J3.1 Advancing NOAA NWS Arctic Program Development

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 8:30 AM
605 (Washington State Convention Center )
Marina Timofeyeva, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and F. Horsfall, J. C. Meyers, M. Churma, and R. Thoman

Environmental changes in the Arctic require changes in the way the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivers hydrological and meteorological information to prepare the region’s  societies and indigenous population for emerging challenges.  These challenges include changing weather patterns, changes in the timing and extent of sea ice, accelerated soil erosion due to permafrost decline, increasing coastal vulnerably, and changes in the traditional food supply.  The decline in Arctic sea ice is opening new opportunities for exploitation of natural resources, commerce, tourism, and military interest.  These societal challenges and economic opportunities call for a NOAA integrated approach for delivery of environmental information including climate, water, and weather data, forecasts, and warnings. 

Presently the NOAA Arctic Task Force provides leadership in programmatic coordination across NOAA line offices.  National Weather Service (NWS) Alaska Region and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) provide the foundational operational hydro-meteorological products and services in the Arctic.  Starting in 2016, NOAA's NWS will work toward improving its role in programmatic coordination and development through assembling an NWS Arctic Task Team.  The team will foster ties in the Arctic between the 11 NWS national service programs in climate, water, and weather information, as well as between Arctic programs in NWS and other NOAA line offices and external partners.

One of the team outcomes is improving decision support tools for the Arctic.  The Local Climate Analysis Tool (LCAT) currently has more than 1100 registered users, including NOAA staff and technical partners.  The tool has been available online since 2013 (http://nws.weather.gov/lcat/ ).  The tool links trusted, recommended NOAA data and analytical capabilities to assess impacts of climate variability and climate change at local levels.  A new capability currently being developed will enable analysis of sea ice changes in different parts of the Arctic, and allow users to link those change to phases of climate variability such as El Nino Southern Oscillation Arctic Oscillation, etc.

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