NOAA Climate Users Engagement Using Training and Education Activities

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 4:45 PM
B212 (GWCC)
Marina Timofeyeva, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and J. Verdin, J. Jones, and R. S. Pulwarty

NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Services Training Program was initiated in 2001. The training original target audience was NOAA NWS regional and local climate services workforce. As a result of eight-year-long development of the training program, NWS offers two training courses and about 25 online distance learning modules covering various climate topics: climate data and observations, climate variability and change, NWS national and local climate products, their tools, skill, and interpretation. Leveraging climate information and expertise available at all NOAA line offices and partners allows delivery of the most relevant, advanced knowledge and is a very critical aspect of the training program.

In 2009 the training program launched a pilot project that expanded the training opportunities for specific user groups. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) requested a training course with emphasis on Climate, Drought and Remote Sensing for their water resources managers, hydrologists, and engineering staff. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) co-sponsored the project. Developing the course NOAA, NIDIS, and DWR staff worked together testing different approaches in order to identify the most appropriate balance between gaps in the target audience climate knowledge and technical level needed for the information communication and delivery. The two-day course was offered in June 2009 for 35 trainees with classroom recording for further dissemination of the training materials in form of online audio-visual presentations (webcasts).

The training event brought together NOAA staff and partners from U.S. Geological Survey, the Western Regional Climate Center, NASA, academia, and DWR staff and provided a valuable opportunity for curriculum development and expertise exchange. The course final discussion engaged participants in process of identifying additional climate products and services needed for regional and sector specific climate-sensitive decisions. Course evaluation survey collected 20 responses and indicated a high level of satisfaction. Valuable written comments offered an input for further improvement of the training services. The course offers a prototype for the conduct of training activities developed in partnership with climate information providers and the intended user group(s), in this case the California DWR.