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Spatial Climate

Part B
LEAD FEDERAL AGENCY/BUREAU AND/OR SUBCOMMITTEE/WORKING GROUP REPORT (Agencies With Lead Responsibilities Assigned under Current Circular A-16 Authorities)

1. Program/Activity Name:

Spatial Climate Subcommittee - NRCS Chair, Greg Johnson

2. What are the programs this data supports?

  • Broad programmatic support in numerous agencies within USDA, DOC, DOD, DOI, and many state and local governments. This also includes programs administered by the CSREES through land-grant university extension and educational programs.
  • Within USDA these spatial climate data sets support the National Resources Inventory (NRI), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), National Cooperative Soil Survey Program (NCSS) and others.

3. Uses of Data: What are the end uses of this data? How does it benefit customers, support lead and other agency missions, etc.?

  • Used for assessing natural processes, such as soil erosion and wetlands determinations, and for mapping soils.
  • Also used for analyzing the effectiveness of resource management options.
  • Used by customers for assessing potential agricultural production, and for analyzing environmental trends.
  • Primary use is for determining local climatology and making natural resource assessments and supporting planning activities.

4. Charter/Plan: Do you have a current charter or plan for collection? Should it be updated?

  • Yes, no need for update.
  • The Subcommittee was created in May 2000, and the charter was approved in October 2000.

5. Metadata: What is the status of metadata? Is it discoverable and served through the NSDI Clearinghouse? What percentage of this theme's data has metadata and is in a Clearinghouse node?

  • Metadata have been developed for nearly all climatic themes presently available (mean monthly and annual precipitation and temperature, for example). Documentation efforts continue to cover those themes lacking information.
  • Available through the NSDI Clearinghouse of which NRCS is a node.

6. Standards: What is the status of this theme's data, process, transfer, and classification standards?

  • Standards are a new topic for the subcommittee and will be addressed in the fall 2001 at subcommittee meetings.
  • Existing, recognized standards will be reviewed and used where appropriate.
  • Full FGDC metadata standards are presently the subcommittee-endorsed protocol for spatial climate data.

7. Progress: List FY 2000/2001 activities/progress to date

  • Meetings held: Dec. 14, 1999; Oct. 4, 2000; and Mar. 5, 2001
  • Subcommittee formally approved by FGDC Coordination Committee May, 2000.
  • Task force formed to investigate standards for climatic geospatial data sets; formalization of subcommittee recommendations expected late 2001.
  • Subcommittee web page developed. Future web page direction now being discussed. See:
  • Presently 15 subcommittee members-10 Federal and 5 University/State.
  • Definition of climate developed and accepted for revised OMB Circular A-16.
  • Prioritization and coordination of spatial climate data set development across agencies presently a subcommittee goal.

8. Leadership: Describe your active leadership role with others (private, local, State, Federal) who collect and use this data.

  • Presently, the subcommittee is establishing itself within Federal and State agencies as the lead coordinating body for spatial climate data development.
  • Coordination between co-leaders in spatial climate (USDA and DOC), as well as with other agencies and departments represented on the subcommittee (DOD-Army, Air Force; TVA; various land-grant universities; and state and local governments).

9. Collaborative Partnerships: How many major partnerships with others do you have on this theme?

  • Major partnership between USDA-NRCS and DOC-NOAA/NCDC in the production of spatial climate data sets for the U.S.
  • Collaborating with the Spatial Climate Analysis Service at Oregon State University

10. Scope: Are you engaged in broad participation and international/global coordination?


11. Policy: Do you have a policy in place for full and open access or data sharing?

  • No formal policy yet, but subcommittee discussions have fully endorsed the concept of open access to fully-government-funded spatial climate data sets.
  • Subcommittee also seeks to form alliances with other state, local and private entities involved in spatial climate data development to ensure information about data access is fully known.

12. Are there areas or issues regarding lead responsibilities for spatial data themes that require attention, or lessons-learned that you would like to share with others?

Base funding for spatial climate development within the Federal government is a significant issue. Most funding to date for these activities has been via special projects, without substantial collaboration between departments and agencies. In general, funding has been inadequate to meet the significant demands for these products within and outside the Federal government. This will be a goal of the subcommittee-to help ensure that adequate funding for these projects can be obtained, and that cooperation between agencies is realized. The updating of precipitation frequency map products by the National Weather Service, in collaboration with many other Federal agencies, and other public and private entities, serves as a prime example of this issue.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2006 03:07 PM
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