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Climate Variability and Change Virtual Course
Next offering: July 29 - August 2, 2013, COMET

The five-day Climate Variability and Change virtual course is a training component of the Climate Services Professional Development Series. The course is designed for NOAA personnel who need to understand and explain climate concepts as part of their job*. The course goal is raising NOAA staff level of understanding of various climate variability and change topics with greater emphasis on developing communication skills in challenging climate topics. The course will provide extensive background training in the following areas:
(1) The difference between climate and weather
(2) Statistical techniques used in climate studies, including analyses of local climatology
(3) Dynamics, physical mechanisms, and impacts of climate variability phenomena including El Nino / La Nina, Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), tropical forcing, and teleconnections
(4) The science behind and limitations of Climate Prediction Center (CPC) climate prediction products
(5) The physical and feedback mechanisms involved in global climate change as well as global climate change impacts on quality of human life, biological habitats, and natural resource availability.

The objective of this training is to equip the NOAA climate services delivery staff with additional scientific knowledge needed for effective local climate services using the latest advanced in physical and social sciences.. This course is complimentary to other NWS Climate Services training courses The CVCVC builds on concepts that are covered in other courses. Participants will be expected to understand these concepts or complete prerequisite modules so the course can move forward at an appropriate pace. . The virtual course consists of series of webinars (real-time online presentations) with additional group and individual activities such as labs, discussions, breakout sessions, etc. Instructors broadcast their presentations and assignments from the COMET virtual classroom via the Internet to participants located off-site. For details please refer to the course agenda and logistics.

* NOAA climate services delivery staff may include:

  • NWS staff from Climate Prediction Center or local offices such as Climate Services Focal Points, Science Operation Officers, Warning Coordination Meteorologists, Service Coordination Hydrologists, etc.
  • NCDC climate services staff
  • NOS customer services staff
  • NOAA Fisheries customer services staff
  • NOAA climate extension agents from Sea Grant, Land Grant, and Marine Sanctuaries

Expected specific outcomes

Each trainee, upon completion of the training, should be able to:
·  Understand and explain the difference between climate and weather
·  Define, understand, and explain meaning of local climatology statistics, and interpret local climatology information to office staff and customers
·  Understand principles of statistical techniques used in climate studies and outlooks
·  Understand and explain primary physical mechanisms of the following climate variability phenomena: oscillations (including El Nino /La Nina, MJO, North Atlantic Oscillation) and teleconnection indices
·  Understand and explain the impacts on U.S. climate of such features as drought, hurricanes, flood, and monsoons
·  Understand and explain basics and the mechanisms of interaction of climate system components such as ocean circulations (e.g. thermo-haline and gyre circulations), land surface hydrology, and stratospheric variability.
·  Understand and explain terminology routinely used in discussions provides by NOAA national climate centers such as NWS Climate Prediction Center (CPC), NWSDIS National Climatic Data center, OAR Earth System Research Laboratory.
·  Explain physical meaning of CPC products and discussions
·  Explain the importance of several climate variability phenomena and processes in climate predictions
·  Identify observed global climate change signals (e.g. CO2, temperature trends, Arctic sea ice extent, etc.), explain certain physical mechanisms for global climate change, and articulate the uncertainties associated with global climate change forecasts and outcomes (e.g. observation errors and predicted future states of the atmosphere/ocean system)

  • Course Organizing Team:

    NOAA team:
    LuAnn Dahlman
    Debra Fisher
    Hernan Garcia
    David Herring
    Frank Niepold
    Brady Philips
    Marina Timofeyeva

    COMET team:
    Wendy Abshire
    Lon Goldstein



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