Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM)

The Climate Observations and Monitoring program supports continuing, focused activities at universities, private research companies, and government laboratories to leverage NOAA's large volume of observational platforms (instrumental - in situ/remote, proxy records). Projects develop long time-series and higher level data products of essential climate variables (ocean, terrestrial, and atmosphere) needed to understand the climate system on time scales ranging from days to a century, and longer. COM-supported datasets and data products are made publicly available for multiple applications, including national and international climate assessment products.  


Approaches encouraged by COM that cut across the Areas of Focus include i) the exploration and analysis of climate data sets to address uncertainties that result from factors such as physical and/or instrumental discrepancies ii) the development of innovative solutions to address inadequate spatial or temporal resolution and coverage, or biases in existing data sets, iii) development of key indicators and diagnostics to monitor and detect changes in the earth system relative to climate variability.

Areas of Focus

Providing information for Assessments and Monitoring. Projects supported by COM produce a range of data sets that are essential to national and international climate assessments and continued monitoring activities. Specifically, these data sets support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Examples of data sets contributing to these efforts include atmospheric temperature, sea surface temperature, ocean heat content, precipitation, and snow and ice extent.

Identifying and Characterizing Climate Risks to Society.  Projects supported by COM provide long-term foundational climate datasets, which document historical and projected variability of changes in climate phenomena that impact society - datasets critical to identifying and better characterizing extreme events for improved prediction. Moreover, studies at continental and smaller scales advance regional climate forecast capabilities. Projects draw from a suite of observations that include the paleoclimate record, satellite data, and in situ observational platforms, and/or combine observational data and modeling techniques. Funded work has focused on events such as tropical and extratropical storms, heavy downpours, floods, droughts, and heat waves.

Advancing Climate Prediction Capacity through Improved Ocean-Atmosphere Understanding. COM encourages multiple-model approaches and model/observation intercomparisons that reduce uncertainty and bias and increase the validity of research results. Supported projects compile high quality climate time series through blending data from different observing systems and sensors that yield insights into climate phenomena on multiple scales. Examples of prior funded work includes the development and utilization of the last millennium reanalysis, the calculation of air sea fluxes, and the development of multiple global and regional ocean climate indices. 

Stewarding Data from Research to Operations. In partnership with the Applied Research Center at the National Center for Environmental Information, and the Climate Prediction Center at the National Weather Service, COM works with NOAA line offices to support activities to transfer research results to applications, such as precipitation data


Contact COM

Virginia Selz
Program Manager, Climate Observations and Monitoring Program
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

P: 301-734-1265

Snapshot of NOAA and International partner observations utilized in FY14, 17, and 18 Competitions


Climate Program Office
1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.