STRATEGIC PLAN STRUCTURE
Advance Short Term Warning & Forecast Services
Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts
Predict & Assess Decadal to Centennial Change
Promote Safe Navigation
Build Sustainable Fisheries
Recover Protected Species
Sustain Healthy Coasts
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Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts
Total Request $105,424,000
Strategic Plan Chart | Strategic Plan Table
Activity-Based Chart | Activity-Based
NOAA, working together with academic and multinational partners, will
provide one-year lead-time forecasts of known skill of global climate variability,
especially El Niño and the consequent precipitation and surface temperature
distributions. These forecasts will increase society's ability to mitigate
economic losses and social disruption.
The largest interannual climate variability that has a degree of predictability
is caused by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon in
the Pacific Ocean. Temperature and precipitation patterns, changes in ocean
circulation, and changes in storm frequency caused by ENSO have global effects
on economies and planning. Based on the application of ENSO-related research,
NOAA has begun issuing monthly and seasonal probability outlooks for temperature
and rainfall for up to a year in advance. The challenge is to introduce
an operational program for the systematic production and application of
regionally-tailored climate forecasts. Planned actions represent an end-to-end
integrated approach to establishing such a system, including the multinational
infrastructure needed to generate and transfer useful climate information
The objectives of this goal are to:
- Implement climate prediction systems to deliver useful seasonal to
interannual climate forecasts for the U.S. and collaborate in a multinational
effort to generate and use similar forecasts.
- Enhance global observing and data systems required to provide data
for the initialization and validation of model predictions of seasonal
to interannual climate variations.
- Invest in process and modeling research that leads to improved predictability
of temperature and rainfall distributions.
- Assess the impacts of climate variability on human activity and economic
potential, and improve public education so that climate forecasts are understood
and acted upon.
We can now predict El Niño events to a level of skill and with
enough lead time that hundreds of millions of dollars a year could be saved
in the U.S. economy and abroad. For U.S. agriculture, improved ENSO forecasting
can result in annual benefits of more than $300 million, as farmers make
better cropping decisions. A global ENSO forecast would have much greater
benefits. ENSO forecasts will also improve fisheries management, as warm
ENSO events have been associated with reduced marine catches. Global forecasts
of climate variability will enhance agricultural, water resources, and other
economic and social response planning. These forecasts will be a major contribution
to U.S. commitments to the United Nations Conference on Environment and
FY 1997 Accomplishments
During FY 1997, NOAA's key accomplishments across the four objectives
supporting this strategic goal included:
- Successfully forecasting, with six months lead time, the 1997/1998
El Niño. NOAA worked in partnership with agencies having ENSO emergency
preparedness/response responsibilities, including the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, the Agency for International Development, and state
and local authorities.
- Positive skill in forecasting seasonal U.S. temperature for 15 out
of the last 17 monthly forecasts.
- Establishing the International Research Institute (IRI) and associated
Applied Research Centers to provide for capabilities for climate forecasting
and applications and for facilitating the transition from ENSO forecasting
to operations. IRI developed and implemented forecast assessments for selected
areas of the globe.
- Operating the NOAA R/V Ka'imimoana during its first full year,
for maintenance of the ENSO observing system.
- Deploying the first three field programs of the Pan American Climate
Studies (PACS) Implementation Plan.
- Conducting an international workshop and report on the scientific rationale
for the global tide gauge network.
- Improving data archives, including the newly-operational Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data archive system, the NOAA
Data Centers' Customer Order Management Processing System, and placing
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) data on-line.
- Awarding six contracts (by the Integrated Program Office (NOAA, DOD,
and NASA), with a potential value of $149.0 million, for development of
five critical NPOESS instruments (infrared imager, infrared sounder, microwave
imager/sounder, ozone sensor, and GPS).
Key FY 1999 Activities
Maintain the ENSO observing system on an operational basis, to provide
essential measurement for skillful forecasts of the ENSO phenomenon.
Enhance the NOAA Virtual Laboratory and continue quantitative studies
to evaluate, maintain, and improve the current array of in situ observing
Continue and enhance interagency integrated hydrological assessment studies,
including the existing study of the Columbia River Basin and a new study
in the Pacific Southwest.
Complete the 45-years re-analysis of meteorological data project of the
National Weather Service.
Enter Phase II of the NOAA Virtual Data System (NVDS) and provide extended
capability, as it links the various NOAA data centers, and commence application
Continue implementation of the Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System (GOALS),
in the third year of this fifteen-year project to improve seasonal to interannual
Continue participation in the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment
(GEWEX) Continental-Scale International Project (GCIP), focusing in this
period on hydrologic modeling and water resources in the eastern part of
the Mississippi Basin and the topographic effects of precipitation and hydrology
in the northwest region of the Basin.
Continue the implementation of the expanded observing system of 12 deep
ocean moorings in the tropical Atlantic to improve our understanding of
climate variability phenomenon such as ENSO and its potential affect on
Continue support of the International Research Institute (IRI) and expand
its national and regional applications programs.