indian Ocean Expedition; Autumn, 1995: Complete development of a global gridded precipitation analysis procedure; Spring, 1996: Complete the field phase of project to improve the quality of SST measurements from volunteer observing ships.

Policy Payoffs:
As stated in the GCOS Draft Plan, comprehensive global observations, when integrated into numerical models of the climate system, will "provide immediate benefits to society in the form of improved short-term climate forecasts and "long term" benefits in providing a deeper understanding of the planet." The long-term, reliable observational record provided by NOAA's contributions to GCOS are essential components of: (i) seasonal to interannual climate forecasting to address public safety and economic decision making issues; (ii) U.S. contributions to the IPCC; and (iii) assessments of observed and anticipated climate change. Before the advent of EOS, NOAA's program is providing the only major global observations available for understanding, modeling, and predicting the environment.