Climate Program Office

The Climate Program Office manages the competitive research program in which NOAA funds high-priority climate science to advance understanding of Earth's climate system and its atmospheric, oceanic, land, and snow and ice components. This science contributes to knowledge about how climate variability and change affect our health, economy, and well-being. The Office supports research that is conducted in regions across the United States, at national and international scales, and globally. Read about CPO funding opportunities.

The Office also provides strategic guidance for the agency's climate science and services programs and supports NOAA's contributions to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. It also plays an active role in numerous international climate activities, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Framework for Climate Services initiative launched by the 2009 Third World Climate Conference.

Grant activities are organized within four Programs:


Climate Observation

The Climate Observation Division designs, deploys, and maintains an integrated global in situ network of oceanic and atmospheric observing instruments to produce continuous records and analyses of a range of ocean and atmosphere parameters. Climate Observation coordinates observing efforts across NOAA, collaborates with federal agencies, and has strong international partnerships. The monitoring portion of the Program ensures that the data sets researchers need to understand the climate system are available for analysis. The Program documents and studies variations in climate on time scales ranging from less than one year to periods of 100 years and longer. The monitoring effort also provides data and information management support for national and international climate assessment projects. Analysis products support other Climate Program Office efforts in modeling of the climate system and development of targeted services to better inform society about climate impacts and response options.


Climate Observations comprises the following major activities:

  1. Build and sustain a global climate observing system according to climate monitoring principles
  2. Develop and maintain long time-series indicators of climate variability and change
  3. Develop and maintain standard data sets for initialization and evaluation of a range of forecasts models, validation of other earth-sensing observing systems, assessments of climate change, and informed risk management
  4. Develop informational products, diagnostics, and assessments of observed climate variability and change on global to regional scales  


Earth System Science 

The Earth System Science (ESS) Program aims to provide process-level understanding of the climate system through observation, modeling, research analysis and field studies to support the development of improved climate models and predictions in support of NOAA's mission. Major activities include:


  1. Elucidating the physical climate mechanisms involving land-atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions responsible for intraseasonal to multi-centennial climate variability, including abrupt climate change
  2. Identifying the location, magnitude, dynamics, and variability of global carbon sources and sinks; understanding how ecosystems are impacted by changes in carbon cycling and associated changes in climate
  3. Improving understanding of the role of aerosols and chemically-active greenhouse gases in the global climate system

ESS-sponsored research is carried out at NOAA and other federal laboratories, NOAA Cooperative Institutes, and academic institutions and is coordinated with major national and international scientific bodies including the World Climate Research Programme, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.


Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections 

The mission of the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program is to enhance the Nation's capability to predict variability and changes in Earth's climate system. The MAPP Program focuses on the coupling, integration, and application of Earth system models and analyses across NOAA, among partner agencies, and with the external research community. Primary objectives include 1) improving Earth system models, 2) supporting an integrated Earth System analysis capability, 3) improving methodologies for global and regional-scale analysis, predictions, and projections, and 4) developing integrated assessment and prediction capabilities relevant to decision makers based on climate analyses, predictions, and projections.


The MAPP Program includes targeted infrastructure support, competitive grants programs, and mechanisms to support transferring research findings into NOAA's operations.


Climate and Societal Interactions 

The Climate and Societal Interactions (CSI) Program provides leadership and support for research, assessments and climate services development activities designed to bring sound, interdisciplinary science to bear on climate-sensitive resource management and adaptation challenges in key sectors and regions. The overarching goals of the CSI Program are the following:


  1. Identification of, and support for innovative and broadly applicable approaches to support decision-making, especially for risk characterization (initially with regard to water and coastal resources);
  2. Establishment of a broad network of regionally scoped, long-term efforts to support risk management and decision support at scales of relevance to local to regional to decision making; and
  3. Promotion of the transfer of knowledge, tools, and products across climate service development efforts (within NOAA, across the federal government, nationally, and internationally).

CSI research and capacity building activities address several societal challenges articulated in the context of the climate adaptation and mitigation objective of the NOAA Next Generation Strategic Plan (NGSP), including i) water resources; ii) coastal resilience; iii) marine ecosystems; and iv) weather and extreme events. Through supporting the creation of knowledge and capacity for adaptation, these efforts support NOAA's vision to create and sustain enhanced resilience in ecosystems, communities, and economies, as outlined in the NGSP. Several CSI programs support the Coping with Drought initiative of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) by supporting regions threatened by drought. CSI funds both US- and internationally-focused projects in order to facilitate community-building and learning about the challenges and solutions associated with understanding and meeting the climate-related needs of decision makers.

In addition to addressing the societal challenges, CSI will participate in or ensure alignment with the priorities of a number of interagency efforts such as the: National Climate Assessment, Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, National Integrated Drought Information Service Act (P.L. 109-430); NOAA Ocean and Coastal Council, National Ocean Council, the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, and the international Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) initiative.

CSI's current programs include the following:


International Research and Applications Project (IRAP)

- supports activities to link climate research and assessments to practical risk management, development and adaptation challenges in key regions throughout the world.




Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA)

- supports research teams that conduct innovative, interdisciplinary, user-inspired, and regionally relevant research that informs resource management, planning, and public policy. 




Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP)

- addresses the needs of a specific stakeholder or set of stakeholder within key socioeconomic sectors (e.g., water resources, agriculture, health, etc.) grappling with pressing climate-related issues. For 2012, SARP will focus on the water resource sector. 




National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

- provides dynamic and easily accessible drought information for the Nation. NIDIS supports drought research focusing on risk assessment, forecasting, management, and development of decision-support resources. "Coping with Drought," grants competitions are administered through the RISA and SARP programs.




Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA)

- supports interdisciplinary applications research on the impacts of climate variability and change on coastal communities and coastal and marine ecosystems to inform decision making. 




Office of the Director

The Communications and Education Group supports efforts to build a climate-literate public and provide broad access to climate data. The Group communicates the challenges, processes, and results of climate science to various audiences through popular-style articles and data visualization.


The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) provides dynamic and easily accessible drought information for the Nation. NIDIS supports drought research focusing on risk assessment, forecasting, and management plus development of decision-support resources.


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    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.