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
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
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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.
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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
MAGGIE WALSER, Study Director
AMANDA PURCELL, Research Associate
RICARDO PAYNE, Senior Program Assistant
Asterisk (*) denotes member who resigned during the course of the study.
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The Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR) of the National Weather Service (NWS) was completed in 2000. This Committee was formed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the MAR. In its first report, the Committee concluded that the MAR was a success and worth the investment. This report contains the second part of the Committee’s work, advice for the NWS on how best to plan, deploy, and oversee future improvements, based on lessons learned from the MAR. It is the Committee’s hope that the recommendations in this report will aid the NWS in becoming second to none in integrating advances in science and technology into their operations and meeting user needs.
To carry out the second part of its charge, the Committee held four in-person meetings during which they heard input from a range of NWS staff and stakeholders in the larger weather, water, and climate enterprise. The Committee reviewed the literature, NWS documents, and other relevant information, and met by phone. In addition, the Committee hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society as a way of gathering input from the community. The Town Hall Meeting attendees represented the public, private, and academic sectors.
This report would not have been possible without the assistance of many of our colleagues in the enterprise. The Committee would like to acknowledge the many individuals who briefed us, provided written information, or other technical information. They include Rick Anthes, Ray Ban, Stan Benjamin, Rit Carbone, Fred Carr, Don Cline, John Cortinas, Walt Dabberdt, Julie Demuth, Dan Eleuterio, Doug Forsyth, Mike Foster, Robert Gall, Mike Hudson, Jack Hayes, Pam Heinselman, Susan Joslyn, Kevin Kelleher, Mary Kicza, Jeff Lazo, Frank Marks, Curtis Marshall, Cliff Mass, Berrien Moore, Rebecca Morss, Liz Quoetone, Ed Rappaport, Bill Read, Gary Reisner, Tim Spangler, Travis Smith, Dave Stensrud, Fred Toepfer, and Louis Uccellini.
The Committee would also like to thank all those who have firsthand experience with the MAR who briefed us as we prepared our first report. Their input was equally valuable as we prepared this report. The individuals who briefed the Committee or provided information as we prepared our first report include Carl Bjerkaas, Gary Carter, Valery Dagostaro, Joe Facundo, George Frederick, Joe Friday, Mary Glackin, Richard Hallgren, Jack Hayes, Rick Heuwinkel, Richard Hirn, Fiona Horsfall, Jack Kelly, Chuck Kluepfel, Ken Kraus, Sandy MacDonald, Lauren Marone, Frank Misciasci, Joel Myers, Vickie Nadolski, Tim Owen, Maria Pirone, Bill Proenza, Barry Reichenbaugh, Buddy Ritchie, Jae-Kyung Schemm, Bob Serafin, John Sokich, Margaret Spring, Louis Uccellini, Rich Vogt, Glenn White, and Doug Young. Our sincerest thanks are extended to Edward Johnson and John Sokich for their help and support throughout the study process. The Committee is grateful for the insights provided by John
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
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 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 participation in their review of this report:
Grady Booch, IBM Research, Littleton, Colorado
Robert Brammer, Brammer Technologies, LLC, Andover, Massachusetts
Gilbert Brunet, Environment Canada, Quebec, Canada
Jenni Evans, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
Kai Lee, Packard Foundation, Los Altos, California
Barry Myers, Accuweather, State College, Pennsylvania
Matthew Parker, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina
Maria Pirone, Harris Corporation, Washington, DC
Scott Rayder, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
Elizabeth Ritchie, Arizona State University, Tucson
George Smith, Riverside Technology, Inc., Moneta, Virginia
Joseph Yura, Retired, University of Texas, Austin
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. Shuyi Chen, University of Miami, Florida, appointed by the Division on Earth and Life Studies, and Dr. Neal Lane, Rice University, Houston, Texas, appointed by the Report Review Committee, who were 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.
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
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