Recommendations & Goals

The recommendations summarized below represent the consensus of the participants in the Symposium on the Future of Climate Services in North Carolina. The recommendations reported in this document were compiled through a carefully planned sequence of information gathering that included panel discussions during the symposium, communication of the panel recommendations to all the invitees and participants, and a synthesis of the responses.


  1. The State Climate Office (SCO) has identified pioneering programs and linkages within the local, state, and federal agencies and has proven ability to develop these partnerships further so as to provide one of the highest levels of climate services possible. However, a framework for consistent, and sustained growth that will allow the full potential of the SCO activities to be shared with the citizens and agencies of the state is needed. Development and maintenance of the North Carolina Environmental and Climate Observing Network (NC ECONet) across North Carolina is of high priority.
  2. SCO operations are very important for several immediate and long-term needs of North Carolina. Specific priority areas are:

    • Emergency Response and Disaster Management - by developing efficient links and sources of both the baseline climate for analysis and mitigation, and real time weather for preparedness and response of a natural or technological disaster affecting the state.
    • Air Quality and Natural Resource Management - by interfacing observations, and modeling studies to develop products, and to map and identify the processes affecting the air quality, visibility, and other natural resource management issues such as drought.
    • Short-Term and Long-Range Climate Outlooks - by expanding the pilot initiative with the National Weather Service to include more specific quantitative information on the projected climate for seasonal as well as long term (annual, decadal and longer) time scales.
    • Agriculture - by developing the ECONet and E-agriculture specific products for applications such as for pest management, frost prediction, irrigation, and precision agriculture that the agricultural community and agribusinesses can directly benefit from.
    • Develop a database and expert interface for state's weather related issues - by improving our understanding of the climatology of weather events and provide sufficient lead time for resource management for episodes that cause floods and droughts.
    • Education - by providing educational and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work on research projects related to NC climatic, environmental, and emergency preparedness needs of the state; and by providing an interface for state's climate program by hosting different educators from K-12, and higher education institutes, and by developing an annual or bi-annual workshop.

Preliminary analysis of the benefits of the NC ECONet indicate that timely and reliable weather and climate information could benefit the state of North Carolina by saving lives and also result in an economic benefit of approximately $91 million in any given year.


Based on these recommendations, SCO has identified goals for the next five years to develop:

  • Mechanisms for identifying, establishing, and maintaining clearly defined links to all appropriate federal, state and local agencies and institutions, including private sector entities, having need for or interest in the information provided by NC ECONet;
    • Establish contact list, with details of current and projected needs
    • Review the list annually, modifying needs, and personnel
    • Create mechanisms for frequent, routine review of opportunities for NC ECONet use
  • A network of observing stations (NC ECONet) providing timely and pertinent information to
    • Meet the needs of agencies and institutions in the state
    • Identify new locations where weather and climate information is needed
    • Develop strategy for funding of new sites
    • Develop reliable continuing, long-term support for site maintenance
    • Install new stations on a continuing basis
  • A network of climatological experts throughout the state actively participating in the work of the SCO;
    • Identify potential opportunities for participation
    • Convene annual meetings to develop collaborations
  • A series of climatological investigations which allow the information provided by the NC ECONet to be used for disaster mitigation
    • Establish mechanisms for identification of development needs and opportunities
    • Create strategy for setting priorities and obtaining funding for investigations
    • Create research programs to undertake investigations, maintaining highest quality
  • An enhanced level and quality of direct service to the public through continued use of modern technology, making readily available a wide range of data and information
    • Establish priorities for upgrading service provisions, especially the web site
    • Strengthen links with national and regional climate centers
    • Establish mechanisms for reviewing charging policies
  • Establish a series of studies assessing the potential impact of future climate changes on the state of North Carolina, its regions, economy and society
    • Interact with the regional State Climatologists and regional climate centers to identify impacts
    • Incorporate research results of State Climate Program Members
    • Develop impact assessment as integral part of the work of the SCO
  • A structured program of educational opportunities, through research and instruction, for undergraduate and graduate students from all universities in North Carolina.
    • Expand awareness of educational mission of SCO
    • Create mechanisms for graduate and undergraduate research opportunities
    • Devise strategy for obtaining funding for educational mission
    • Integrate professional activities of the State Climate Program Members

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