Strategic Climate Objective: IV Promote Public Climate Literacy

Climate change and climate variability bring potential for adverse impacts as well as opportunities for commerce. Climate change and variability affect the nation's security, economy, natural resources, and public and environmental health. To help protect ecosystems and build sustainable communities that are resilient to climate change and variability—including extreme weather and climate events—NOAA is actively working to foster a climate-literate citizenry.

A climate-literate person is someone who has a fundamental understanding of how Earth's climate system works, the relationships and interactions between the living and non-living environment, and has the ability to understand and utilize scientific evidence to make informed decisions regarding climate-related issues. Over the next 5 years, our Objective is to establish a robust Communication, Education, and Engagement (CEE) Program that is guided by the needs of our publics, and that integrates the latest, most authoritative climate information from across NOAA, and its partners, into a cohesive framework.

This Objective aims to support three key aspects of NOAA's Climate Goal:

  1. the agency's and its partners climate science missions and milestones;
  2. the agency's and its partners climate services missions and milestones; and
  3. characterize our publics' needs, wants, and expectations for access to NOAA's and its partners' climate science and services.

Our three main near-term foci are to:

  1. Evolve the prototype NOAA Climate Services Portal ( into an operational website called Evolution will be based upon user feedback and the effort will be integrated across all of NOAA to provide a single, authoritative online point of entry whereby the public can access the agency's and its partners' climate data, information, and services.
  2. Boost the climate literacy of NOAA's and its partners' personnel, and build their capacity to communicate with, educate and engage our publics. Advances in this initiative will be made by leveraging our extension networks (e.g., SeaGrant, NERRS, the National Weather Service, State Climatologists, and our Regional Climate Service Directors) and providing a consistent, well-rounded suite of professional development opportunities and resources that all can draw upon.
  3. Expand the use of NOAA's and its partners' climate services in our publics' decision-making contexts. This effort begins with a solid characterization of stakeholders' needs for climate data, information, and services using the results of previously conducted needs assessments (to minimize the burden on our stakeholders). We may develop and conduct new assessments where none have been conducted previously. Then we will determine what needs can be met by existing capabilities, and we will identify gaps where development of new climate data, information, and services are needed.

Objective Lead:

David Herring, Director
Communication and Education Program
NOAA's Climate Program Office


    Climate Program Office
    1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
    Silver Spring, MD 20910


    Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.