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1993 Review of the World Data Center-A for Meteorology and the National Climatic Data Center Climate data are stored in a number of repositories around the nation, of which the NCDC is the largest. Some climatic datasets are stored in multiple repositories and others in only one. Some of these datasets constitute the centerpiece of a full system which includes deployment, maintenance, acquisition, quality control, storage, access, and dissemination. Thus, there is a highly distributed system in the nation, both for climatic datasets and for responding to requests for climatic information. For this distributed system to operate most efficiently and to be most useful to its diverse clientele, good communications and relations among the different levels in the hierarchy are essential. In past years the NCDC was always integrally and automatically involved in such efforts, but the increasing number of players in this arena, both inside and outside NOAA, present ongoing challenges in coordination. The extremely rapid growth of electronic communications, featuring widespread access to computer networks and, in particular, the Internet, is further hastening the movement toward a distributed system of data and services. Although traditional forms of interaction (telephone and mail) will remain significant for the foreseeable future, the networking revolution brings the potential for substantial change in present methods of transacting center business. World Data Center-A for Meteorology The WDC-A for Meteorology is collocated with and operated by the NCDC. The NCDC staff carry out the functions of the WDC, including processing requests for data and managing databases and computing facilities. With the exception of cataloging foreign data files, funding for the WDC is not separately allocated. The NCDC is strongly committed to supporting the WDC-A for Meteorology, however, as indicated by the explicit wording in the NCDC mission statement and by an overall increase in funding over the past several years. The WDC-A for Meteorology is a mechanism for the bilateral exchange of international climate data, both as an independent entity and as a partner in the U.S. Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS). The WDC database is separate and distinct from that of the
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