Detailed Information on the
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Climate Program Assessment

Program Code 10002050
Program Title National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Climate Program
Department Name Department of Commerce
Agency/Bureau Name National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Program Type(s) Research and Development Program
Assessment Year 2004
Assessment Rating Moderately Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 80%
Strategic Planning 90%
Program Management 82%
Program Results/Accountability 74%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $230
FY2008 $240
FY2009 $251

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The Budget provides the NOAA Climate Program with increases specifically for activities that support priorities identified in the Strategic Plan for The US Climate Change Science Program.

Not enacted The Climate Program has continued to provide collaborative support to CCSP, especially to complete the Synthesis and Assessment Products for which NOAA is responsible.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

NOAA is evaluating options for lab consolidation and other management changes to address recommendations of the NOAA Research Review Team.

Completed Effective October 1, 2005, NOAA Research has implemented a lab consolidation of its six Boulder labs and NOAA Research Headquarters has also bee reorganized to more effectively manage the NOAA Research enterprise.

The NOAA Climate Program is implementing a trackable performance measure database that will be used in development of future budget requests.

Completed This internal planning tool was implemented during FY2005 as part of the development of NOAA's Climate Program Annual Operating Plan. The database links budget and performance information.

Developing tools for decision-makers to assist in responding to climate change.

Completed The Regional Decision Support program in NOAA completed 33 peer-reviewed climate publications demonstrating how stakeholders/sectors utilize climate data and information and/or new tools to facilitate the incorporation of climate information in decision-making.

Investing in additional climate observations and research priorities to better understand climate variability.

Completed NOAA has made consistent investments and continues to sustain its climate observation and research priorities to meet performance targets.

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Reduce uncertainty in magnitude of North American Carbon Uptake

Explanation:FY02 - establish 9 new sites and ocean tracks; FY03 - reduce uncertainty to +/-50%; FY04 - reduce uncertainty to +/-0.7 Gigatons carbon per year; FY05 - reduce uncertainty to +/-0.48 Gigatons carbon per year; FY06 - reduce uncertainty to +/-0.4 Gigatons carbon per year.

Year Target Actual
2001 baseline +/-0.6 Gt C/yr
2002 9 sites sites ID'd
2003 +/- 50% 8 sites
2004 +/- 0.7 Gt C/yr +/- 0.5 Gt C/yr
2005 +/- 0.48 Gt C/yr +/- 0.4 Gt C/yr
2006 +/- 0.4 Gt C/yr +/- 0.4 Gt C/yr
2007 +/- 0.4 Gt C/yr +/- 0.4 Gt C/yr
2008 +/- 0.40 Gt C/yr
2009 +/- 040 Gt C/yr
2010 +/- 0.40 Gt C/yr
2011 +/- 0.40 Gt C/yr
2012 +/- 0.38 Gt C/yr
2013 +/- 0.35 Gt C/yr
2014 +/- 0.33 Gt C/yr
2015 +/- 0.30 Gt C/yr
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: U.S. Temperature Forecast Skill


Year Target Actual
1999 20 23
2000 20 27
2001 20 20
2002 20 18
2003 20 17
2004 20 17
2005 18 19
2006 18 25
2007 19 29
2008 19
2009 20
2010 21
2011 21
2012 22
2013 22
2014 23
2015 23
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Percent of explained variance of the long-term trend for temperature changes throughout the contiguous U.S.


Year Target Actual
2002 60% 85%
2003 70% 95%
2004 80% 96.7%
2005 96.7% 96.9
2006 97.0% 97.0%
2007 97.2% 97.7%
2008 98%
2009 98%
2010 98%
2011 98%
2012 98%
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Percent of explained variance of the long-term trend for precipitation changes throughout the contiguous U.S.


Year Target Actual
2002 25% 55%
2003 40% 84%
2004 90% 90.2%
2005 90% 91.4%
2006 91.2% 91.4%
2007 92.6% 93.8%
2008 95%
2009 95.1%
2010 95.1%
2011 95.1%
2012 95.1%
Long-term Output

Measure: Produce CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products for which NOAA is the lead agency

Explanation:NOAA has the lead on 7 of 21 Synthesis and Assessment products. Unit of measure is number of products completed per fiscal year.

Year Target Actual
2004 0 baseline
2006 1 1
2007 2 0
2008 2
2009 2
Long-term Output

Measure: Produce CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products for which NOAA is a supporting agency

Explanation:Unit of measure is number of products completed/fiscal year.

Year Target Actual
2004 baseline 0
2006 1 0
2007 5 1
2008 10
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Reduce error in global measurement of sea surface temperature

Explanation:Unit of measure is degrees Celsius. This is a new GPRA in FY2006.

Year Target Actual
2003 baseline +/-0.7
2004 +/-0.6 +/-0.63
2005 +/-0.5 +/-0.57
2006 +/-0.5 +/-0.53
2007 +/-0.5 +/-0.53
2008 +/-0.5
2009 +/-0.46
2010 +/-0.43
2011 +/-0.38
2012 +/-0.35
2013 +/-0.33
2014 +/-0.3
2015 +/-0.3
Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Improve society's ability to plan and respond to climate variability and change using NOAA climate products and information (number of peer-reviewed risk and impact assessments/evaluations published and communicated to decision makers)


Year Target Actual
2004 baseline 28
2005 28 32
2006 32 33
2007 32 32
2008 35
2009 37
2010 41
2011 41
2012 41
2013 41
2014 41
2015 41
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Volume of data ingested annually and placed into the archive (terabytes)

Explanation:In 2006, the target will reflect data from all three NOAA National Data Centers (NNDC, NCDC, NODC, and NGDC), because during this period the CLASS architecture will be building out and this Performance Measure should be connected to the CLASS Project. Prior years reflect NCDC data only.

Year Target Actual
2001 90 90
2002 100 120
2003 145 149
2004 200 206
2005 221 140
2006 120 120
2010 513

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program's purpose, "Understand and describe climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond," is unambiguous and defined in the Department of Commerce strategic goals, NOAA's strategic plan, and contributes to the objectives outlined in the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan. To advance this goal, there are five major components of the NOAA Climate Program: 1) Climate Observations and Analyses, 2) Climate Forcing, 3) Climate Predictions and Projections, 4) Climate and Ecosystems, and 5) Regional Decision Support.

Evidence: NOAA Strategic Plan (www.spo.noaa.gov); Department of Commerce Strategic Plan (www.osec.doc.gov/bmi/budget/budgetsub_perf_strategicplans.htm); The NOAA Research Plan describes research deliverables from 2005-2009; Research in NOAA: Toward Understanding and Predicting Earth's Environment (ftp://www.oarhq.noaa.gov/review).

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest or need?

Explanation: The Climate Program addresses the findings contained in the Global Climate Protection Act, the Global Change Research Act, and the mission set forth in the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI). NOAA's Climate Program is built on NOAA's ongoing expertise in shorter-term climate variability, such as El Ni??o, and on NOAA's capabilities in long-term observations, applied research on atmospheric composition, and engagement with the user community.

Evidence: Climate-sensitive industries, both directly and indirectly, account for about one-third of the Nation's gross domestic product ($3 trillion). Climate variability, such as the El Ni??o phenomenon, led to economic impacts on the order of $25 billion for 1997-98, with property losses of over $2.5 billion and crop losses approaching $2 billion [data source: Changnon, Stanley A., ed. El Ni??o 1997-98; The Climate Event of the Century, Oxford University Press, 2000]. Findings of the Global Climate Protection Act 15 USC; President's speech on Climate Change, February 2002 (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/20020214-5.html); President's speech on Climate Change, June 2001 (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html).

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: NOAA is part of the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), which is designed to coordinate the resources and expertise of 13 federal agencies involved in climate change science. NOAA contributes uniquely to this program in the areas of climate modeling, applied aerosol and carbon research, long-term observations and data management. NOAA's partnerships with NSF (basic research) and NASA (research satellites) led to breakthroughs in both ozone depletion and El Ni??o prediction.

Evidence: Examples of interagency coordination: the Interagency Working Group on Earth Observations (iwgeo.ssc.nasa.gov), the North American Carbon Program (www.carboncyclescience.gov/nacp.pdf), and the CCSP Interagency Working Groups for Atmospheric Composition, Climate Variability and Change, Human Dimensions, and Ovservations (www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/ProgramElements/default.htm); The CCSP Strategic Plan describes the roles and responsibilities of the CCSP (www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/final/ccspstratplan2003-all.pdf).

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program is a matrix program, managed under one goal and across multiple line offices. Based on a National Academy of Sciences review of the Climate Change Science Program, the NOAA Climate Program recently reorganized to align itself along the CCSP goals, oriented toward near-term decision support and with an emphasis on product delivery. However, NOAA's Research Review Team noted in its report "that there has not been sufficiently strong leadership and processes in OAR to ensure that the OAR laboratory activities are well focused and integrated into NOAA's mission. The report recommends consolidation of NOAA's labs in Boulder, CO, noting that consolidation would lead to better coordination across NOAA and OAR and would increase the responsiveness of research to NOAA's operational and information service needs. This recommendation, along with the recent realignment with CCSP goals, will improve the program's effectiveness.

Evidence: CCSP's Planning Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders (www.climatescience.gov/Library/workshop2002/default.htm); Climate and Global Change Working Group Review; Implementing Climate and Global Change Research: A Review of the Final U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan (books.nap.edu/catalog/10635.html); Research Review Team report (www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/Reports.html).

NO 0%

Is the program effectively targeted, so that resources will reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: Under the Climate Program, NOAA has been transitioning applied research into operational products and transferring these capabilities to other operational entities, both public and private. NOAA's applied research builds on basic research conducted at universities funded by other Federal agencies (e.g. NSF and NASA) through competitive awards. NOAA is actively working to better understand customer needs and meet them. For example, the NOAA Climate Transition Program, will provide a mechanism for supporting research that addresses user eneds and requirements, transitions the research to operations, and provides education and outreach capacity for new products.

Evidence: Transfer of operation and maintenance responsibility for the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) buoy array from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory to the National Data Buoy Center (www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov); TAO Project Overview (www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/proj_over/proj_over.html). The National Weather Service has established a climate services program at each of its regional and field offices. These programs focus on enhancing forecast products to provide local information, supporting the integrity of the climate record, conducting outreach to regional and local decision makers, and establishing regional, state and local partnerships for the delivery of climate services (www.erh.noaa.gov/er/hq/climate/climate.html).

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 80%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The Climate Program has six long-term performance measures. These measures and outcomes reflect the breadth of the program and include measures to improve seasonal forecasting, reduce uncertainty in carbon and aerosols, determine long-term changes in temperature and precipitation, describe and explain changes in the Earth's climate, and expand on the climate services and products which will enhance the ability of users to plan and respond to climate variability and change.

Evidence: NOAA Strategic Plan (www.spo.noaa.gov), FY06 Annual Performance Plan. Performance goals and outcomes are: (1) Increase U.S. seasonal temperature forecast skill to 22.5 by FY 2007; this is a quantitative indicator of the ability to forecast U.S. temperature months in advance; (2) Reduce the uncertainty in the magnitude of the North American carbon uptake, key information for policy decisions related to impacts of future climate change and carbon management; (3) Reduce the uncertainty on the influence of aerosols on climate to produce information needed to broaden the suite of non-carbon options available for policy support on the climate change issue; (4) Determine actual long-term changes in temperature and precipitation over the U.S.; (5) Reduce the error in global measurement of sea surface temperature; and (6) Improve society's ability to plan and respond to climate variability and change using NOAA climate products and information.

YES 10%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Targets and timeframes for performance measures reflect NOAA's aggressive agenda for creating a solid foundation for decision-making for the nation and providing useful products and services. For example, the goal of reducing sea surface temperature error to 0.3C is both ambitions and relevant, given that global warming over the last century is 0.6C.

Evidence: See Measures Tab and Annual Performance Plans for annual and long-term targets for performance measures..

YES 10%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: Progress for all annual performance measures is evaluated at the highest level through tracking the execution of annual performance measures. Each measure has associated annual performance goals and quarterly milestones. Additionally, the Climate Program maintains a database of annual performance and efficiency measures and tracks completion and contribution to progress in the program.

Evidence: See Measures Tab and Annual Performance Plans for annual performance measures. The program has established efficiency measures related to the collection and delivery of data to NOAA's climate archive. By demonstrating improved timeliness and quality in the provision of climate data to users, these efficiency measures support NOAA's long-term goal to Improve society's ability to plan and respond to climate variability and change using NOAA climate products and information.

YES 10%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: NOAA's long-term goals require incremental, annual expansion of observing systems and modeling cpabilities. Overall, the NOAA Climate Program has developed annual milestones for each of its components as part of a newly developed NOAA five-year research plan. These milestones are linked to the long-term targets and outcomes of the program, as identified in the NOAA Strategic Plan.

Evidence: Annual performance targets and baselines are identified in the NOAA Strategic Plan, Annual Operating Plans, Congressional Budget submissions, and the NOAA 5-year Research Plan.

YES 10%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: NOAA Climate Program research activities, products, and services are linked to the NOAA goals through the Programming, Planning, Budget and Execution System. Grantees of the Climate Program are accountable to NOAA's Climate Goals through an annual Federal Register Notice, which sets out evaluation criteria for peer-reviewed proposals. Research to support improvement of seasonal-interannual prediction and decadal to centennial change is published in the Federal Register notices.

Evidence: CCSP Strategic Plan (www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/default.htm); Office of Global Programs request for Climate and Global Change proposals is linked to NOAA's Climate mission and the goals of the CCSP. Selection factors include past performance, program priorities and policy factors, duplication of other projects funded or considered for funding by NOAA/federal agencies, and relevance (www.ogp.noaa.gov/grants/2005/ffo.pdf).

YES 10%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program undergoes external peer review on selected parts of the program semiannually by NOAA's Science Advisory Board through its Climate and Global Change and Climate Monitoring Working Groups. The national US Global Change Research Program has had a series of reviews by the National Academy of Science, most recently in 2001. The Strategic Plan for CCSP was reviewed by the NAS in FY04.

Evidence: National Academy Reviews: Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (1998) -- books.nap.edu/catalog/6264.html; The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge to Work (2001) -- books.nap.edu/catalog/10048.html: Implementing Climate and Global Change Research (2004) -- books.nap.edu/catalog/10635.html. SAB Climate and Global Change Working Group Review; Research Review Team Report (www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/Reports.html).

YES 10%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: While NOAA Climate Research budget requests are linked to performance measures, the Climate Program is a cross-cutting program, with budget resources allocated within various line offices and as such is not readily transparent in its entirety. The NOAA Climate Program is implementing a trackable performance measure database that will be used in budget development.

Evidence: NOAA section of the Department of Commerce Budget Submission.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program has changed direction, based on external reviews and the development of CCSP, to a more outcome-oriented focus. As a result of recommendations from the outside community, the NOAA Climate Program has reorganized to provide a new emphasis on decision support at both the national and regional levels, while continuing to advance large-scale observations and applied research. In addition, there is a new focus on the links of climate change and variability on ecosystem function. Development of a NOAA Research 20-Year Strategy and a Five-Year Research Plan will be important steps to ensure a more focused and effective research program.

Evidence: CCSP Strategic Plan (www.climatescience.gov/Library/stratplan2003/default.htm); Research in NOAA: Toward Understanding and Predicting Earth's Environment (ftp://www.oarhq.noaa.gov/review); NOAA draft 20-Year Strategic Vision; NOAA 5-year Research Plan; National Research Council "The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge to Work" (books.nap.edu/catalog/10048.html); NOAA Strategic Plan (www.spo.noaa.gov).

YES 10%

If applicable, does the program assess and compare the potential benefits of efforts within the program to other efforts that have similar goals?

Explanation: No other agency has NOAA's mandate and experience in climate assessments, prediction, operational observing systems and user services necessary to carry out the part of the climate mission described for NOAA in the CCSP Plan. Within the CCSP, relative agency roles are clearly defined through the CCSP Strategic Plan and the CCSP Management process and Interagency Working Groups.

Evidence: See CCSP Strategic Plan (www.climatescience.gov//Library/stratplan2003/vision/default.htm) for: Agency roles within the CCSP -- pp. 30-32; Agency modeling roles -- chapter 10. One example of a complimentary climate activity is climate modeling. NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory maintains a high-end modeling capability focused on delivering products for assessments and decision support, while the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeling activities are focused on research.

YES 10%

Does the program use a prioritization process to guide budget requests and funding decisions?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program priorities are established based upon the CCSP Strategic Plan, the NOAA Strategic Plan, Performance Measures, annual consultations with stakeholders, yearly milestones and deliverables, the NOAA Climate Board (NOAA's internal management group), and by two expert panels (the Climate & Global Change and Climate Monitoring Working Groups). Lower priority programs are terminated and new priorities are supported through the redirection of existing resources as well as the request for additional funds.

Evidence: NOAA's Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES) is a formal, systematic structure for making decisions on policy, strategy, capability/deployment, and resource allocation to accomplish NOAA's mission (www.ppbs.noaa.gov); NOAA's Annual Guidance Memo; Minutes from April 16, 2004 stakeholder meeting; NOAA Science Advisory Board (www.sab.noaa.gov). Since 1997, 21 of 91 climate projects have been terminated and redirected.

YES 10%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 90%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: NOAA conducts quarterly reviews of its matrix program activities (which include the Climate Program) with the purpose of updating NOAA management on progress and results during the execution year and integrating program an goal information into execution reports. Quarterly reviews focus on performance schedule, key issues, budget/funding status, summary of grants information, and an update on key performance measures and milestones. These reviews also cover the activities of key partners.

Evidence: Guidance for NOAA's Quarterly Reviews; NOAA Program Review Team Recommendations (http://review.oar.noaa.gov).

YES 9%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: NOAA has implemented matrix management for key programs, including the Climate Program, to improve coordination and maximize resources. The NOAA Climate Program is transitioning from accountability across the line offices, to responsibility and accountability at the program level. In the competitive award process, past performance is a strong criterion in the evaluation of new research proposals. Although annual reports are required from all grantees and cooperative agreements, there is currently no official oversight mechanism to document how the annual reports are used in future funding allocations.

Evidence: NOAA Business Operations Manual, NOAA Research 4th Quarter Review 2002; description of matrix management structure (www.ppi.noaa.gov).

NO 0%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: NOAA has a top-down reporting process that assures financial accountability. Since the Climate Program is a matrix program across all line offices, there is currently no mechanism to track the program as a whole. Starting in FY04, steps are being taken to correct this and track financial execution of programs as a whole. Preliminary program financial execution reports will be prepared for FY04, and this mechanism will be fully implemented for FY05.

Evidence: On a quarterly basis, program managers review financial reports provided by the Commerce Administrative Management System (CAMS) that analyze the financial plan and subsequent execution. All variances that exceed 10% are reported and corrections are taken as necessary.

YES 9%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program has multiple procedures in place to measure and achieve efficiences and cost effectiveness in program execution. Where possible, the program has established performance measures to track efficiency. The program also actively participates in competitive sourcing, having recently completed an A-76 study at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. NOAA Research utilizes cooperative agreements establishing joint institutes at major universities, generally located geographically close to one or more of NOAA's laboratory facilities. Finally, the SAB research review recommends lab consolidation to create a better managed and more effective research structure. NOAA is currently developing a plan to respond to these recommendations.

Evidence: March 2004 Decision Document Summary from the GFDL A-76 Streamlined Study; Research Review Team Report (www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/Reports.html). By the beginning of FY 2004, contractors represented about 13% of total employment at NOAA Research labs. Of total actual expenditures for FY 2003 in climate research, 49% were in grants and cooperative agreements and 15% in contracts.

YES 9%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: NOAA has several key partners in climate research. For example, NASA, NSF, DOE, and NOAA co-plan and execute many field studies in aerosol research. Explicit future interagency plans are already underway. NOAA's international collaborations are both extensive and critical to accomplishing the mission. NOAA supports the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, an international center that provides climate information and assessments globally. NOAA's climate research is coordinated globally through the World Climate Research Programme, a link that has been critical in developing an El Ni??o prediction capability.

Evidence: Lead agencies+F66 in CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products (www.climatescience.org/Library/sap/sap-summary.htm); Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (www.ogp.noaa.gov/mpe/csi/risa/index.htm); International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (iri.columbia.edu); World Climate Research Programme (www.wmo.ch/web/wcrp/about.htm).

YES 9%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Within the Department of Commerce, NOAA follows prescribed Department-wide financial management and accounting policies, procedures, and controls. As a result of continuous improvement in financial management, the Department received an unqualified opinion on the FY 2003 consolidated financial statements, which is the highest rating available. However, the Climate Program does not have routine execution reports on a monthly and quarterly basis. Execution process for tracking data will be implemented in FY05 as described in 3.RD1.

Evidence: FY 2003 Department of Commerce Financial Report, Performance Accountability Report.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program has been tasked with the responsibility for oversight and integration of new and existing climate activities across all NOAA line offices. Financial management deficiencies are routinely identified and addressed as part of NOAA's annual financial audit in order to ensure that NOAA's Consolidated Financial Statement continues to receive an unqualified opinion. NOAA is actively implementing recommendations from the Science Advisory Board to develop a research plan and strategy, consolidate the laboratories, and others to address management efficiencies.

Evidence: NOAA's consolidated financial statement; Business Operations Manual; Research Review Team Report (www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/Reports.html); Research in NOAA: Toward Understanding and Predicting Earth's Environment (ftp://www.oarhq.noaa.gov/review).

YES 9%

For R&D programs other than competitive grants programs, does the program allocate funds and use management processes that maintain program quality?

Explanation: To maintain program quality and award internal funds, NOAA engages in a Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES) process. This system entails a thorough analysis of the program, identifies research gaps and needs, and provides oversight and program recommendations. The NOAA Climate Program develops annual operating plans, which include milestones that are reported on quarterly. All non-competitive awards require an independent review from 3 qualified sources; quarterly, semiannual or annual reporting; and qualified oversight by the program managers to ensure program quality is maintained.

Evidence: Annual Operating Plan; Office of Global Programs Federal Register Notice (http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/pdf/04-7187.pdf); One example of a non-competitive award is an earmarked proposal for an Analytical Center for Climate and Environmental Change at Northern Illinois University. The grant will fund instrumentation and laboratory development for investigation of natural and human-impacted biogeochemical cycles in ice sheets/shelves at high latitudes, key for understanding the dynamics of ice sheet response to global change. NOAA negotiated the use of this grant to ensure it addressed NOAA's strategic goals.

YES 9%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 82%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: Since its inception, NOAA has had clear long-term climate performance goals. These goals and strategies are clearly articulated in the 1998 NOAA Strategic Plan: 1) reduce uncertainty and implement seasonal to interannual climate forecasts, and 2) characterize agents and processes that force decadal to centennial climate change. NOAA's leadership in seasonal-interannual prediction is widely recognized and NOAA has the primary responsibility within the Federal Government to routinely provide climate forecasts and products to the Nation. NOAA's leadership in assessing the state of climate science, including monitoring global carbon dioxide levels, documenting and forecasting temperature trends, and understanding the role of climate forcing agents, has contributed much of the foundation for measuring climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion and understanding their causes.

Evidence: Since 1998, NOAA has correctly predicted the severity of the Atlantic hurricane season. Research by NOAA and NSF led to prediction breakthroughs in the early 1990's, culminating in the successful prediction of the 1997-98 El Ni??o event. Working to apply this breakthrough, NOAA-supported advances include an improved understanding of the impact of variability on water management systems, wildfire and agriculture management, and the implications of temperature on availability of future water supplies. NOAA Strategic Plans (www.noaa.gov/str-plan/planCover.html, www.spo.noaa.gov); Department of Commerce FY2000-06 Annual Performance Plans (www.osec.doc.gov/bmi/budget/budgetsub_perf_strategicplans.htm); Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment: climate applications (www.risa.ogp.noaa.gov).


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The program has met or exceeded its annual targets for 4 of 5 of its 2003 annual performance measures. The NOAA Climate Program maintains an annual operating plan of milestones used to track progress toward higher-level outcomes and long-term performance measures. In 2001, the Climate Program met 47 of its 50 annual milestones.

Evidence: See Measures Tab for data on annual performance goals; Annual Report of the State of the Ocean and the Ocean Observing System for Climate (www.oco.noaa.gov); State of Climate Reports (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/monitoring.html); NOAA FY04 Climate Operating Plan; Annual Performance Reports.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The NOAA Climate Program tracks increased efficiency in many ways. In its data management component, efficiency is tracked through documentation of increased ingest, archival, and access of data as a factor of time, leading to reduction in time while retaining customer satisfaction. In observations, efficiency is tracked by reducing the cost per observation.

Evidence: For example, through technology development, the size of standard surface drifting buoys was reduced by 25%, resulting in a drop in average price from $2150 per buoy in 2002 to $1800 per buoy in 2003. This allows deployment of about 75 more buoys each year at the same level of funding as the program moves toward global coverage -- the array is presently at 902 and 1250 buoys are needed for global coverage. Customer service satisfaction survey rates overall satisfaction at 83%., while volume of data collected has increased 62% from FY01 to FY03.

YES 20%

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: NOAA performance compares favorably with other federal programs with similar purposes and goals. NOAA is recognized as a leader in climate science, both internationally and domestically. NOAA was selected to provide scientific leadership for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I and the Climate Change Science Program. NOAA is leading or co-leading 9 of the 21 CCSP Synthesis and Assessment products. NOAA's climate researchers are frequently cited in scientific journal articles, indicating the relevance of NOAA's work to the broader climate research community. Climate model comparisons indicate that NOAA's model results are comparable to similar global models developed by othe national and international entities.

Evidence: The Deputy Secretary of Commerce is alternating chair and vice-chair for the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change Science and Technology (alternates with DOE) and the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere is director of the Climate Change Science Program; NOAA's role in IPCC resulted in over 325 scientific citations (increase from 250 during the 1995 Assessment, and 200 during the 1990 Assessment) www.ipcc.ch/about/bureau.htm. Ten NOAA Climate scientists were identified as 'The World's Most Influential Researchers' by the 'ISI Highly Cited' based on the 248 most-cited authors in geosciences over the period 1981 (isihighlycited.com/). In the most recent intercomparison of national and international climate models by the Department of Energy, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model produced comparable results to the range of global models in analyses of surface temperature, pressure, and precipitation, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison: www-pcmdi.llnl.gov


Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: External reviews demonstrate that the program is effective, product-oriented, and responsive to recommendations for change. The US Global Change Research Program, and now the CCSP, has been repeatedly reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. The NOAA Climate Program was reviewed by the Science Advisory Board Working Group on Climate and Global Change in July 2003. It noted, for example, "outstanding progress" in understanding and describing the El Ni??o-Southern Oscillation and "impressive cooperation" between organizational units in developing prediction products. The National Academy of Sciences has highlighted the critical importance of earlier stratospheric ozone depletion efforts.

Evidence: The Science of Regional and Global Change: Putting Knowledge to Work, NRC, 2001, p. 2 (http://books.nap.edu/books/0309073278/html/2.html#pagetop); Implementing Climate and Global Change Research: A Review of the Final U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan (http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10635.html); Climate and Global Change Working Group Review; The Ozone Depletion Phenomenon (http://books.nap.edu/books/NI000196/html/8.html#pagetop).

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 74%

Last updated: 09062008.2004SPR