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Box I.4.1 Recommendations for Leadership and
Management in the Atmospheric Sciences
• Develop a strategic viewpoint to shape an
increasingly distributed national structure for providing
atmospheric information from a variety of governmental and
• Maintain the free and open exchange of
atmospheric observations among all countries, and preserve the free
and open exchange of data among scientists.
• Develop a clear understanding of the
benefits and costs of weather and climate services.
Two primary consequences of the contemporary information
revolution for atmospheric sciences and services are the
1. Quantitative information on nearly any topic is readily
available on global information networks. Individuals with a modem
and a computer have unprecedented resources for examining global
weather and climate data, visualizations, and predictions. What was
once the province of government supercomputers is now common
2. Computer-to-computer communication enables weather-dependent
enterprises to incorporate atmospheric information more readily
into their decision making. Four-dimensional data bases containing
the classical meteorological variables can be transformed into
four-dimensional data bases containing variables of interest to
users and critical to their decisions.
The full implications for public and private weather services
are not yet clear, but it is obvious that rapid change is in
A Changing System for Providing
From the beginning of organized attempts to forecast weather
events a century or so ago, nearly all observation networks and
both national and global analysis and prediction services have been
instituted, funded, and managed by national governments. In the
United States, public forecasts and warnings of severe weather are
the responsibility of the National Weather Service (NWS). The
centralized model has served this and other nations well in many
respects, leading to greatly improved observations and the
impressive weather prediction capabilities enjoyed today in all
As communications capabilities improved, weather information
became a potential source of competitive advantage or profit.
Private-sector weather fore-