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New Climate Services at NOAA

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July 11, 2011

New Climate Services at NOAA

L. Dewayne Cecil, Ph.D. (Idaho Falls, ID), NOAA-NCDC. "Adapting government climate records to a changing global climate."

Dr. Cecil recently opened the line office in Salt Lake City, Utah for the new NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Services, of which he is Western Regional Director (one of Six regional directors). The Climate Service works closely with the Western Governor's Association and others, and is extremely interested in tracking and predicting changing weather patterns and climate.

According to Dr. Cecil, the three main climate issues for the Western United States are water, water and water. People must have the capacity to predict and control water availability and to predict as far in advance as possible, extreme events such as floods, hail, tornados and blizzards. They are also interested in subjects such as the effect of urban sprawl and invasive species on water issues.

Water drives weather, climate and energy balance. Air and humidity also strongly influence weather. Our Blue Marble Earth is the Water Planet.

An objective of the NOAA Climate Services is to work directly with citizens, not just scientists and government, to get a better sense of their needs and to be the most helpful.

Dr. Cecil talked about the discontinuing of the Space Shuttle. This represents a major shift in priorities at the time of economic uncertainty and changing demographics. It suggests that politicians are less worried about collecting accurate climate change data than they express publicly. We still have the EOS system in place, though (Earth Observation Satellite).

We can shift focus but we must not stop.