relationships, and ensuring long-term consistency and continuity for a satellite climate data record generation program.
NOAA already is well established as a national leader in weather services, and NOAA also provides leadership for weather-based satellite data. NOAA’s climate mandate is a new function, and NOAA will need to embrace and be proactive in providing leadership for climate data in order to fulfill its mandate. A successful CDR generation program requires a long-term commitment and efforts above and beyond NOAA’s traditional role in weather forecasting. The task and the structures being proposed for NOAA in this report are considerably more complex, costly, and demanding than those currently in place. Unless there is the highest level of commitment within the agency to institute and fund these changes, there is considerable doubt in the science community that the CDR agenda as described in the report will succeed.
The committee’s review of some previous efforts reveals a number of key lessons learned relating to the involvement of user communities in all program aspects and adhering to several guidelines for creating, storing, and reprocessing fundamental climate data records (FCDRs) and thematic climate data records (TCDRs).1 Particular care is needed to store all data with thorough metadata and in easily accessible formats. NOAA should not feel obligated to be solely responsible for generating all the nation’s CDRs; many other agencies and communities have similar interests and expertise, and by enhancing and expanding community involvement in the program NOAA can help to ensure community acceptance and creation of the best possible CDRs.
Supporting Recommendation 1: NOAA should utilize an organizational structure where a high-level leadership council within NOAA receives advice from an advisory council that provides input to the process on behalf of the climate research community and other stakeholders. The advisory council should be supported by instrument and science teams responsible for overseeing the generation of climate data records.
See Figure 1-2 for the distinction between FCDRs and TCDRs.