Volume 88 Issue 7 | p. 13 | News of The Week
Issue Date: February 15, 2010

Providing Climate Information

Commerce Department proposes a climate agency akin to the National Weather Service
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Climate Change
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: climate change, NOAA

The nation will have a new climate agency akin to the National Weather Service if Congress approves a reorganization plan for NOAA.

The proposed NOAA Climate Service would provide data to companies, local governments, farmers, and the public about projected changes in climate, such as alterations in rainfall patterns, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says. NOAA, which is a Commerce Department agency, gets millions of requests for this sort of information each year, he adds.

“By providing critical planning information that our businesses and our communities need, NOAA Climate Service will help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” Locke says. “In the process, we’ll discover new technologies, build new businesses, and create new jobs.”

The new service would stem from a reorganization of existing NOAA programs, Locke says. Congressional appropriators would have to approve of NOAA shifting funds from current programs into the new climate service, he explains. In addition, the White House will have to give a green light to the plan. Locke hopes the new service will be in place by fiscal 2011.

As NOAA moves ahead, Congress is also considering legislation to create a national climate service, which would get input from a swath of federal agencies in addition to NOAA (C&EN, July 6, 2009, page 23).

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