Responding to what it said is a rising tide of requests for information about climate change from “individuals and decision makers across widely diverse sectors,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is creating a climate service office dedicated to bringing together NOAA’s climate science and service delivery capabilities, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Monday.

“By providing critical planning information that our businesses and our communities need, NOAA Climate Service will help tackle head on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” Locke said. “In the process, we’ll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs.”

Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, will serve as NOAA Climate Service’s transitional director. Six regional directors will be announced soon and the creation of the new office should be completed by the end of the year. Planning is being shaped by input from NOAA employees and stakeholders across the country, with close consideration given to the recommendations of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, National Academies and National Academy of Public Administration.

“Working closely with federal, regional, academic and other state and local government and private-sector partners, the new NOAA Climate Service will build on our success transforming science into useable climate services,” said Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Also on Monday NOAA unveiled, a website that will serve as a single point of entry for NOAA’s extensive climate information, data, products and services. NOAA said the site addresses the needs of decision makers and policy leaders, scientists and applications-oriented data users, educators, business users and the public. Highlights of the site include an interactive “climate dashboard” that shows a range of constantly updating climate data sets over adjustable time scales, the new climate science magazine ClimateWatch and an array of data products and educational resources.

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