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Blog Category: National

NOAA: Sixth-Warmest February in Combined Global Surface Temperature, Fifth-Warmest December-February

Last month’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the sixth-warmest February ever recorded. Additionally, the December 2009-February 2010 period was the fifth-warmest on record averaged for any similar three-month Northern Hemisphere winter-Southern Hemisphere summer season, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to businesses, communities and governments so they may make informed decisions to safeguard their social and economic well-being. (More)

Secretary Locke Convenes Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Meeting

Locke at lectern with other participants in background.

In response to President Obama's recently-unveiled goal of doubling American exports over the next five years with the National Export Initiative (NEI), U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted the second meeting of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) at the department. The TPCC, established in 1992, is an interagency group chaired by the Secretary of Commerce to establish trade promotion priorities that boost exports and create jobs. Later, he hosted a press conference with TPCC members, including Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Mills and others.

Secretary Locke: Commerce Helps Cities

Locke on podium. Click for larger image.

In remarks to the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke focused on the ways the Department of Commerce assists American cities, describing the core mission of the department as “making American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad so they can create good jobs in communities throughout America.” Commerce is the lead agency for expanding high-speed Internet and broadband access, building critical economic infrastructure through regional innovation clusters, and increasing U.S. exports through the president’s National Export Initiative. (Remarks)

NOAA: Imminent Flood Threat in Midwest, South and East at Risk

Map of U.S. showing areas of flood risk. Click for larger image.

Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual. Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk—with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year. (More)

Secretary Locke Discusses Travel and Tourism Industry at American Hotel and Lodging Association Summit

Locke on podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the American Hotel and Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit to discuss the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. Locke spoke about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the role travel and tourism plays in growing American jobs. He also discussed plans for implementation of the recently-signed Travel Promotion Act, which establishes a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. (Remarks)

FEMA and NOAA Renew Partnership to Encourage Flood Safety

NOAA logo. Click to go to Web site.

As one of the snowiest winter seasons in many years yields to warmer weather and the promise of rain and snowmelt, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FloodSmart campaign and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced they are again working together during Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 15-19) to raise awareness of the dangers associated with flooding and steps to protect against damage. (More) (Map)

Secretary Locke Participates in White House Web Chat to Discuss National Export Initiative

Video clip of Web chat.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took questions from the public on exports, the economy and the President’s National Export Initiative online at Whitehouse.gov/live today. Questions came from the discussion itself, but members of the public were also encouraged to submit their questions ahead of time via Twitter by sending a message to @SecLocke or emailing open[at]doc[dot]gov. Locke also announced an unprecedented schedule of upcoming international trade missions. (Web chat) (Trade missions release) (List of trade missions—PDF) (NEI Executive order)

NOAA: U.S. Winter and February Cooler Than Average

U.S. map graphic with temperature ranges. Click for full-size graphic.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that temperatures were below normal for the contiguous U.S. for the winter season (December through February). The winter season was wetter than normal; however precipitation in February alone was slightly below average. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (More) (Temperature map) (Precipitation map) (State of the Climate Report)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Brazil to Meet with Key Leaders to Strengthen Bilateral, Commercial Relationship

Secretary Locke with Forum participants. Click for larger image.

Photo: American embassy in Brazil

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Brasilia, Brazil, to meet with key Brazilian leaders, American companies, and public and private sector co-chairs of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. During his meetings with American business leaders, Locke will discuss the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative and how it will help those businesses become more competitive abroad while supporting job creation here at home. (March 8 release) (March 9 release)

Newest NOAA Geostationary Satellite Reaches Orbit

GOES emblem

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA officials announced a new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), launched tonight, successfully reached its initial orbit, joining four other GOES spacecraft that help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity. “Our geostationary satellites are the nation’s weather sentinels in the sky,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “With more than 35 million Americans living in hurricane prone areas and more than 1,000 tornadoes touching down in the U.S. annually, we need the reliable, accurate data that these satellites provide.” (More) (Launch image)