Roger S. Pulwarty

Physical Sciences Division and Earth Systems Research Lab.
325 Broadway ESRL
Boulder, CO
USA 80305


Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Science Advisor for Climate, and the Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) at the NOAA Office of Oceans and Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Pulwarty's publications focus on climate and risk management in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout his career he has helped develop and lead widely-recognized programs dealing with climate science, adaptation, and services, including the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, NIDIS and the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change project in the Caribbean. Dr. Pulwarty is a lead author of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Reports on Water Resources and on Extremes, and a convening lead author of the IPCC Working Group II Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. He chairs the WMO Commission on Climatology Climate Services Information System. Dr. Pulwarty is a co-recipient of NOAA awards, Department of Commerce Gold and Silver Medals for integrating scientific research into decision-making, and the Gold Medal for Excellence in Applied Science and Technology from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.


Sustained Observations: Keys to Resilience

As has been long noted, a comprehensive, coordinated observing system is the backbone of any Earth information system. Demands are increasingly placed on earth observation and prediction systems, and attendant information services, to address the needs of economically and environmentally vulnerable sectors and to secure investments in areas such as water, energy, health, transportation, agriculture, biodiversity, and coasts. These demands have focused on structural and management mechanisms, including, integrated resource management, infrastructure design, technological optimization, financial risk management, and behavioral and institutional change. Weather and climate data inputs range from site design statistics (extremes and return periods) to early warnings of dynamic, emergent thresholds and system transitions. Ideally, monitoring should be action-oriented to support risk assessment, preparedness and adaptation. Drawing on the successes of GEO, GCOS, the Global Framework for Climate Services, and national and citizen-based monitoring efforts we outline the benefits of effective integrated (in situ, satellite, proxy) monitoring, including the role of consistent records of key variables in anticipating and responding to complex hazards, such as drought. We show that robust, sustained systems of integrated observations are key for understanding and addressing emergent needs in national security, across complex interactive thresholds such as at the water-energy-food security nexus, and for linking disaster risk reduction and adaptation practice in a changing environment.