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About the WMO RCC-Washington
The United States of America National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expressed its interest to be part of the designated WMO Regional Climate Centres (RCCs) for the entire Regional Association IV (RA-IV) (North America, Central America and the Caribbean), with a special emphasis on the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. It aims to generate and deliver regionally-focused high-resolution data and products, as well as training and capacity building for the benefit of WMO Members in the RA-IV, at regional and national levels.
The WMO RCC-Washington is hosted and operated by the National Weather Services (NWS) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) of the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), with input from other NOAA Line Offices including the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI), the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL), and other interested parties.
The Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) products are operational predictions of climate variability, real-time monitoring of climate and the required data bases, and assessments of the origins of major climate anomalies. The products cover time scales from a week to seasons, extending into the future as far as technically feasible, and cover the land, the ocean, and the atmosphere, extending into the stratosphere.
These climate services are available for users in government, the public and private industry, both in this country and abroad. Applications include the mitigation of weather related natural disasters and uses for social and economic good in agriculture, energy, transportation, water resources, and health. Continual product improvements are supported through diagnostic research, increasing use of models, and interactions with user groups.
Within CPC, the International Desks provide access to globally regionalized operational climate information including forecasts from short range to sub-seasonal and seasonal time scales, and the monitoring of the evolution of climate conditions. The International Desks also provide training in climate monitoring and forecasting.
The WMO RCC-Washington performs a minimum set of mandatory functions covering long-range forecasting, climate monitoring, data services and training.
In terms of long-range forecasting, it utilizes the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) forecast system, which consists of coupled climate models:
The monthly and seasonal forecasts from the ensemble mean is an average of all contributing models.
The CPC Gridded Global temperature and precipitation data, the Climate Data Assimilation System (CDAS), the CPC unified gauge analysis and Optimum Interpolation (OI) analysis, observing stations and reports from the Global Telecommunication System (GTS), and satellite estimates form the basis for the monitoring of the climate system.
Data services are provided upon request from the member countries of the RA-IV region.
Professional Development Training in the areas of forecasting, monitoring, data analysis and applications in various socio-economic sectors are available.
Origins of the Climate Prediction Center
The roots of modern climate prediction can be traced to the late 1700's. One of the nation's first applied climatologists was Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. A century later, the federal government assigned to the Army Signal Corps the mission to define the climate of the regions of the country being opened for farming.
In 1890, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Weather Bureau climate and crops services which began publishing the Weather and Crops Weekly Bulletin, which the CPC in conjunction with the USDA still publishes today.
In 1970, various federal weather and climate functions were consolidated into the National Weather Service (NWS) and placed in a new agency called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the 1980's the National Weather Service established the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), known at the time as the Climate Analysis Center (CAC). The CPC is best known for its United States climate forecasts based on El Niño and La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific.