A new agreement between the Western Governors’ Association and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for improving the development and delivery of climate science and services will boost efforts to ensure Western states and the U.S. Pacific islands are better able to plan for severe drought, floods, wildfire, extreme storms, and other impacts of global climate disruption and variability. The Governors have recognized the need. Attacks by Congressional know-nothings on climate science and federal climate service decision-support acitivty cannot be allowed to stand in the way of NOAA doing its job on climate preparedness.
NOAA announced in a June 30 release (excerpt):
The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) today announced a joint agreement for improving the development and delivery of climate science and services to Western states. In the midst of a record-breaking season for extreme drought, flood, wildfire and severe storms, this timely agreement will increase collaboration and boost existing efforts to ensure Western states and the U.S. Pacific islands are better able to plan for these types of natural hazards.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed today at the WGA’s Annual Meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Govs. C.L. “Butch” Otter (Idaho) and Chris Gregoire (Washington), the Chair and Vice Chair of WGA. WGA includes Governors from 19 Western states and three U.S. Flag Pacific Islands.
In today’s agreement, WGA and NOAA committed to improve the development, coordination and dissemination of climate information to support the important long-range hazard planning priorities and resource management decisions of WGA members. The agreement articulates two priority areas:
- disaster risk reduction focusing on the impact of extreme events, such as droughts, floods, fires and tropical cyclones; and,
- improved science and climate information to support the management of coastal, estuarine, and marine resources important to achieving resilient coastal communities and ecosystems.
The Governors recognize the inextricable link between the climate and the natural resources, infrastructure, economies and communities of the West. This agreement expresses a unified commitment to develop and use sound data and information to effectively manage natural resources and human infrastructure and build a more resilient West. …
Given recent events in the West, immediate priorities will include improved coordination and bringing NOAA’s climate information to bear to meet natural resource challenges related to flooding in the Northern Rockies, drought and fire risk in the Southwest, and ocean and coastal management for the West Coast states. …
Emerging scientific research indicates that the Western U.S. will be disproportionately impacted by climactic variability and change. This is due to the natural topographical and geographical diversity of the region combined with increased population growth and a changing economy.
In particular, research has found that water resources, natural ecosystems, agriculture and tourism could be significantly impacted by any increase in average temperature. The dominance of federal land coupled with complex water adjudications has complicated the ability of the region to reach consensus on adaptation policies.
Western Governors have adopted resolutions that specifically speak to Regional and National Policies Regarding Global Climate Change and Supporting the Integration of Climate Change Adaptation Science in the West. In the latter resolution, the Governors encouraged Congress and the Administration to create a National Climate Service, which is now being pursued within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2010, WGA issued a climate adaptation report that emphasizes the need for coordination between state and federal efforts to identify key science that is Western specific and begins to share and implement smart practices.
The Governors support streamlined coordination of federal agencies that respond to climate adaptation and greater cooperation with state agencies, and they agreed the new entity should undertake, coordinate and communicate necessary research and modeling with respect to climate change and adaptation. The new service should also provide relevant decision-making tools for local and state governments in addressing climate change and adaptation issues; connect social, health and economic trends to climate change (and vice versa); and include in its mission public education and outreach. The WGA climate adaptation report emphasizes the need for coordination between state and federal efforts to identify key science that is Western specific and begins to share and implement smart practices. …
NOAA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Request includes a reorganization that brings together its existing widely dispersed climate capabilities under a single line office management structure, the Climate Service.
The principal goal of this reorganization is to more efficiently and effectively respond to the rapidly increasing demand for easily accessible and timely scientific data and information about climate that helps people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities. NOAA provides this to citizens as climate services.
The Climate Service will allow NOAA to provide a reliable and authoritative source for climate data, information, and decision support
services and to more effectively coordinate with other agencies and partners.
This website provides the context and background materials concerning the reorganization to establish a climate service in NOAA.