WEATHER SERVICES

FOR THE NATION

Becoming Second to None

 

 

Committee on the Assessment of the
National Weather Service’s Modernization Program


Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate


Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                        OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES



THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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WEATHER SERVICES FOR THE NATION Becoming Second to None Committee on the Assessment of the National Weather Service's Modernization Program Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number DG133R08CQ0062, Task Order #8. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agency or any of its sub agencies. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-25972-9 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-25972-X Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advis- ing the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON THE ASSESSMENT OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE'S MODERNIZATION PROGRAM JOHN A. ARMSTRONG (Chair), Retired, IBM Corporation, Amherst, Massachusetts JAMES D. DOYLE, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California PAMELA EMCH, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, California WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, Colorado DAVID J. GOCHIS, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado EVE GRUNTFEST, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs HOLLY HARTMANN, University of Arizona, Tucson KEVIN A. KLOESEL, University of Oklahoma, Norman NICHOLAS LAMPSON,* Retired, United States House of Representatives, Beaumont, Texas JOHN W. MADDEN, Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Fort Richardson GORDON MCBEAN, University of Western Ontario, Canada DAVID J. MCLAUGHLIN, University of Massachusetts, Amherst ADRIAN E. RAFTERY, University of Washington, Seattle JAMES L. RASMUSSEN, Retired, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Frederick, Maryland PAUL L. SMITH, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City JOHN TOOHEY-MORALES, NBC-6 WTVJ-TV and ClimaData, Miami, Florida NRC Staff MAGGIE WALSER, Study Director AMANDA PURCELL, Research Associate RICARDO PAYNE, Senior Program Assistant Asterisk (*) denotes member who resigned during the course of the study. v

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Preface T he Modernization and Associated Restructur- information, or other technical information. They ing (MAR) of the National Weather Service include Rick Anthes, Ray Ban, Stan Benjamin, Rit (NWS) was completed in 2000. This Com- Carbone, Fred Carr, Don Cline, John Cortinas, Walt mittee was formed to conduct a comprehensive assess- Dabberdt, Julie Demuth, Dan Eleuterio, Doug Forsyth, ment of the MAR. In its first report, the Committee Mike Foster, Robert Gall, Mike Hudson, Jack Hayes, concluded that the MAR was a success and worth the Pam Heinselman, Susan Joslyn, Kevin Kelleher, Mary investment. This report contains the second part of Kicza, Jeff Lazo, Frank Marks, Curtis Marshall, Cliff the Committee's work, advice for the NWS on how Mass, Berrien Moore, Rebecca Morss, Liz Quoetone, best to plan, deploy, and oversee future improvements, Ed Rappaport, Bill Read, Gary Reisner, Tim Spangler, based on lessons learned from the MAR. It is the Travis Smith, Dave Stensrud, Fred Toepfer, and Louis Committee's hope that the recommendations in this Uccellini. report will aid the NWS in becoming second to none The Committee would also like to thank all those in integrating advances in science and technology into who have firsthand experience with the MAR who their operations and meeting user needs. briefed us as we prepared our first report. Their input To carry out the second part of its charge, the was equally valuable as we prepared this report. The Committee held four in-person meetings during individuals who briefed the Committee or provided which they heard input from a range of NWS staff and information as we prepared our first report include Carl stakeholders in the larger weather, water, and climate Bjerkaas, Gary Carter, Valery Dagostaro, Joe Facundo, enterprise. The Committee reviewed the literature, George Frederick, Joe Friday, Mary Glackin, Richard NWS documents, and other relevant information, Hallgren, Jack Hayes, Rick Heuwinkel, Richard Hirn, and met by phone. In addition, the Committee hosted Fiona Horsfall, Jack Kelly, Chuck Kluepfel, Ken Kraus, a Town Hall Meeting at the 92nd Annual Meeting Sandy MacDonald, Lauren Marone, Frank Misciasci, of the American Meteorological Society as a way of Joel Myers, Vickie Nadolski, Tim Owen, Maria gathering input from the community. The Town Hall Pirone, Bill Proenza, Barry Reichenbaugh, Buddy Meeting attendees represented the public, private, and Ritchie, Jae-Kyung Schemm, Bob Serafin, John Sokich, academic sectors. Margaret Spring, Louis Uccellini, Rich Vogt, Glenn This report would not have been possible without White, and Doug Young. Our sincerest thanks are the assistance of many of our colleagues in the enter- extended to Edward Johnson and John Sokich for their prise. The Committee would like to acknowledge the help and support throughout the study process. The many individuals who briefed us, provided written Committee is grateful for the insights provided by John vii

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viii PREFACE Snow, who served as the liaison from the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. The Committee is greatly indebted to Study Director Maggie Walser and to Senior Program Assistant Ricardo Payne for their expert support. John A. Armstrong, Chair Committee on the Assessment of the National Weather Service's Modernization Program

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Acknowledgments T his report has been reviewed in draft form by Matthew Parker, Savannah River National individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina and technical expertise, in accordance with pro- Maria Pirone, Harris Corporation, Washington, DC cedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Com- Scott Rayder, University Corporation for mittee. The purpose of this independent review is to Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado provide candid and critical comments that will assist the Elizabeth Ritchie, Arizona State University, institution in making its published report as sound as Tucson possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional George Smith, Riverside Technology, Inc., standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness Moneta, Virginia to the study charge. The review comments and draft Joseph Yura, Retired, University of Texas, Austin manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the follow Although the reviewers listed above have provided ing individuals for their participation in their review of many constructive comments and suggestions, they were this report: not asked to endorse the conclusions nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of Grady Booch, IBM Research, Littleton, Colorado this report was overseen by Dr. Shuyi Chen, University Robert Brammer, Brammer Technologies, LLC, of Miami, Florida, appointed by the Division on Earth Andover, Massachusetts and Life Studies, and Dr. Neal Lane, Rice University, Gilbert Brunet, Environment Canada, Quebec, Houston, Texas, appointed by the Report Review Com- Canada mittee, who were responsible for making certain that an Jenni Evans, Pennsylvania State University, independent examination of this report was carried out University Park in accordance with institutional procedures and that all Kai Lee, Packard Foundation, Los Altos, California review comments were carefully considered. Responsi- Barry Myers, Accuweather, State College, bility for the final content of this report rests entirely Pennsylvania with the authoring committee and the institution. ix

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS x Institutional oversight for this project was provided by: BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR. (Chair), University of Maryland, College Park GERALD A. MEEHL (Vice Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research LANCE F. BOSART, State University of New York, Albany RICHARD CARBONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado SHUYI S. CHEN, University of Miami, Florida KIRSTIN DOW, University of South Carolina, Columbia GREG S. FORBES, The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia LISA GODDARD, Columbia University, Palisades, New York ISAAC HELD, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, New Jersey ANTHONY JANETOS, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, Maryland HAROON S. KHESHGI, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Annandale, New Jersey MICHAEL D. KING, University of Colorado, Boulder JOHN E. KUTZBACH, University of Wisconsin-Madison ARTHUR LEE, Chevron Corporation, San Ramon, California ROBERT J. LEMPERT, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California ROGER B. LUKAS, University of Hawaii, Honolulu SUMANT NIGAM, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, College Park, Maryland RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT, University of Chicago, Illinois KIMBERLY PRATHER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California RICH RICHELS, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc., Washington, DC DAVID A. ROBINSON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway KIRK R. SMITH, University of California, Berkeley JOHN T. SNOW, University of Oklahoma, Norman CLAUDIA TEBALDI, Climate Central, Princeton, New Jersey XUBIN ZENG, University of Arizona, Tucson NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer MAGGIE WALSER, Program Officer KATIE THOMAS, Associate Program Officer LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate AMANDA PURCELL, Research Associate RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate SHELLY FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant RICARDO PAYNE, Senior Program Assistant ELIZABETH FINKLEMAN, Program Assistant GRAIG MANSFIELD, Financial Associate

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Contents SUMMARY1 1THE RATIONALE FOR FURTHER EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 7 Today's Key Challenges, 7 The Evolving Context, 10 Responding to the Challenges, 11 2 PRIORITIZE CORE CAPABILITIES 17 Foundational Datasets, 17 Essential Functions, 30 Operationally Related Research, 31 Advisory Groups for Technological Improvements, 36 3 EVALUATE FUNCTION AND STRUCTURE 39 Possible Realignment of Offices, 40 Workforce Training, 44 4 LEVERAGE THE ENTIRE ENTERPRISE 49 The Opportunity and Goal, 51 Implementing a Leveraged Enterprise, 54 Challenges and Risks, 57 International Partners, 57 Acquisition Partners, 58 REFERENCES59 APPENDIXES A STATEMENT OF TASK 63 B ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 65 C BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS 69 xi

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