State Climate Office of North Carolina
(Public Service Center for Climate-Environment Interaction)
North Carolina State University
Approved by the University of North Carolina Board of Governor on October 8, 1998
Mission, Goals, and Objectives
The mission of the State Climate Office of North Carolina (SCO) as a Public Service Center is to define, predict and disseminate information about the climatic and environmental factors that impact the people of North Carolina. It is an organization dedicated towards public service through extension activities that include collection and dissemination of climate information pertaining to North Carolina. Research performed at the State Climate Office in cooperation with faculty from collaborating institutes is designed to enhance the extension work. The State Climate Office is committed towards the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of North Carolina and is involved in the multifaceted effort of managing, accessing, providing, analyzing, disseminating and interpreting information to provide environmental stewardship, and to describe, monitor and assess the climate, climate change and resulting impacts on policy changes.
Every state in the U.S. has a State Climate Office generally located on a university campus. The State Climate Office of North Carolina was established in 1976 and was housed in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until 1980. An inter-university agreement was signed in 1980 and the SCO transferred to North Carolina State University in 1980 where it has continued to operate to date. The State Climatologist, appointed by the President of the UNC System has been the director of this organization. It is located in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS), North Carolina State University. The State Climate Office works closely with different NCSU colleges especially the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). As a Public Service Center in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University, the plans are for close collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, North Carolina A & T University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Appalachian State University, among others.
The State Climate Office has defined the following objectives as the primary focal points of service to the people of North Carolina:
- Provide the most accurate climate information to the citizens of North Carolina.
- Assist North Carolina state agencies in climate-environment interaction issues and related applications. Establish, operate, and maintain an extensive meteorological network across North Carolina and archive and disseminate this data to the public in a timely fashion.
- Assist other extension scientists by integrating climate information into applications such as agricultural and environmental models.
- Increase public awareness of variations in North Carolina climate and environment.
- Study North Carolina's climate and its interaction with the environment.
- Investigate the effects of climatic variations on agriculture, air pollution, and natural resources and develop forecasts that assist in resource management.
- Interact with K-12, community colleges teachers and students, and with other community organizations on different aspects of NC climate and environment.
Relationship of the SCO with other Centers / Departments / Institutions
For the State Climate Office, the focus is public service and outreach with pertinent research across traditional boundaries. The State Climate Office acts as a pivotal component in a climate-related framework within the scientific and extension community. With our increasing knowledge concerning the climate change and the need of a holistic, comprehensive approach from scientific, economic, and social perspectives, a multi-disciplinary interface for local, regional and global issues is necessary in North Carolina. The SCO can be of help in the development of optimal regional policies by processing information and integrating resources available from the different institutions across North Carolina. The SCO will bring together the diverse faculties with varied expertise (Agriculture, Environmental Analysis, Meteorology, Oceanography, Fisheries, Tourism, Remote Sensing, Forest Resources, Mass Communication and Outreach, Internet Technology, Geography, Environment, Social Policy, Business, Economics, and Statistics, for example) in this endeavor.
State Climate Office is unique and no comparable unit or center exists at NCSU or any other campus of the UNC System.
The Director and the Advisory Committees
This Center will comprise of a Director (State Climatologist) and staff (Associate State Climatologists, Assistant State Climatologists, Research Associates, and graduate and undergraduate students), and a multi-disciplinary Affiliated Faculty and will have a structured functional layout with active interaction between all its components. The Director and the Center would report to the Dean, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University.
The direction, objectives, and immediate goals of the SCO will be reviewed by an Extension Advisory Committee (EAC).
The EAC will provide guidance on matters related to information dissemination, technology application for resource management, service activities involving workshops and training programs, undergraduate and high school orientation, agricultural and economic policy elucidation, and local climate information and products. Membership in the EAC will be cross-disciplinary and represent the various interests that the State Climate Office serves. The Extension Advisory Committee will meet at least once a year to assess the accomplishments and to provide guidance.
The College of Physical and Mathematical sciences will provide the additional space requirements.
Effects on Instructional Programs
The science of climate change is one of the most ill-posed and poorly understood problems requiring integration of knowledge from diverse fields of science, humanities, and economics. Present instructional and research programs all over the U.S. have felt a need to integrate and synergistically design curricula so as to expose students to this unique aspect of climate change. Some of the prime requirements for robustness of such an instructional program are: (1) access to factual observational records and archives, (2) access to internet based tools and guidance from personnel adept in accessing, summarizing, and analyzing the most pertinent information from the Internet, (3) hands on training and computational exposure to micro and large scale climate models, and (4) access to a multi disciplinary and multi institutional faculty. The SCO as a Center will provide ample opportunities for integrating cross-disciplinary education and strengthen the instructional and research programs in North Carolina.
The SCO will assist in the instructional programs in atmospheric science, marine science, earth science, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, computer science, computer engineering, agricultural sciences, environmental sciences, and public health.
The proposed organizational set up of the SCO is shown in Figure 1. The Director and the Center would report to the Dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. The Director (State Climatologist) will be assisted by an Associate State Climatologist and various Assistant State Climatologists. Research Associates and the graduate students will perform research needed to provide better extension service to North Carolina. The Extension Advisory Committee will advise the Director on broad policy issues.