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Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPP and NPOESS Meteorological Satellites E The Basis for a National Climate Data Archive This appendix, which provides background on and examines several issues in the historical quest for a national climate data system, is intended to be a brief overview and relies heavily on two key documents (NRC, 1999; USGCRP, 1999). NATIONAL CLIMATE DATA ACT OF 1978 The basis for a national climate data archive is well established and dates to at least the National Climate Program Act of 1978.1 This act continues in force, and the Department of Commerce is tasked to provide, among other things, "systems for the management and active dissemination of climatological data and information." NOAA is currently executing its role as guardian and distributor of the data; however, as documented in this report, increased support will be required to prevent the loss of future data. AGREEMENTS BETWEEN NASA AND NOAA Historically, NASA has had the responsibility for space science data. It processes, disseminates, and sometimes retains the data from its programs. In the EOS era, an attempt was made to create a data system (EOSDIS) to maintain the large volume of data expected from the EOS spacecraft. The problems of EOSDIS have been reviewed by several committees and are not discussed here. A 1989 MOU2 between NASA and NOAA called for NASA to transfer all "oceans and atmospheric" data to NOAA and for NOAA to provide information on its GOES, POES, and related European satellite data for inclusion in the EOSDIS Information Management System. With the gradual demise of EOSDIS, this latter requirement may have become moot, but the intent was clear that NOAA is the administrator of the data. In 1999, NASA and NOAA drafted a second MOU that provides for a partnership, "Generating Long-Term Climate Records from Earth Observing Satellite Data." This is the basis for ongoing cooperation between the NCDC and various NASA science projects. It forms the basis of the agreements on NPP and NPOESS (see Chapter 2). The establishment of the NewDISS as a replacement for EOSDIS is expected to lead to a distributed system with a number of elements that vary in their approach to data production and storage. This "federation" of centers avoids several problems of EOSDIS and other centralized software projects. Each development is more manageable and is completed in a shorter time. This approach allows evolutionary incorporation of new technology into the system and prevents early obsolescence. These specialized active archive centers can be built quickly and eliminated as the programs they represent are completed. However, it puts more pressure on a LTA to absorb and maintain the data sets. Detailed plans for NewDISS and its relationship to a future climate LTA were not available to the committee at the time this report was written.
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NATIONAL SPACE POLICY The President, through his Science Advisor, generates space policy statements that set the policy and overall goals of the U.S. Space Program. The policy statement in 1996 (NSTC PDD-8) again indicated that NOAA has responsibility for the data on the civil side. The following quote allows for a data archival, though it does not require one: The Department of Commerce (DoC), through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has the lead responsibility for managing Federal space-based civil operational Earth observations necessary to meet civil requirements. In this role, the DoC, in coordination with other appropriate agencies, will: (a) acquire data, conduct research and analyses, and make required predictions about the Earth's environment; (b) consolidate operational U.S. Government civil requirements for data products, and define and operate Earth observation systems in support of operational monitoring needs; and (c) in accordance with current policy and Public Law 102-555 provide for the regulation and licensing of the operation of private sector remote sensing systems. DATA MANAGEMENT FOR THE GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is often identified as a vehicle for climate and related research. The program commands the attention of a large segment of the scientific community interested in climate and Earth observation from space. However, the USGRCP is not a single entity or agency of the government but a collection of interested parties. As such, it is not an effective body for the management of a climate program but would be an effective voice in providing guidelines, requirements, and direction for the research. An extensive review of the USGCRP was carried out recently by the NRC Committee on Global Change Research (NRC, 1999). The NRC review was concerned largely with the future direction of global change research; however, issues related to data system problems were also addressed. In particular, Chapter 9, "Processing and Distributing Earth Observations and Information," supports the long-term functional requirements of the EOSDIS; it also outlines several objectives for the data system. Several of the findings and recommendations of the 1999 NRC report specifically address data systems.3 The committee concurs with the NRC guidance; further, it believes this guidance is consistent with that presented by participants at the February 2000 workshop. Specifically, workshop participants advised that in designing a climate data LTA for NPP and NPOESS the following should be done: A general set of functional requirements should be provided; Interfaces should be specified at a high level to ensure interoperability and to foster use of the data; Responsibility for development should be given to interested (users) groups that understand the data; and
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Development of the archive should be accomplished via the combination of smaller segments. The committee notes that these steps are consistent with a strategy that gives NOAA overall responsibility for the data archive, with ancillary agreements between NASA and NOAA as needed. REFERENCES National Research Council (NRC), Board on Sustainable Development. 1999. Global Environmental Challenge: Research Pathways for the Next Decade. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Global Change Science Requirements for Long-Term Archiving, Report of the Workshop, October 28-30, 1998, Boulder, Colo., March 1999. 1 Section 108 of Public Law 101-606, "Global Change Research Act of 1990," November 16, 1990 refers to the National Climate Program Act of 1978 (15 USC 2901 et seq.) See NRC 1999, Appendix A. See also http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/ch56.html#PC56. 2 A copy of this MOU is included in USGCRP, 1999. 3 Finding 5, Recommendation 5, and discussion on p. 531 of Chapter 11, "Findings and Recommendations," in NRC (1999).