NOAA's weather and climate efforts have international as well as domestic dimensions. The agency has a well-established history in sponsoring international climate-related decision support research and capacity building activities dating back to the early 1990s. Many of these activities have been tightly linked to multilateral and bilateral scientific programs, processes, and frameworks; while others are less formal. Examples of activities supported via this effort over the last 20 years include the development of Regional Climate Outlook Forums; pilot applications research, training, and capacity building projects; interdisciplinary competitive research grants focused on impacts and vulnerability; and long-term institutional investment in the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI).
In part due to these and other efforts, the landscape for international climate services and the use of climate information in risk management has evolved significantly over the last 25 years. The demand for useful and forward-looking information about weather, climate variability, and change across multiple temporal and spatial scales has substantially expanded, as evidenced by a growing focus on climate and risk management in many sectors, countries and regions. Stakeholders and decision makers are requiring a robust understanding of the impact of changes in weather and climatic conditions on the people and places in which they are vested. Increasingly such an understanding is recognized as being reliant on locally- and regionally-specific data, contextual socio-economic knowledge, decision support tools, and the enhancement of institutional capacity to manage negative consequences, and take advantage of the positive impacts of variability and change. The last few decades also mark an increasing recognition by programs with mandates in public safety and security; economic, social growth, and development; and resource management of the need to consider strategic approaches to incorporating weather and climate as considerations within the sectors and regions they address. This demand, and a corresponding evolution of capabilities within the research and operational/services communities, has helped to advance and shape the creation of interdisciplinary research, services, institutions, and networks designed to produce actionable climate information.