NOAA 2004-R502
Contact: Jana Goldman
NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a three-year grant of $535,487 for a new program to develop climate services for the Pacific islands. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The grant was awarded through NOAA’s Office of Global Programs, part of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, to the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, an educational and research organization, for a project entitled “Managing Climate Risks in the Pacific: A Pacific Islands Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (Pacific RISA) Program.”

“Understanding and effectively responding to changes in climate are critical elements of planning and economic development in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands,” said retired navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Their economies are dependent on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, tourism and fisheries, and the region is home to some of the world’s most valuable marine resources such as coral reefs.”

The program of research and dialogue is designed to enable scientists, governments, businesses and community leaders in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific to reduce their vulnerability to climate-related extreme events such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes.

“The East-West Center looks forward to leading this important program,” said Dr. Charles E. Morrison, president of the East-West Center. “It will draw upon expertise of the center on climate variability, Pacific island development and disaster resistance, as well as upon the wide-ranging networks the Center has cultivated in the islands over the years.”

The project represents a significant step towards the creation of a new program of climate information services designed to meet the needs of decision makers and policy officials in the American Flag Pacific Islands (Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

Coastal communities and businesses in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific are already addressing significant impacts associated with year-to-year climate variability associated with El Niño and are consistently identified as among the most vulnerable to projected long-term changes in climate associated with the release of greenhouse gases.

The RISA program will be a public-private partnership between NOAA and the extramural research community to help local resource managers, government officials and businesses develop innovative ways to manage climate risks by combining the expertise and capabilities of scientists from various disciplines, NOAA operational services and other mission agencies and local experts in government, universities and the private sector.

The East-West Center will work with NOAA, the University of Hawaii, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and other partners throughout the region to better understand the region’s vulnerability to climate change, enhance regional efforts to develop and apply climate forecasts, improve computer models and create new data sets for the region; and develop, demonstrate and apply new model-based decision support tools to assist scientists and policy makers.

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.

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