Why we need a National Climate Service

from Wildlife Promise

Bill Morrow\Flickr

Since 1870 the National Weather Service, a branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), helps protect our lives and property from a tornado or other severe weather event. Even if you get weather information from your local TV meteorologist he or she cannot properly issue a weather warning without the determination of National Weather Service’s highly-trained around-the-clock scientists.

As severe storms this week brought harm to many in the south and eastern part of the United States, it is increasingly clear how important early detection and warning is to our safety.

NOAA also recognizes the need to detect and plan for impacts from climate change such as sea level rise and severe drought.

Where could we turn to get the climate change information needed to protect ourselves and wildlife?

To make climate change information accessible and useful for the public NOAA is creating the structure necessary for a National Climate Service.

Travis\Flickr

The Climate Service will assist answers to questions such as: How much might areas of the northern Great Lakes warm making moose more susceptible to disease? Or, what communities can expect extreme flooding and at what time of year?

There is no service currently in place to provide such information.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco says:

Advances in science make it possible for us to provide useful information about the months-to-years time-frame – something that has potential to be of immense utility to businesses, communities, natural resources and military operations.

Last week Congress did a disservice to national protection and planning efforts by blocking a measure to create this National Climate Service.

House members on both sides of the aisle defeated the measure. It is unknown what their true motivation is but it seems to be another attempt to squash climate change science.

Imagine what kind of trouble we would be in if the National Weather Service wasn’t available to translate weather science into warnings and forecasts for the public. The benefits of a National Climate Service are innumerable.

What does the future hold for a National Climate Service?

The issue of establishing a National Climate Service is being revisited in the fight over the FY 2012 budget. They will have to move very quickly as there is only 5 ½ months before the start of FY 2012.

We need your help to ensure this important service is implemented to protect people and wildlife.

Learn about the National Climate Service and visit its prototype website. Call your House Representative today and tell them not to deny information to protect people and wildlife from climate change by supporting a National Climate Service.

Learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s efforts to protect wildlife from climate change impacts.