principles and guidelines; that leverages NOAA’s existing data archiving and access infrastructure and expertise; that emphasizes reliability, cost-effectiveness, and broad stakeholder involvement in data management decisions; and that maximizes the societal benefit of existing and planned observational capabilities.

Understanding and predicting environmental change will remain critically important activities throughout the 21st century. These activities depend on historical data and reliable projections of the future evolution of the Earth System, both of which rely on accurate descriptions of current environmental conditions. Hence, it is critical to archive and provide access to the environmental data needed to describe, understand, and predict changes in the Earth System and the impacts of these changes on both natural and human systems. NOAA and its partners are clearly dedicated to continue providing excellent service for their various user communities and to continue meeting their legal mandates and requirements. However, these goals can be achieved only if NOAA’s data management system enables and promotes the discovery, access, and integration of a wide variety of environmental data by a broad range of users. With such abilities, users are empowered to reap the many societal benefits of environmental data and to advance our understanding of the Earth’s environment. NOAA and its partners will, we hope, find the guidance offered in this report useful as they continue to serve as effective stewards of important national assets.

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