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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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WHEN WEATHER MATTERS

Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs

Committee on Progress and Priorities of U.S. Weather Research and Research-to-Operations Activities

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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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.

Support for this study was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract number NNX08AB07G, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number NA08OAR4310740, and the National Science Foundation under contract number ATM-0809051. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors or any of their sub agencies.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-15249-5

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-15249-6

Copies of this report are available from the program office:

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Additional copies of this report are available from the

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Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


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 advising 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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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COMMITTEE ON PROGRESS AND PRIORITIES OF U.S. WEATHER RESEARCH AND RESEARCH-TO-OPERATIONS ACTIVITIES

WALTER F. DABBERDT (Chair),

Vaisala, Inc., Boulder, Colorado

RICHARD E. CARBONE,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

SHUYI S. CHEN,

University of Miami, Florida

GREG S. FORBES,

The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

REBECCA MORSS,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

JOHN T. SNOW,

University of Oklahoma, Norman

XUBIN ZENG,

University of Arizona, Tucson

NRC Staff

CURTIS MARSHALL, Senior Program Officer

TOBY WARDEN, Program Officer

MAGGIE WALSER, Associate Program Officer

LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate

JANEISE STURDIVANT, Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE

ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR. (Chair),

University of Maryland, College Park

ROSINA M. BIERBAUM,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

RICHARD E. CARBONE,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

WALTER F. DABBERDT,

Vaisala, Inc., Boulder, Colorado

KIRSTIN DOW,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

GREG S. FORBES,

The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

ISAAC HELD,

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, New Jersey

ARTHUR LEE,

Chevron Corporation, San Ramon, California

RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT,

University of Chicago, Illinois

KIMBERLY PRATHER,

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

KIRK R. SMITH,

University of California, Berkeley

JOHN T. SNOW,

University of Oklahoma, Norman

THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR,

Colorado State University/Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins

XUBIN ZENG,

University of Arizona, Tucson

Ex Officio Members

GERALD A. MEEHL,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

NRC Staff

CHRIS ELFRING, Director

EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer

LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer

IAN KRAUCUNAS, Senior Program Officer

MARTHA MCCONNELL, Program Officer

TOBY WARDEN, Program Officer

MAGGIE WALSER, Associate Program Officer

KATIE WELLER, Associate Program Officer

JOSEPH CASOLA, Postdoctoral Fellow

RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator

LAUREN BROWN, Research Associate

ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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SHELLY FREELAND, Senior Program Assistant

AMANDA PURCELL, Senior Program Assistant

RICARDO PAYNE, Program Assistant

JANEISE STURDIVANT, Program Assistant

SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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Preface

Every 2 or 3 years, the National Research Council’s Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) conducts a Summer Study workshop on a subject selected by BASC as topical and important. The subject of the 2009 BASC Summer Study workshop was “Progress and Priorities of U.S. Weather Research and Research-to-Operations Activities.” About 50 experts in various aspects of weather research and operations joined the eight committee members and BASC staff for 2 full days of presentations, discussion, and debate; Appendix E contains the workshop agenda, and Appendix F lists the workshop participants. The workshop provided a foundation of ideas and information for this report. To build upon the information-gathering workshop, the committee held three in-person meetings and several teleconferences and undertook additional study to elaborate on many of the findings and questions from the workshop. This report has been peer-reviewed and contains recommendations that are primarily addressed to the sponsoring federal agencies.1 However, virtually all of the eight major recommendations are also germane to the academic community and the private sector. In addition to specific research and transitional research-to-operations (R2O) aspects of the recommendations, there are also numerous references to the need to maintain, create, and nourish effective partnerships among the public, private, and academic sectors. This is especially the case with regard to transitioning research findings into operations, but it applies as well to many of the research needs identified in the study. Fully realizing the potential for vastly improved weather knowledge, information, and forecasts requires close collaboration among all three sectors of the weather enterprise in the United States. Our nation has the advantage of having the most sophisticated and well-developed private weather sector in the world, and this will

1

This study was organized by the National Research Council with funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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aid us in realizing that potential more quickly and effectively. The strength of the domestic private weather sector is in large part a consequence of its interactions with the federal agencies and academia. The committee hopes that this report will provide readers with an even greater appreciation of the value of the interactions and feedbacks among the three sectors.

This report is not a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. weather research and the transition of research findings and products into operations but instead is a snapshot of the weather community as gauged by the workshop participants and the study committee. Further, the report does not seek to address important issues uniquely related to climate research nor does it touch on intra- and interagency organizational procedures and practices. Instead, the report puts forth the committee’s best judgment on the most pressing high-level, weather-focused research challenges and R2O needs and makes corresponding recommendations. These are made pertaining to a broad set of ongoing or “established” issues that include observations, global nonhydrostatic modeling, data assimilation, probabilistic forecasting, quantitative precipitation and hydrologic forecasting, and predictability. The report also identifies three important, “emerging” issues—very high impact weather, urban meteorology, and renewable energy development—that were not identified (or were largely undervalued) in previous studies.

The committee could not have done its work without the professional and collegial support of the BASC staff throughout. They organized the summer workshop on very short notice, served as reporters and participants in the workshop’s small-group discussions, managed the various committee meetings, and took care of the many important details in organizing this report. The committee’s sincere thanks and acknowledgment are gratefully extended to Dr. Maggie Walser, Associate Program Officer; Dr. Toby Warden, Program Officer; Dr. Curtis Marshall, Senior Program Officer; Ms. Lauren Brown, Research Assistant; Ms. Rita Gaskins, Administrative Coordinator; and Ms. JaNeise Sturdivant, Program Assistant. The committee also thanks all of the invited experts who gave so freely of their time and participated in the summer workshop (please refer to Appendixes E and F) and extends special appreciation to Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald, Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Earth Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL), who could not attend the summer workshop but instead made a presentation on ESRL research perspectives at the committee’s October 6–7, 2009, meeting in Boulder, Colorado. Last, the committee extends its thanks and appreciation to the experts who reviewed the draft of this report. Their comments were most insightful and extremely helpful.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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For my part, this has been a rewarding experience to have worked with and learned from so many who are so obviously devoted to our science and what it can do for humanity.


Walter F. Dabberdt, Chair

Committee on Progress and Priorities of U.S. Weather Research and Research-to-Operations Activities

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Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

RONI AVISSAR, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

OTIS BROWN, University of Miami, Florida

KEN CRAWFORD, University of Oklahoma, Norman

JOHN DUTTON, Pennsylvania State University, State College

SUE GRIMMOND, Kings College, London, London, UK

HEATHER LAZRUS, Social Science Woven Into Meteorology, Norman, Oklahoma

DENNIS LETTENMAIER, University of Washington, Seattle

CLIFF MASS, University of Washington, Seattle

ROBERT MEYER, University of Miami, Florida

PETER NEILLEY, WSI Corporation, Andover, Massachusetts

RUSS SCHUMACHER, Texas A&M University, College Station

SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine

ISTVAN SZUNYOGH, Texas A&M University, College Station

Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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release. The review of this report was overseen by Lee Branscome, Climatological Consulting Corporation Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. When Weather Matters: Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12888.
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The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to realize its prediction potential; as a result, the nation is not mitigating weather impacts to the extent possible.

This book represents a sense of the weather community as guided by the discussions of a Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate community workshop held in summer 2009. The book puts forth the committee's judgment on the most pressing high level, weather-focused research challenges and research to operations needs, and makes corresponding recommendations. The book addresses issues including observations, global non-hydrostatic coupled modeling, data assimilation, probabilistic forecasting, and quantitative precipitation and hydrologic forecasting. The book also identifies three important, emerging issues--predictions of very high impact weather, urban meteorology, and renewable energy development--not recognized or emphasized in previous studies. Cutting across all of these challenges is a set of socioeconomic issues, whose importance and emphasis--while increasing--has been undervalued and underemphasized in the past and warrants greater recognition and priority today.

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