89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009
NOAA NWS Training Program in Climate Services
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Marina M. Timofeyeva, UCAR, Boulder, CO and NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Weather Service (NWS) initiated a training program in climate services in 2001 to increase the knowledge base of its field staff in six areas: (1) the infrastructure of climate services provided by NOAA and NOAA's partners; (2) climate variability; (3) the NWS's Climate Prediction Center's (CPC's) climate products; (4) NWS local climate products; (5) tools for use in climate services outreach; and, (6) climate observations. Initially the training program targeted NWS Science and Operations Officers in the local Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). In 2003 the managers of WFOs and River Forecast Centers identified Climate Services Focal Points (CSFPs), who then became the primary target audience for a revised climate services training program.

The new training program offers two residence training courses. One of these courses, the Operational Climate Services course, provides essential, operationally-based knowledge on best practices in climate services, available tools, and outreach support. The other course, Climate Change and Variability, focuses on the most recent climate variability and change information including physical mechanisms, predictability, and impacts. In addition NWS developed 25 online training modules. These distance learning modules (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/csd/pds/DistanceLearning.shtml) include topics on drought, El Niņo Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), climate change, etc. The online modules also cover NOAA NWS climate observations and forecast products. All distance learning materials are available at no cost for anyone with Internet access.

Due to the continuing interest in global and regional climate variability and change as well as their local impacts on socio-economic development, the NOAA NWS training program is expanding in three dimensions: (a) the target audience, including NOAA staff, partners, and users, (b) the scope, including training, education, and outreach, and (c) the delivery format. Achievement of this objective will be possible only through the programmatic integration of NOAA's and NOAA's partners' education and training initiatives.

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