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Observing Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks
nizations; municipalities, state governments, and federal agencies; and small businesses and Fortune 500 corporations. While each of these entities is important to the enterprise, all have a limited mission and therefore a mission-limited role where provision of infrastructure and services is concerned. A hybrid public-private organization would encourage the leadership and prominence of federal agencies such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while also protecting, facilitating, and enabling the role of other interests, which are essential to the success of the collaborative enterprise.
While the mesoscale observational enterprise extends far and wide throughout the nation’s commerce, industry, academia, and all levels of government, the federal role is pivotal. This is especially important in the case of costly three-dimensional observations, which enable short-range numerical weather prediction, the nowcasting of high impact weather, and chemical weather predictions.
THE EVOLVING HUMAN DIMENSION
The societal uses of mesoscale information are evolving rapidly, and these are increasingly interactive with the technical enterprise of weather prediction and climate monitoring. The need for information is sometimes driven by the increased importance of specific physical, dynamical, and chemical processes to new applications in an expanding user base. However, other needs are driven by behavioral change, evolving social values, and changing demographics. This aspect of mesoscale network design and evolving requirements must be viewed as a two-way process that includes integrated feedback mechanisms.
Recommendation: The stakeholders should commission an independentteam of social and physical scientists to conduct an end-user assessmentfor selected sectors. The assessment should quantify further the currentuse and value of mesoscale data in decision making and also projectfuture trends and the value associated with proposed new observations.Upon the implementation and utilization of improved observations,periodic assessments should be conducted to quantify change in mesoscale data use and the added societal impact and value.
In addition to the involvement of known data providers and users, a less formal survey should capture user comments from blogs and webpage feedback. Such a survey would actively seek out comments from people who are registered or who regularly access the data. The broad objectives of a survey would be to