US Climate Monitoring Information Service Gets Go-Ahead in Washington

Published on
by
The Guardian/UK

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

by
Suzanne Goldenberg

Noaa Climate Services hopes to undo the climate scepticism caused by the IPCC's unfounded claims about Himalayan glaciers melting. Photograph: SUBEL BHANDARI/AFP/Getty Images

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."

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