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Today's Top News
US Climate Monitoring Information Service Gets Go-Ahead in Washington
Noaa Climate Services 'one-stop shop' on data to shore up public faith after IPCC's faulty glacier claims and academic email scandal
The Obama administration delivered a vote of confidence in climate science today by founding a service to study and report on global warming.
It will put scientists and data from the national weather service and various departments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) under one roof in Washington DC.
Administration officials described Noaa Climate Services, which will be accessible to the public at www.climate.gov, as "one-stop shopping" for business, the public and officials seeking information on climate change.
They added it could help shore up the public's faith in climate science after errors in what was supposed to be the scientific gold standard, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reports, and the exposure of hundreds of emails showing efforts to evade requests for data and apparent attempts to cover up flawed climate information.
"We are the world's largest library of data on climate change," said Gary Locke, the commerce secretary who has overall charge of Noaa. "Creating this office will help us provide leadership on more deliberate research on climate monitoring and assessment and doing it in a much more co-ordinated fashion so everyone will be able to see exactly what Noaa does and the climate service does." The proposed reorganisation will not require additional funding but it will still need to be authorised by Congress.
Jane Lubchenco, who as head of Noaa is one of the administration's most prominent scientists, noted that the new US climate site will feature constantly updated data on temperature, carbon dioxide concentration and sea level, which will be readily available to scientists and the public.
"Noaa is committed to openness to making available all the data it collects freely and accessibly," she said. "The new climate portal should make it even easier for the public to access and be able to examine for themselves the information that goes into various assessments."
She said that Noaa had become an increasingly valued resource for business and planners. The service would seek to build on that, offering information for schools, businesses and town planners. "Having trusted sources as providers of that information is critically important," she said.
She defended the overall credibility of the IPCC despite the error on Himalayan glaciers when it admitted that earlier claims the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 was unfounded. "It is not a perfect process and I think recent events have highlighted a couple of areas where it can be improved," she said.
"That said, I think the vast majority of conclusions in the IPCC are credible and have been through a very rigorous process and are absolutely state of the science."