NOAA 2003-037
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2003
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A researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has developed a new online tool to help explain how small-scale climate dynamics impact global climate change. Mark McCaffrey, with NOAA’s Paleoclimatology Program based in Boulder, Colo., will unveil the Climate TimeLine Web site at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Philadelphia on March 27. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

The Climate TimeLine site captures the history of climate exploration and its impact on human development. The site also examines meteorological and climatic processes and specific climate events of the past at other time scales.

McCaffrey and his colleagues use the Earth’s daily cycle to examine weather events of one year to study the key climatic forces behind the variability of weather and climate, and the roles human impact can play.

“Forecasting the weather and predicting climate variability will always be tricky because of how complex climate forces are,” McCaffrey said. “We hope this Web site will at least provide the type of background and resources to help teachers, students and general audiences better understand this science.”

The Web site, designed as a one-stop source for climatic characterizations and resources, offers a range of features, including:

  • a tutorial with a demonstration of how to use the web site to understand climate variability;
  • a glossary of weather, climate, time-scale and evolutionary terms;
  • an overview of variations in the climate system, ranging from billion year to one-hour time scales;
  • a data access interface, providing links to many climate and environmental databases;
  • and a quiz for users to test their knowledge.

Science researchers and educators at NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville, N.C., NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado developed the Climate TimeLine.

NOAA Satellites and Information is the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. It operates the nation’s environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation and forecasting, climate monitoring and other environmental applications. Some of the applications include sea-surface temperature, fire detection and ozone monitoring.

NOAA Satellites and Information also operates three data centers, which house global databases in climatology, oceanography solid Earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.


Climate TimeLine: