The primary mission of the State Climate Office of North Carolina (SCO) is to provide the most up to date climate services to the citizens of North Carolina and to offer extension and outreach services to the local, state and federal agencies on issues related to weather and climate such as drought, hurricanes, floods, and forest fire. Extension-related research as well as education and training of students help achieve this mission.
On October 26, 2001, the SCO marked 25 years of public service with day-long activities at North Carolina State University. Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor of North Carolina State University, welcomed the guests, described the extension, research, and education activities of the SCO, and discussed the partnership between the SCO and the National Weather Service in providing seasonal climate forecasts for North Carolina. Molly Corbett Broad, President of the University of North Carolina, inaugurated the North Carolina Environmental and Climate Observing Network (NC ECONet). This network, in its full capacity, will have at least one automated weather station in each of the 100 counties of North Carolina and will provide information vital for various applications including:
- emergency management of natural and technological disasters,
- agriculture management,
- drought monitoring and forecasts, and
- management of energy, water, and environmental resources.
A Symposium on Future of Climate Services in North Carolina was conducted immediately after the inauguration of the NC ECONet. Over 150 representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, and educational and private institutions attended. Several universities within the UNC system participated, as well as state and regional climatologists from the southeastern United States.
A set of recommendations was drafted at the symposium, circulated for comment, and revised. The main recommendations are:
- complete the development of the NC ECONet
- development of enhanced and sustained climate services
- the establishment of a network of climate experts in the state
- the development of a structured program of educational opportunities on North Carolina climate and environment in the State Climate Office for students from all UNC campuses
Implementation of the recommendations presented here will enhance public service mission of the UNC System and bring increased opportunities for research and education.
State Climatologist and Director,
State Climate Office of North Carolina and
Professor of Atmospheric and Marine Sciences,
North Carolina State University
Peter J. Robinson
NC Climate Program Coordinator and
Professor of Geography,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill