What We Do
Our Climate Variability and Change Research involves analysis of daily to multi-decadal atmospheric variations measured by many types of observing systems, with a special emphasis on radiosonde (weather balloon) data. Our radiosonde research has identified important data problems and produced new, improved datasets. We use these and other datasets to identify and characterize climate variability and trends. Through collaboration with climate modeling groups, our datasets are used to evaluate global climate models. Our analyses are published in leading scientific journals, and our data products, such as global upper-air temperature, heat wave, and water vapor datasets, are made publicly available to the scientific community and others through peer-reviewed journals, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, and other data centers.
We collaborate with colleagues around the world to enhance the scope and quality of our work. Current collaborations include scientists from other NOAA Research Laboratories, NOAA National Weather Service, NOAA/NESDIS National Climatic Data Center, other Federal laboratories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, various U.S. universities, and several institutions in other countries.
Why It Is Important
Understanding past climate changes is an essential prerequisite for predicting and projecting future changes. Our analyses and products are used by scientists around the world to evaluate climate models and to aid in understanding the nature of the climate system. We actively contribute to national and international scientific assessments, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program synthesis and assessment products, the WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessments of Ozone Depletion, and various SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate) Assessment Reports. National and international climate scientists and decision-makers use this information to understand climate trends and the need for mitigating and adapting to climate change. By comparing model simulations of past climate changes with observations, scientists can better assess the validity of model projections of future climate changes.