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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                        OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES



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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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Preface

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

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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 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.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Weather Services for the Nation: Becoming Second to None. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13429.
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During the 1980s and 1990s, the National Weather Service (NWS) undertook a major program called the Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR). The MAR was officially completed in 2000. No comprehensive assessment of the execution of the MAR plan, or comparison of the promised benefits of the MAR to its actual impact, had ever been conducted. Therefore, Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an end-to-end assessment. That report, The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring: A Retrospective Assessment, concluded that the MAR was a success.

Now, twelve years after the official completion of the MAR, the challenges faced by the NWS are no less important than those of the pre-MAR era. The three key challenges are: 1) Keeping Pace with accelerating scientific and technological advancement, 2) Meeting Expanding and Evolving User Needs in an increasingly information centric society, and 3) Partnering with an Increasingly Capable Enterprise that has grown considerably since the time of the MAR.

Weather Services for the Nation presents three main recommendations for responding to these challenges. These recommendations will help the NWS address these challenges, making it more agile and effective. This will put it on a path to becoming second to none at integrating advances in science and technology into its operations and at meeting user needs, leading in some areas and keeping pace in others. It will have the highest quality core capabilities among national weather services. It will have a more agile organizational structure and workforce that allow it to directly or indirectly reach more end-users, save more lives, and help more businesses. And it will have leveraged these capabilities through the broader enterprise. This approach will make possible societal benefits beyond what the NWS budget alone allows.

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