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Research & Development Activities

The NWS engages in applied climate prediction research, and maintains the operational climate forecasting modeling activity. Researchers at NWS collaborate on a continuing basis with the operational forecasters and with basic climate prediction researchers at the NOAA laboratories and academia. The Climate Test Bed was established to formalize and promote the process of transferring research into operations.

Climate Modeling – Climate Forecasting System

Example of CFS The NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) was developed at the Environmental Modeling Center at NCEP. It is a fully coupled model representing the interaction between the Earth's oceans, land and atmosphere. A description of the CFS appeared in the Journal of Climate in 2006. For more details of the system please see the reference below. The CFS became operational at NCEP in August 2004. There are four members per day from initial conditions for the atmosphere and ocean, which are 1 day old. The atmospheric initial conditions are obtained from NCEP Reanalysis-2 and the ocean initial condition is obtained from NCEP GODAS (Global Ocean Data Assimilation). The integrations are complete for the first partial month + 9 full months into the future. The raw (i.e. not corrected for bias) monthly mean data is available at the official NWS TOC data server every day. The raw daily CFS output forecast data is now available on a local NCEP ftp server. These data will remain at these sites for 7 days.

Reference: S. Saha, S. Nadiga, C. Thiaw, J. Wang, W. Wang, Q. Zhang, H. M. van den Dool, H.-L. Pan, S. Moorthi, D. Behringer, D. Stokes, M. Peña, S. Lord, G. White, W. Ebisuzaki, P. Peng, P. Xie, 2006 : The NCEP Climate Forecast System. Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, No. 15, pages 3483-3517.

Climate Test Bed Logo Climate Test Bed

The NOAA Climate Test Bed (CTB) accelerates the transfer of research and development into NOAA operational climate forecasts, products, and applications. The CTB serves as a conduit between the operational and research communities through a number of activities, including support for projects funded through the Climate Program Office that partner the external research community with NCEP scientists. The CTB is administered by the Climate Prediction Center.

The CTB sponsors an exceptional Seminar Series in the Washington DC area, taking advantage of the close proximity of several partner organizations.

The seminars provide scientists the opportunity to share their work with the broader community. The seminars are convened frequently (at least monthly) and the location rotates among the CPC at Camp Springs, COLA at Calverton, MD, and the ESSIC at the University of Maryland. CTB has also extended invitations to presenters from GFDL. Jiayu Zhou of the NWS Office of Science and Technology has produced a synthesis of issues from the Seminar Series.

The CTB is an example of a highly-efficient partnership collaborating in the important process of transferring research into operations.

IPCC Logo Long-term Climate Change

Long term climate assessment (i.e. global climate change) is a research issue that is addressed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. The Panel publishes their results biannually.

The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they need to deal objectively with policy relevant scientific, technical and socio economic factors. They should be of high scientific and technical standards, and aim to reflect a range of views, expertise and wide geographical coverage.

The IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its constituency is made of:
  • The governments: the IPCC is open to all member countries of WMO and UNEP. Governments participate in plenary Sessions of the IPCC where main decisions about the IPCC workprogramme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. They also participate in the review of IPCC Reports.
  • The scientists: hundreds of scientists all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC as authors, contributors and reviewers.
  • The people: as United Nations body, the IPCC work aims at the promotion of the United Nations human development goals
Why the IPCC was created?

Climate change is a very complex issue: policymakers need an objective source of information about the causes of climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences and the adaptation and mitigation options to respond to it. This is why WMO and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.

The IPCC is a scientific body: the information it provides with its reports is based on scientific evidence and reflects existing viewpoints within the scientific community. The comprehensiveness of the scientific content is achieved through contributions from experts in all regions of the world and all relevant disciplines including, where appropriately documented, industry literature and traditional practices, and a two stage review process by experts and governments.

Because of its intergovernmental nature, the IPCC is able to provide scientific technical and socio-economic information in a policy-relevant but policy neutral way to decision makers. When governments accept the IPCC reports and approve their Summary for Policymakers, they acknowledge the legitimacy of their scientific content.

The IPCC provides its reports at regular intervals and they immediately become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, experts and students. The findings of the first IPCC Assessment Report of 1990 played a decisive role in leading to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was opened for signature in the Rio de Janeiro Summit in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. It provides the overall policy framework for addressing the climate change issue. The IPCC Second Assessment Report of 1995 provided key input for the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Third Assessment Report of 2001 as well as Special and Methodology Reports provided further information relevant for the development of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. The IPCC continues to be a major source of information for the negotiations under the UNFCCC.

"Assessing the past, predicting the future and delivering a local perspective on global climate today."

Our Vision
An engaged, responsive NWS that delivers state-of-the-art, timely, and reliable climate information and decision support services to help the Nation address environmental impacts.
Our Mission
To ensure NWS has the capacity to develop and deliver reliable climate services integrated with weather and water information through user engagement, policy development, data stewardship, incorporation of research into operations, training, education, and outreach in collaboration with partners.

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Page Last Modified October 4, 2016
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