Cooperative Institute for Climate & Satellites - Maryland


Climate Outreach and Education at the Climate Program Office

Research Topic: Education, Training, and Outreach
Task Leader: Will Chong
CICS Scientist: Will Chong
Sponsor: OAR CPO ASD
Published Date: 9/28/2017


The Climate Program Office (CPO) focuses on developing a broader user community for climate products and services, provides NOAA a focal point for climate activities, leads NOAA climate education and outreach activities, and coordinates international climate activities. To achieve these goals, CPO will benefit significantly from a strong partnership with outside investigators. Building this partnership requires the involvement of personnel with computational and organizational skills to assist with program management activities.


In FY16, the primary scientist continued to manage the website on the web interface content management system (CMS). The old website was structured using basic HyperText Markup Language (HTML), something that limited how much information and the type of information that could be effectively communicated online. The previous migration and creation of the new CMS allowed for a more efficient way to display and communicate climate related research results to the public. This past year, the primary scientist continued to manage and develop new content for the website to better communicate and distribute the program’s research outcomes with the public. New pages and sections were created to represent new task forces, providing a space for the public to view descriptions, missions, participants, news items, publications, reports and other resources. Articles were continually developed throughout the year to highlight newsworthy program news and events. This work enabled scientists from NOAA, other agencies, Cooperative Institutes, and the external community to increase their collaboration and improve the public's knowledge of research activities across multiple sectors.

The primary scientist collaborated with the Climate Program Office’s Communication and Education division and public sector communities for the development of material for the website and communication materials. Material for the website including images and graphics were used to increase the communication and distribution of research results reflected on the website. Physical materials such as informational business cards and program brochures were co-created by the physical scientist for the distribution at meetings and conferences, such as the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. Those materials allowed for more outreach to promote scientific stewardship of climate related information.

In addition to the above materials, a new communication tool was developed this year to highlight MAPP funded research to better monitor, understand, and predict drought. The web application allows users to take a deeper look into this recent multi-year Texas drought and ongoing scientists’ efforts to understand it. Called a "Story Map,” the web app recounts the phenomena that sparked and busted the drought and describes the ups and downs along the way, through a highly visual and interactive user experience. Key features include explorable U.S. Drought Monitor maps, relevant research highlights, photos of drought impacts, informative images and video clips, and contributions from scientists.

The primary scientist interacted with investigators funded by the grants program to better promote and communicate their research and to facilitate the integration of their research results into NOAA activities and products. A webpage was created on the website that displays the projects in an informal profile for those of the general public who are interested in learning more about current and past NOAA research activities. The primary scientist also archives progress reports and publications submitted by investigators throughout the year for program management to review.

The involvement of the primary scientist with computational and organizational skills to assist with program management activities has been essential to the success of his ability to provide climate outreach and education activities at CPO. The primary scientist has provided logistical and technical support for organized groups of federal, state, non-governmental organizations, and the broader academic research community. Examples of this include successfully scheduling and organizing monthly teleconferencing events, virtual meetings, in-person meetings and workshops to connect and engage research activities across sectors. The primary scientist also provides IT support during meetings to help ensure they run smoothly. Technical support includes running test on computers and software prior to meetings to ensure timely efficiency. Web conferencing tools have been utilized to allow for program management and scientist to more effectively communicate during virtual meetings. This has resulted in improved meeting engagement with participants.

Planned work        

·         Successful management of the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections program’s website.

·         Continued development of communicative tools for outreach and education.

·         Greater opportunities for collaboration and linkages among researchers and other user groups through enhanced access to climate-related information.

·         Increased user community and stakeholder engagement through strengthened and additional partnerships.

·         Continued support of MAPP Program principal investigators during organized monthly teleconferencing events, virtual meetings, in-person meetings and workshops to connect and engage research activities across sectors.

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