Charter for the FGDC Spatial Climate Subcommittee

I. Purpose
II. Scope
III. Lead Agency
IV. Membership
V. Responsibility
VI. Procedures
VII. Subgroups
VIII. Coordinating Mechanisms
IX. Reports
X. Termination

    I. Purpose

The Spatial Climate Subcommittee (SCS) is established under the auspices of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to promote the development and distribution of spatial climate data.  The SCS will help insure the coordination of spatial climate dataset development among public and private developers, and will serve as a focal point for all spatial climate data activities.  It will foster enhanced communication between developers and users of spatial climate data, as well as encourage dialogue regarding prioritization of research and development efforts.  The SCS will seek to establish standards and protocols for spatial climate data, and will promote FGDC and National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) standards in data and metadata within the spatial climate community.

    II.  Scope

The scope of the SCS shall be spatial datasets describing climate. Time series or summarized data collected at discrete points, such as conventional climate station data, are often used to develop spatial climate surfaces.  Standards and protocols for collection of surface climate data have been thoroughly established by responsible agencies, such as the National Weather Service, and in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization. Thus, this subcommittee will not strive to develop redundant or updated standards for these point data. However, in the collection, analysis and modeling of climate data, necessary for the creation of spatial climate datasets derived from point data, valuable information about these point data will be obtained. This may lead to recommendations from this subcommittee regarding climate data instrumentation, quality control, standards, etc.

This subcommittee shall have as its primary focus the spatial climate datasets created from these point data (using a range of methods, from simple interpolation procedures to complex statistical-topographic models), or spatial climate surfaces generated from physically-based numerical computer models. Spatial climate depicted using remotely sensed imagery, such as from satellites or radar, also will be under the purview of this Subcommittee.

    III. Leadership

The agencies initiating, forming and overseeing the Spatial Climate Subcommittee are the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), under the U.S. Department of Commerce. These two agencies share co-leadership responsibilities for the Subcommittee, and are directly responsible to the FGDC, ensuring compliance with FGDC objectives and guidance.

    IV.  Membership

The Subcommittee shall consist of representatives designated by the Federal agencies that create, finance and/or collect spatial climate information as part of their mission, or have direct application of spatial climatic data through legislated mandate. Each member agency of the SCS shall designate its representative, an alternate if necessary, and changes thereto, to the Subcommittee Chairperson. These Federal members shall have formal voting privileges associated with the Subcommittee.  Non-voting membership from other public institutions and from the private sector, including universities, shall be encouraged, and these individuals may make significant contributions to this Subcommittee, as well as to various subgroups (see VII. below).

    V. Responsibilities

A. Facilitate the creation and/or collection of spatial climate information, as well as the various requirements for spatial climate data.

B. Promote the awareness, correct use and distribution of spatial climate data to users worldwide.

C. Facilitate coordination of spatial climate data activities, including exchange of spatial climate information, within member and non-member (where practicable) agencies and organizations.  Review and analyze the needs, plans and activities of appropriate Federal agencies in identifying potential opportunities for coordination and partnering in spatial data development and/or collection.

D. Serve as an information source and exchange site (clearinghouse) for spatial climate modeling, analysis and data papers, reports and information.

E. Assist in the development and adoption of common standards of content, format and accuracy of spatial climate data by all Federal and non-Federal agencies and institutions.

F. Participate in and support the development and evaluation of spatial climate data standards by International and national organizations, and make recommendations for their inclusion in FGDC spatial climate data standards and definitions, as appropriate.

G. Support higher-order crosscutting activities established or recognized by the FGDC.

    VI.  Procedures

Subcommittee meetings shall be held at the call of the Subcommittee Chairperson, and shall be held at least three times each year. Normally, notification of meetings and an agenda will be distributed to Subcommittee members and to the FGDC Executive Secretary at least 10 Federal working days prior to the meeting. Most meetings will be held via teleconference, due to the majority of members residing considerable distance from Washington DC, or any other possible meeting location.

All  decisions shall be on the basis of consensus. When consensus is not reached, the issue will be promptly referred to the FGDC Executive Secretary to be scheduled for resolution.

The Subcommittee Chairperson shall consult with the Chairperson of the FGDC Coordination Group to determine the need for further coordination prior to implementing Subcommittee decisions that impact the FGDC or its subcommittees or working groups.

The Subcommittee may establish additional rules and procedures for conducting business.

    VII. Subgroups

The Subcommittee may create subgroups or task groups at the discretion of the SCS Chairperson, or by majority vote from SCS members.  These groups shall be formed to assist the SCS in carrying out its activities and to meet its responsibilities.  Participation and voting privileges in these subgroups may be drawn from both members and non-members of the SCS, including other organizations, as appropriate. The establishment of subgroups of more than 12 months duration that are in addition to any specified in this charter, and the abolishment of any such subgroup, requires the approval of the FGDC Coordination Group.

    VIII.  Coordinating Mechanisms

The Subcommittee will employ those tools that are best suited to meeting its responsibilities, such as Subcommittee meetings; regional, national and international user forums; user surveys and analyses; spatial climate data user and/or developer workshops and meetings; research initiatives; and cooperative ventures.  The SCS will, through its Chairperson, coordinate its activities with other groups, including FGDC subcommittees, working groups and other components; and other organizations, agencies, committees and entities involved in spatial climate data development and utilization. FGDC coordination shall be via the SCS Chairperson’s participation in the FGDC Coordination Group, and by direct coordination and cooperation with these other FGDC groups on issues of mutual interest.

    IX.  Reports

The Subcommittee shall report to the FGDC annually, by December 31.  This annual status report shall be submitted to the FGDC Executive Secretary and shall contain:

· Accomplishments of the past calendar year
· An operating plan for activities planned for the coming year
· Materials, including other reports, maps, graphs, charts, photographs, that may be of value for inclusion in FGDC reports
· A brief discussion of problems and other matters of interest

The Subcommittee shall submit the operating plan for the coming year for FGDC review and concurrence.

Special reports and technical papers may also be requested by the FGDC during the reporting period describing special projects, coordination with other FGDC subgroups and others, and the development of status graphics or informational and educational brochures relating to spatial climate data development, use and access. 

The SCS Chairperson shall provide a draft report of  SCS meetings, including Subcommittee recommendations and action items, to all SCS members for review prior to approval.

The Subcommittee Chairperson shall provide the final report of Subcommittee meetings to all Subcommittee members and the FGDC Executive Secretary.

    X. Termination

The Spatial Climate Subcommittee shall remain in existence until terminated by the FGDC Coordination Group, or until the Subcommittee itself determines it has completed its useful tenure.