About the Climate Program Office
Understanding climate variability and change to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond
Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.
NOAA provides science, data, and information that Americans want and need to understand how climate conditions are changing. Without NOAA’s long-term climate observing, monitoring, research, and modeling capabilities we couldn’t quantify where and how climate conditions have changed, nor could we predict where and how they’re likely to change.
NOAA’s climate science, data, and information improve the nation’s resilience. Specifically, we help communities, businesses and citizens to:
- Reduce vulnerability to extreme weather;
- Prepare for drought and water resource challenges;
- Manage risks to coastlines and coastal infrastructure;
- Sustainably manage marine ecosystems; and
- Adapt to and mitigate climate impacts.
NOAA’s Climate Program Office (established in October 2005) provides a unique and highly flexible climate research enterprise that focuses on:
- competitive grant programs that advance and extend our research capabilities;
- partnerships with academia, businesses and other agencies to develop and deliver targeted research and data products; and
- knowledge and information to improve public climate literacy and decision-making needed to maintain resilient economies and environmental services
CPO designs, deploys, and maintains an integrated global network of oceanic and atmospheric observing instruments to produce continuous records and analyses of a range of ocean and atmosphere parameters. Credit: NOAA.
Central to our mission: develop and sustain a global in situ climate observing system. From the bottom of the ocean to the top of the atmosphere, NOAA’s instruments are a vital part of an international system to monitor Earth’s climate. The resulting data and knowledge are summarized in world-class, peer-reviewed publications.
We leverage the aforementioned climate science capacity and capabilities to provide the nation with critically needed early warning systems that are timely and relevant for stakeholders at a range of scales spatially (local to global) and over time (weeks to decades). Of course, NOAA doesn’t do all of these things alone. We forge and evolve partnerships with entities across the federal government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and businesses to optimize the delivery of climate data and information to stakeholders. Where applicable, we facilitate innovation and development of commercially viable products and services in the private sector.
For water managers, global climate models have insufficient resolutions to help them make decisions on local scales. CPO-funded climate researchers are helping by “downscaling” projections from global models so they can be used in more detailed, regional models. Photo by Brian Kahn.