• Search for observations of a specific variable, imposing criteria for instrument exposure: “Show me all winds measured in the last hour between 8 and 20 m above the surface where no obstacles higher than 20 m exist within 50 m of the anemometer.”

  • Search a historical archive: “Show me where no precipitation has fallen in the past 30 days.”

  • Search according to a designated threshold: “Show me where the wind speed currently exceeds 30 knots.”

Clearly, the user interface capable of fulfilling these requests must be versatile, and the database must be quickly accessible. No interface with this sophistication currently exists.


Recommendation: To ensure progress, a centralized authority should be identified to provide or to enable essential core services for the network of networks.

Initially, the focus of such activities should be on markedly improved use and value of data from existing observing systems. As new observational, computational, and communications infrastructure is added, the focus should shift to the prompt and seamless accommodation of these new elements and their related objectives. The provision of core services is essential for adequate access to and the utility of mesoscale observations as applied to multiple national needs.

What the Centralized Authority is Not

The recommendation for a modest degree of centralization is tightly focused on essential core services. It specifically excludes centralization for the purpose of acquisition and operation of observing systems, which are owned and operated by agencies, corporations, and other organization to serve their specific missions. The centralized authority is an enabling element of the broader enterprise that comes into play only insofar as it is necessary to derive added utility and functionality from the network of networks. It does not speak to the ownership, operation, upgrading, or maintenance of the individual networks themselves. It follows that the centralized authority is envisioned as a relatively small but vital fraction of the entire NoN enterprise.

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