About NOAA Climate.gov

Mission

NOAA Climate.gov provides science and information for a climate-smart nation. Americans’ health, security, and economic well-being are closely linked to climate and weather. People want and need information to help them make decisions on how to manage climate-related risks and opportunities they face.

NOAA Climate.gov is a source of timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate. Our goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nation’s economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions.

Each of the tabs in NOAA Climate.gov is designed to serve a different audience: 

  1. News & Features is a popular-style magazine for the science-interested public covering topics in climate science, adaptation, and mitigation. Visit the section…
  2. Maps & Data is a gateway to reusable climate maps and datasets that document various climate conditions. The section aims to serve officials and professionals who need climate data to inform their decisions or compile a climate adaptation report. Visit the section…
  3. Teaching Climate offers learning activities and curriculum materials, multi-media resources, and professional development opportunities for formal and informal educators who want to incorporate climate science into their work. Visit the section…

Staff

Executive Board: 
Thomas Karl (NESDIS/NCEI), Rick Rosen (OAR/CPO), Margaret Davidson (NOS/OCRM), Wayne Higgins (NWS/CPC), Eileen Shea (NESDIS/NCEI), Ko Barrett (OAR/CPO), and Louisa Koch (NOAA Office of Education).

Governance Team:
David Herring (OAR/CPO), program manager
James Boyd (NOS/CSC), project manager
Mike Halpert (NWS/CPC), project manager
Neal Lott (NESDIS/NCEI), project manager

IT System Engineering:
Jon Burroughs (NESDIS/NCEI), IT security
Kyle Levitan (ERT, Inc., contractor to NCEI), design and development lead
Richard Rivera (Collabralink Technologies, Inc., contractor to OAR/CPO), design and development
Michael Myers (NESDIS/NCEI), design and development
Ada Uzoma (Innovim, contractor to CPC), design and development

News & Features:
Hunter Allen (Collabralink Technologies, Inc., contractor to OAR/CPO), GIS and data visualization
Tom Di Liberto (Innovim, contractor to CPC) meteorologist
Ned Gardiner (Collabralink Technologies, Inc., contractor to OAR/CPO), video producer
Emily Greenhalgh(Collabralink/MAXIMUS Federal, contractor to OAR/CPO), writer
Carlyn Iverson (Collabralink Technologies, Inc., contractor to OAR/CPO), graphic artist
Mary Lindsey (Collabralink/MAXIMUS Federal, contractor to OAR/CPO), GIS and data visualization lead
Rebecca Lindsey (Collabralink/MAXIMUS Federal, contractor to OAR/CPO), managing editor
Roberto Molar (Collabralink Technologies, Inc., contractor to OAR/CPO), writer
Michon Scott (NSIDC)

News & Features contributors:
LuAnn Dahlman (Collabralink Technologies, Inc.; contractor to OAR/CPO)
Katy Human (OAR/ESRL)
Barb Deluisi (OAR/ESRL
Brady Phillips (Office of Communications)
Katy Mathews (NESDIS/NCEI)
Susan Osborne (NESDIC/NCEI)
Dan Pisut (NESDIC/EVL)
Kurt Mann (OAR/CPO)
Alicia Albee (freelancer)
Larry Belcher (freelancer)

Bloggers
Deke Arndt (NCEI)
Anthony Barnston (IRI/Columbia University)
Jessica Blunden (NCEI)
Emily Becker (Innovim, contractor to CPC)
Jake Crouch (NCEI)
Mike Halpert (CPC)
Michelle L'Heureux (CPC)

Maps & Data:
LuAnn Dahlman (Collabralink Technologies, Inc.; contractor to OAR/CPO), section lead

Maps & Data contributors:
Steve Ansari (NESDIS/NCEI)
Matt Austin (NOAA WOC)
Dave Eslinger (NOS/CSC)
Christina Lief (NESDIS/NCEI)
Jason Marshall (NOS/CSC)
Kevin O’Brien (OAR/PMEL)
Jebb Stewart (OAR/ESRL)

Teaching Climate:
Frank Niepold (OAR/CPO), team leader
LuAnn Dahlman (Collabralink Technologies, Inc; contractor to OAR/CPO), product development
Peg Steffen (NOS/CED), professional development & product development
Bruce Moravchik (NOS/CED), professional development & product development
John Baek (HQ/OEd), monitoring and evaluation

Teaching Climate contributors:
Tamara Shapiro Ledley (TERC)
Marian Grogan (TERC)
Elisabeth Sylvan (TERC)
Susan Buhr (CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder)
Anne Gold (CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder)
Susan Lynds, (CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder)
Cathy Manduca (SERC, Carleton College)
Sean Fox (SERC, Carleton College)

Background

The NOAA Climate.gov project began as a rapid prototyping collaboration among staff from four NOAA offices: the Climate Program Office, the National Centers for Environmental Information, the Coastal Services Center, and the Climate Prediction Center.  A prototype was first published in February 2010 so we could gather feedback to help us develop and evolve Climate.gov in user-driven ways. 

Our first round of evaluations was completed in 2011, and we incorporated the information into a redesign of the entire site.  In late 2012, we began transitioning to an operational status, which we completed in early 2013. Each section continues to refine its design, enhance its functionality, and expand its scope of contents in response to user feedback:

While we have ambitious plans for NOAA Climate.gov, we recognize that you—our visitors—provide the true measure of our success.  We hope you’re able to find and use what you came to the site for.  If so—or if not—we would like to hear about it.  You can write to the relevant section team leaders at the addresses below to ask questions, make recommendations, or to let them know what you think:

NOAA Climate.gov Portal Team Structure

Recognizing that not everyone in the public has the same interests and needs for climate data and information, we adopted different strategies for serving four different segments of the public:

  1. News & Features, for the climate-interested public, provides magazine-quality images, professional videos, and in-depth stories about how scientists are advancing understanding of Earth’s climate system, and how businesses, planners, and communities are reducing their vulnerability to climate variability and change.
  2. Maps & Data  for scientists, specialists, and other members of the public, serves maps and data for understanding climate-related changes in the past and present, and possible future changes.
  3. Teaching Climate, for formal and informal educators, provides a ready-to-use collection of educator- and scientist-reviewed teaching resources that they can bring straight into the classroom or other learning situation.

In taking this audience-driven approach, we assembled our data, information resources, and expertise from across our distributed climate science and services community (including NOAA and its partners) into a well-integrated online point-of-access for the four segments of the public described above.  Our needs for a balanced and scalable approach drove the design of our Climate.gov organization structure (illustrated below). 

Figure 1 – NOAA Climate.gov Organization Chart
Climate.gov Org Chart

Behind each tab section of the portal is a cross-agency virtual team that plans and executes the day-to-day development and editorial processes of their respective sections. These teams are coordinated by an overarching Governance Team, comprised of the Climate.gov Program Manager and three Project Managers.  The Governance Team establishes the priorities, scope, and objectives of Climate.gov; manages and executes the portal’s annual budget; convenes and coordinates the external review bodies (the Data Review Board, the Science Panel, and the External Evaluator); and reports quarterly to the Executive Board.

The Executive Board is comprised of Senior Executive Staff from within the Climate Program Office (OAR/CPO), the National Centers for Environmental Information (NESDIS/NCEI), the Coastal Services Center (NOS/OCRM), and the Climate Prediction Center (NWS/CPC).  This Board ensures Climate.gov is appropriately balanced in its overall presentation of NOAA’s and its partners’ climate science information and data products.  The Executive Board recommends additions and adjustments to the priorities and scope of Climate.gov, as needed.

NOAA Climate.gov Editorial Policies and Procedures

Everything NOAA Climate.gov publishes is written by, or reviewed and approved by, subject experts prior to publication.  Each of the Portal’s four sections targets different segments of the public for different objectives and so each section operates under different editorial policies and procedures, which are summarized below.

News & Features
This section publishes agency news releases, original web feature articles developed in house, and articles submitted from partner agencies and organizations. Modelled after an online science magazine, News & Features hopes to inform, inspire, educate, and entertain the science-interested public on topics in climate science, adaptation, and mitigation.

This section’s content is based on the best available science, and all content is produced in consultation with or reviewed by one or more scientific subject matter experts prior to publication. When necessary to ensure accuracy and completeness, or to resolve conflicting opinions among reviewers, authors, and/or editors, the News & Features managing editor solicits additional reviews from NOAA Climate.gov’s Science Panel members, or other subject matter experts whom they recommend.

For submissions from other agencies or organizations, the News & Features managing editor verifies that a similarly rigorous editorial procedure was applied. If the contributor’s review process is adequate, an article or other content does not undergo additional subject matter expert review prior to publication in News & Features. If the editorial procedures of the submitted article did not include a rigorous scientific review, the managing editor identifies an appropriate expert(s) to conduct a review prior to publication in News & Features. If necessary, contributors may be asked to revise their articles, have them re-reviewed by their sources, and to resubmit them. The News & Features editor does not make any revisions to submitted articles without the approval of contributors and, when necessary, their original subject matter expert reviewers.

For more information, please contact the News & Features editor. <climate-climatewatchmagazine@noaa.gov>

Maps & Data
The NOAA Climate.gov Maps & Data section contains more than 280 descriptions of datasets and services spanning a wide range of climate-related subjects.  This collection was assembled in an effort to add value by simplifying and enhancing the discoverability, accessibility, and utility of the data.  This section aims to serve researchers, scientists, resource managers, business personnel, and other citizens who want to find and use climate data. 

Only those data products and services that comply with Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and/or International Standards Organization (ISO-9001) metadata standards are accessible through Maps & Data.  FGDC metadata is a long-standing federal requirement that was adopted by NOAA Climate.gov to allow distributed datasets and products to be accessible and searchable from a central location.  We have built upon this standard to ensure that key fields in the metadata record for each available dataset is populated with required information.

Anyone interested in datasets that are not accessible via NOAA Climate.gov are encouraged to visit one or more of the following NOAA’s data centers and various centers of data:
• National Centers for Environmental Information - http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov
• National Ocean Data Center - http://www.nodc.noaa.gov
• National Data Buoy Center – http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov
• National Geophysical Data Center - http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov
• NOAA Climate Prediction Center - http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
• NOAA National Ocean Service - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
• NOAA Coastal Services Center - https://coast.noaa.gov
• NOAA National Coastal Data Development Center - http://www.ncddc.noaa.gov
• NOAA Regional Climate Centers - http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/regionalclimatecenters.html

For more information, please contact the Maps & Data section editors. <climate-dataandservices@noaa.gov>

Teaching Climate
The Teaching Climate section provides learning activities and curriculum materials, multimedia resources, and professional development opportunities for formal and informal educators who want to incorporate climate science into their work.  The Teaching Climate section is dovetailing its content review process and procedures with those of Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (or CLEAN, at cleanet.org) project.  CLEAN is 3-year National Science Data Library (NSDL) Pathway project, begun in 2010 and funded by the National Science Foundation, established to build a small digital collection of teaching resources that are aligned with the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness.  A summary of the review process is given below; a detailed description of the CLEAN Review Process is available here. 

In summary, the CLEAN review team consists of experienced middle school and high school teachers and college-level instructors as well as PhD-level scientists of relevant fields (climate and energy science, social sciences, etc.) and other climate literacy practitioners.  The CLEAN review process was informed by review guidelines and criteria from other collections, such as the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), the Science Education Research Center (SERC) Guidelines, the Merlot criteria, and the Climate Change Collection. The CLEAN review criteria were tested and refined in multiple test review rounds and through review comparisons among different reviewers.

At the core of the CLEAN review is a set of review questions to assess educational materials in three categories: (1) scientific accuracy, (2) pedagogic effectiveness, and (3) technical quality /ease of use.  Reviewers answer questions about each resource, give an overall rating for each of the three categories mentioned above, and note any strengths and concerns.  An overall qualitative recommendation (low, medium, or high priority) decides which path a resource takes through the review process.

All teaching resources that pass through the CLEAN review process are subsequently presented to a panel of four reviewers (educators and scientists) during a review camp.  This team of four specialists discusses each resource, and the reviewers’ notes from the previous review round, and makes the final decision about whether to include a resource in the CLEAN collection. All comments of the reviewers are compiled into annotations (notes to the user) on the science, the pedagogy, and the usability of a teaching activity.

Science Panel

The NOAA Climate.gov Science Panel is comprised of senior climate scientists & experts from across NOAA and academic institutions and climate science organizations outside of NOAA.  The Science Panel provides a good representation of a wide range of relevant climate science disciplines.  The Science Panel provides guidance, recommendations, and editorial feedback in the following ways:

  • Recommends additions and adjustments to the scope and functionality of NOAA Climate.gov;
  • Engages on an as-needed basis in response to climate-related current events for public interpretation;
  • Identifies significant forthcoming climate-related journal articles that are likely to be of interest to the public, thus helping to set editorial priorities;
  • Advises NOAA Climate.gov managers and editors regarding presentation of climate science information;
  • Reviews articles, images, presentations, videos, and captions prior to publication, as needed. 
  • Helps answer reader-submitted questions, or NOAA outreach personnel questions, as needed.

 

Science Panel Members:
Jessica Blunden (NOAA NCEI), Tim Boyer (NOAA NODC), Chris Burt (Weather Underground), Leo Donner (NOAA GFDL), David Fahey (NOAA ESRL), Katherine Hayhoe (Texas Tech U.), Wayne Higgins (NOAA CPC), Sarah Kapnick (NOAA GFDL), Rick Lumpkin (NOAA AOML), Jeff Masters (Weather Underground), John Nielson-Gammon (Texas State Climatologist), James Partain (Alaska Regional Climate Services), Jared Rennie (Research Meteorologist, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites - North Carolina), Richard Rood (U. of Michigan), LaDon Swann (Auburn U.), Scott Weaver (NOAA CPC), and Kandis Wyatt (NOAA NESDIS).

 

Data Panel

The NOAA Climate.gov Data Panel comprises senior data managers at major Earth system science and climate science data archive centers, or their delegates, plus some at-large members from academia and other sectors.  The Data Panel provides guidance, recommendations and feedback in the following ways:

  • Helping to establish a transparent climate data review process for NOAA Climate.gov, to include refinement of metadata and data quality criteria.
  • Recommends additions and adjustments for improving data discoverability, accessibility, interoperability, interpretation, and application.
  • Reviews & discusses data sets proposed for inclusion in the Portal, and to recommend those which should be highlighted as good climatological baseline datasets.
  • Helps resolve questions pertaining to which are the “best available” data products of a given parameter for default display in the Portal’s more prominent interfaces section, such as the Dashboard.

 

Data Panel Members:
Emily Fort (USGS), Gustavo Goni (NOAA AOML), Ann Keane (NOAA ESRL), Ed Kearns (NOAA NCEI), James Partain (Alaska Regional Climate Services), Mark Parsons (NSIDC), and Wei Shi (NOAA NCEP).