Predict & Assess Decadal to Centennial
Total Request $86,922,000
Strategic Plan Chart | Strategic Plan Table
Activity-Based Chart | Activity-Based
NOAA and its research partners will provide science-based information
for decisions regarding decadal-to-centennial changes in the global environment,
specifically for: climate change and greenhouse warming, ozone layer depletion,
and air quality improvement.
Our planet is a place of natural and human-induced change. Human activities
are now recognized as impacting global climate (greenhouse warming), thinning
of the stratospheric ozone layer, and atmospheric pollution. While these
changes increasingly promise to impact our societal systems and natural
environments, they challenge the world community to improve its prediction
and assessment capabilities. Explanatory environmental models must be strengthened
through better understanding of the atmospheric and oceanic processes so
that we may meet the challenges of understanding and foreseeing climate
variability and long-term change in approaching decades. Sound economic
and social decisions depend upon it.
- The objectives of this goal are to:
Characterize the agents and processes that force decadal to centennial
- Examine the role of the ocean as a reservoir of both heat and carbon
dioxide to address a major source of uncertainty in climate models.
- Ensure a long term climate record by enhancing domestic and international
weather networks, observing procedures, and information management systems.
Document present and past changes and variations in the climate system,
including extreme events and rapid climate changes, exploiting national
and international observing networks, satellites, and paleoclimatic data.
- Guide the rehabilitation of the ozone layer by providing the scientific
basis for policy choices associated with ozone-depleting compounds and
- Provide the scientific basis for better air quality by improving the
understanding of high surface ozone episodes in rural areas and by strengthening
the monitoring network to detect air quality and improving the characterization
of airborne fine particles.
- Develop models for the prediction of long-term climate change (including
extreme events and rapid climate changes), carry out scientific assessments,
and provide human impacts information.
Nations have committed to eliminating production of compounds that deplete
the ozone layer (Montreal Protocol). Research is not only helping define
the "ozone-friendly" replacement compounds, but also to document
that the recovery of the ozone layer is as expected. Anticipatory research
on global climate change supports sustainable development by providing timely
information to society to make sound decisions to mitigate against or adapt
to changes that can be expected to occur. The U.S. Clean Air Act Amendments
of 1990 require pollutant emission reductions to improve the Nation's air
quality. New research is pointing to more effective ways to meet those goals,
thereby avoiding costly over-regulation. Providing research results that
address key scientific uncertainties, presenting the improvements in understanding
in up-to-date assessments, and summarizing this knowledge in policy-relevant
terms to government and industrial leaders are the cornerstones of environmental
FY 1997 Accomplishments
During FY 1997, NOAA's key accomplishments across the objectives supporting
this strategic goal included:
NOAA continued to make progress in understanding and documenting decadal
to centennial climate changes. NOAA is providing major scientific input
and leadership to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), and North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric
Ozone (NARSTO). In FY 1997, NOAA:
Narrowed the uncertainties in the global carbon dioxide budget, improved
understanding of the trends and forcing of greenhouse gases, and reduced
the uncertainty in climate forcing by ozone changes.
Prepared for the U.S. participation in the Third Conference of the Parties
to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan
(December 1997) by providing the highest quality and objective scientific
information available to the U.S. policy-makers.
Improved the representation of the oceans in coupled climate prediction
models and improved understanding of the role of the oceans in the carbon
Completed the assessment of the findings of the 1995 Nashville field
campaign of the Southern Oxidant Study emphasizing the role of rural/urban
transport/chemistry on air quality. This assessment revealed that air quality
is determined by region-wide factors, not exclusively local factors. This
finding was contrary to widely held assumptions.
Provided climate information and assessments in a form responsive to the
express needs of public, private and commercial decision makers. For example,
NOAA contributed substantially to the 1998 "Regional Impacts of Climate
Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability" special report produced by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Improved the explanatory capability of climate models and their correlation
with historical observations regarding global surface temperatures, carbon
dioxide concentrations, and atmospheric sulfate aerosols.
Produced the first reliable record of decadal changes in North American
water vapor, which is a key component of the radiation balance in the climate
Continued to document the effectiveness of international agreements concerning
the ozone (stratospheric) layer and advanced assessments for the rehabilitation
of the ozone layer.
Key FY 1999 Activities
Document and improve our understanding of the change in the frequency
and intensity of extreme precipitation events and the increase of Twentieth
Century precipitation in North America.
Continue to advance understanding of the role of anthropogenic emissions
in altering the radiation balance of the earth, with a focus on the greenhouse
gases considered in the Kyoto Protocol.
Report on the 1997 field campaign investigating Arctic ozone losses to
characterize the vulnerability of this region during the coming decade of
maximum ozone depletion.
Complete the initial state-of-science assessment of rural ozone chemistry
under the Health of the Atmosphere research project to guide the next revisions
of the State Implementation Plans required under the Clean Air Act.
Assess effectiveness of the Clean Air Act in lowering acidic deposition
levels in the United States based on observed trends.
Develop better models for climate prediction with a focus on an improved
representation of the cooling influence of aerosol particles. This will
help lay the groundwork for an improved understanding of the radiation science
in climate models that will provide insight to the climate predictions to
be contained in the year 2000 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Update and improve global databases of decadal to millennial length time
series of climatic change to provide a better baseline against which human-caused
changes can be compared.
Document the relationship between the El Niño Southern Oscillation
phenomenon and decadal time-scale climate trends and deploy chemical and
biological sensors on the equatorial Pacific mooring buoy system.
Document and improve our understanding of past changes in the hydrological
cycle as related to ongoing and projected increases in global temperatures.
Provide an estimate of the natural surface-level ozone abundances in
North America, which will help establish the effectiveness or ineffectiveness
of proposed lower ozone standards.