Committee on Science and Technology
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Legislative Highlights :: May 13, 2009

The National Climate Service Act of 2009


Bill Summary and Status

Reported (as amended) by the Full Committee on June 3, 2009

Reported (as amended) by the Energy and Environment Subcommittee
on May 13, 2009

Introduced in the House on May 14, 2009


Section 1. Short Title

The National Climate Service Act of 2009

Section 2. Purpose

Designates the purpose of the legislation to be the establishment of a National Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to serve three primary purposes: to advance understanding of climate variability and change at all geographic scales; to provide forecasts, warnings, and information to the public on climate variability and change and its effects on the public; and to support development of adaptation and response plans by Federal agencies; State, local and tribal governments, the private sector and the public.

Section 3. Definitions

Defines terms used in the legislation. Advisory Committee is the Climate Service Advisory Committee established in Section 5 of the bill. Director is defined as the Director of the Climate Service Office. A Representative serving on the advisory committee is defined as an individual who is not an employee of the Federal Government and who is appointed to the committee to represent the views of an entity or entities outside the Federal Government. Special Government Employee is defined with the same meaning as in section 202(a) of title 18, United States Code. The Under Secretary is defined as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

Section 4. National Climate Service.

Directs the Under Secretary to establish the National Climate Service and establish a Climate Service Office. Defines five functions of the Office: to coordinate the activities within NOAA’s line offices that are relevant to climate services; ensure distribution of data and information on national, regional, and local climate variability and change; ensure that new technologies, information, and tools developed through research are incorporated into the operational offices at NOAA; ensure exchange of information with other Federal agencies; ensure collaboration with the State, local, and tribal governments; academic, non-profits, and the private sector; and ensure exchange of research and information between the Climate Service and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Directs the Under Secretary to operate the National Climate Service through a national center, the Climate Service Office and a network of regional, state, and local outlets. Directs the Under Secretary to maintain the network Regional Climate Centers and defines their role in the Climate Service. Directs the Under Secretary to maintain a network of Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs) programs and defines their role in the Climate Service.

Section 4 also directs the Under Secretary to utilize the assets and expertise of other offices and programs at NOAA that produce information or products relevant to the Climate Service including: the National Weather Service, the National Environmental Data and Information Service, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); and other NOAA offices and programs.

Section 4 defines five core elements of the National Climate Service to include: conducting analyses, studies, research, and observations relating to the effects of weather and climate on the public; carrying out observations, data collection, and monitoring of weather and climate; providing information and technical support for Federal agencies, regional State, tribal and local government efforts to produce adaptation and response plans; developing systems for management and dissemination of data, information, and assessments; and conducting research to improve understanding of climate and to improve climate services.

Section 5. Climate Service Advisory Committee

Directs the Administrator to establish a Climate Service Advisory Committee to operate in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires balance, public notice of meetings, and publicly available documentation of the Committee’s work. This section also requires the establishment of at least two Subcommittees of the full Committee; one to focus on the science and technical issues associated with developing and improving climate information and products; and the other to advise on the types of products needed and the best ways to deliver them to ensure their relevance to decision makers and the user community.

Section 6. Repeal

Repeals the National Climate Program Act of 1978.

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