The Obama administration's planned national climate service will equip decision-makers with hard facts about long-term environmental changes instead of long-term research, the service's provisional director said.
"There's a purpose to what we're trying to do and it's driven by the needs of society to live effectively in the environment we have, both the natural environment and the built environment," Thomas R. Karl, who is director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center
, said Wednesday.
Much of the service's initial work will have to do with shifting from performing purely research activities, which take place in time frames of years, to providing information to legislators, agencies and companies in time for them to act.
"The recognition that climate is changing; decisions need to be made," Karl said at a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "We need to be timely, otherwise people are going to go ahead and make decisions without your information."
In February, the Obama administration proposed a climate service to provide longer-term projections on climate change similar to the way the National Weather Service distributes weather information. The NOAA Climate Service is be online this fall or winter, the agency said.
During the discussion, which included climate experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Congress and the president's office, CSIS released a report that found an absence of reliable climate data will hamper the ability of government entities, businesses and people to manage climate-related risk.
The report advocates turning the focus of the U.S. mission in space to looking not to the stars, in what the report labels "the romantic fiction of space flight," but back toward the Earth to collect precise data about Earth's changing environment.
"We have ways to view our planet that we as a species have never been able to do before," said Jack Kaye, associate director for research and analysis with NASA'S Earth Science Division.
Moving forward, agencies must cooperate to create the broad policy changes that a changing climate will require, Karl said.
"What we need to do is be a little bit smarter," Karl said. "Our government is not set up to address problems we have today that transcend all the agencies. That's a real challenge."
Thursday, July 22, 2010
U.S. agency to look at climate change The report advocates turning the focus of the U.S. mission in space to looking not to the stars, in what the report labels "the romantic fiction of space flight," but back toward the Earth to collect precise data about Earth's changing environment. by Sonja Elmquist, Medill News Service
Posted by Michele Kearney at 10:27 PM