NOAA 03-127
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NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) announced the signing of a collaborative agreement to compare and jointly analyze climate model results related to climatic variability and change. This new agreement will focus on comparing the results of different computer model simulations of the Earth's climate system, as was envisioned in the Bush Administration's Climate Change Science Program. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Climate change research and analysis are particularly dependent on modeling studies, essential tools for synthesizing observations, theory and experimental results to investigate how the climate system works and how it is affected by human activities. Model experiments provide an effective means for predicting the near-term oscillations in climate (such as the onset of El Niño or La Niña conditions) and projecting the longer-term response of the climate to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.

The new agreement defines a framework for climate modeling cooperation between NCAR and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). The goal is to work together to accelerate the development of U.S. high-end climate modeling capabilities and to develop a joint program to provide decision makers timely, best state-of-the-art, and well documented model results, model-based analyses and assessments of climate variability and change.

“Reliable modeling is a cornerstone of our research initiatives,” said Dr. James Mahoney, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and director of the Climate Change Science Program. “Without the most thorough and comprehensive sets of data, the climate research community would only rely on observations to know what has happened, and not be able to project what could happen. This agreement will help blend results from two of the most powerful global climate modeling systems in operation, and magnify the potential scientific yield from each.”

These models are critical for natural resource and community management and planning, scientific assessment of climate change, and evaluation of the potential effects of policy choices. The president's Climate Change Research Initiative and the Climate Change Science Plan identified the continued development and refinement of climate models to provide more accurate projections of future climate change as a high priority research area.

“NCAR and NOAA are constantly working to improve the understanding of our environment and to strengthen regional and global environmental prediction initiatives,” said Ants Leetmaa, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s GFDL in Princeton, N.J. “This general collaborative agreement will help advance climate model development critical to those efforts.”

“Working together will strengthen U.S. modeling efforts and ensure that our nation has world-class predictive tools to support climate change analysis and decision-making,” said Tim Killeen, NCAR director.

NCAR and NOAA's GFDL are two of the leading climate modeling centers in the United States. Each has significant computational resources, has developed and continues to develop advanced fully coupled climate models, and has conducted numerous simulation experiments that have been documented in the peer-reviewed literature and contributed to national and international climate change assessment efforts. As such, both institutions have significant responsibilities for the definition and implementation of U.S. climate modeling efforts.

The goal of GFDL research is to understand and predict the earth's climate and
weather, including the impact of human activities. GFDL conducts leading edge research, including weather and hurricane forecasts, El Niño prediction, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.

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.

NCAR is a federally funded research and development center located in Boulder, Colo. that conducts research on climate, weather, and Sun-Earth interactions and provides computing, modeling, and observational facilities for use by the academic community. The Community Climate System Model hosted by NCAR combines the efforts of several hundred university researchers and NCAR scientists. NCAR is administered by the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research, a consortium of 66 leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada, and receives most of its funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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