Attachment 3: Reproduced from Annex 2 to the WMO draft Resolution 11.4 (Cg-XII) - Explanatory Comments for Implementing the New Practice

The following explanations of the new WMO practice for the international exchange of meteorological and related data and products are provided to assist in understanding how the practice will be applied.

Categorizing particular data types and products under Tier 1 and 2

In conjunction with the Guidelines for Members to Use in Defining Tiers 1 and 2, the following policy will apply to marine data, aviation data, climatological data, satellite data and products, and regional model products.

Marine data

1. The majority of marine data which are distributed internationally among Members to sustain their WMO Programme activities will be exchanged as Tier 1 data, including observations provided by the voluntary observing ships and data and products required in support of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). In developing the specifics of the basic minimum sets for Tier 1 and Tier 2, WMO will review, with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the requirements for meteorological data and products for the purpose of aiding navigation.

Aircraft reports and aeronautical information

2. Increasing amounts of data are being generated by the aviation community in the form of aircraft reports (e.g. AIREPS) which are of value to meteorology generally and NWP in particular. These data have been identified as mandatory Tier 1 data because their re-export for commercial purpose is unlikely to cause harm to the Member arranging for their collection. Aeronautical information such as OPMET data and products, comprising METARs, TAFs and WAFS products, generated specifically to serve the needs of aviation, have been excluded from the proposed new practice because they are controlled under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago 1994). Nevertheless, WMO will continue to liaise with ICAO to encourage as much compatibility as possible with the WMO new practice.

Climatological data

3. Climatological data and products will be treated the same as other meteorological data and products. That is, Members' requirements will be identified as part of the technical commissions' activities, and Members, considering the guidelines approved by Congress and Articles 4 and 5 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will classify the exchanged information as Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Satellite data and products

4. Members requirements for satellite data and products, including high resolution data, multispectral imagery, etc., will be identified by the technical commissions. Following approval by Congress of the new practice and guidelines, NMSs will classify the information that it distributes as Tier 1 or Tier 2. International organizations made up of Members which operate meteorological satellites and distribute their data and products to other WMO Members, will be requested to examine their organizations' policies regarding the distribution, with a view to aligning their policies with WMO practice. Formal discussions between these organizations and WMO to this end may take place.

Global model products

5. By their nature, global models are general purpose tools designed to provide a uniform service everywhere;

6. Any model represents a substantial investment of human and material resources and its outputs are expected to add considerable value to the basic data which were used to initialise it. It is expected that most of the data used in large scale general purpose model will be exchanged as Tier 1, but there is no intention to exclude Tier 2 data from any model;

7. In most cases, the impact on model outputs of any individual data element is expected to be small. Therefore, the original tiering of the data should not automatically carry through to model products. The circumstance should be avoided whereby the originator of a single Tier 2 data element could demand that it not be used in a general purpose global model without making all its model products Tier 2;

Regional model products

8. Regional models provide products for limited geographical areas with accuracy normally higher than those from global models. The products from such models are exchanged between Members to fulfill agreed requirements.

Distribution, use, export and re-export of data and products

Improved data availability under the new practice

9. An objective of the new practice is that the combined exchange of Tier 1 and Tier 2 data and products among Members, which by definition will be exchanged free of charge, will exceed the volume of information currently being exchanged. It is hoped that this increase in the exchange of data and products will come about by:

(a) Providing a framework for the distribution which addresses NMSs concerns about the redistribution and use of the information;

(b) Permitting information previously withdrawn from the GTS to be returned;

(c) Increasing Members' awareness of existing sets which may be of potential interest.

Data and products for research and education programmes

10. The new practice introduces no restrictions on access to, or re-export of, Tier 1 and Tier 2 data and products for research and education programmes having non-commercial purposes. Tier 1 and Tier 2 data and products will be available to the research and education communities for no more than the cost of reproduction and delivery. Members should encourage their research organizations to make their operationally useful data available in a timely manner.

European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) products on the Global Telecommunication System (GTS)

11. The new practice accommodates the current agreement between WMO and ECMWF for the distribution of ECMWF products on the GTS with no negative impacts anticipated. Following acceptance of the proposed new practice by Congress, formal discussions will be initiated to address any outstanding issues between WMO and EUMETSAT, ECMWF and other international organizations made up of WMO Members, which distribute their data and products to WMO Members.

Data from WMO Centres

12. For those designated Data Centres which operate in accordance with WMO resolutions, the new practice will introduce no restrictions on their distribution of Tier 1 and Tier 2 data and products for research and education programmes having non-commercial purposes, nor is the modality of access to the WMO Data Centres expected to change. The question of policy implications of the new practice on data archives will be explored further at a later stage in consultation with Members and user communities including other classes of data centres, ICSU World Data Centres being the foremost.

Commercial use and/or re-export of Tier 2 data and products

13. Within a receiving Member's territory, the proposed new practice does not restrict the commercial use of any Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 information received or originated by the NMS, either by the private sector, by government organization operating commercially or by the NMS. The new practice does restrict direct or indirect re-exports of Tier 2 information for commercial purposes by a receiving Member.

14. The export for commercial purposes of Tier 2 data by their originator or by any intermediate organization is not restricted by the new practice. The NMS undertaking the export should consider the impacts of the export on any other affected NMS within the context of the Guidelines for Relations among NMSs Regarding Commercial Activities, as set out in Annex 3.

Decisions based on Tier 2 data and products

15. The intent of the restriction on re-exporting Tier 2 data and products is that decisions based on Tier 2 information should be subject to the same restriction as for products in the Guidelines for Members to Use in Defining Tiers 1 and 2, i.e.:

(a) Products whose construction adds little value to the data on which they are based, or from which the original data or products can be easily retrieved should carry the same restrictions as the original data or products on which they are based;

(b) Products from a Member's regional model employing Tier 2 data from other NMSs may be exported for commercial purposes outside the territory of the Member running the model, unless objected to by an affected member. Every effort should be made to coordinate the provision of such services prior to implementation to avoid possible harm to other Members.

GTS consideration

16. Considering the configuration of the GTS, the project of the EC Working Group on the Commercialization of Meteorological and Hydrological Services to develop and test guidelines for the proposed new practice will provide the first opportunity to assess the need for change. The project may conclude that further study of specific issues is required. In this case, an appropriate recommendation will be made to the Executive Council requesting the Commission for Basic Systems to carry these out and to examine options for any modifications to the structure and/or procedures of the GTS, and their cost implications. At present, it would appear that:

(a) The HF radio broadcast systems used by Members for distributing GTS data and products to other Member will be [text missing].

(b) The use of satellite transmissions for GTS data and products may require control procedures, such as encryption of the information to ensure appropriate security.

Functioning of the private sector and government organizations operating commercially under the new practice.

17. The new practice places no constraints on:

(a) Private sector or government organizations operating commercially based in the country or territory of one Member operating within the country or territory of another Member. However, all NMSs will encourage such organizations in their countries or territories to respect the Guidelines in Relations between NMSs and the Private Sector, as set out in Annex 4. Furthermore, such organizations may wish to obtain from the originating Member any Tier 2 data or products which are necessary to provide the services required;

(b) A purchase by an organization within country A of country B's Tier 2 data and products (from either country B or country A) for commercial activity within country A. Commercial activities operate under the laws of the Members' countries or territories. Therefore, countries B and A are free to decide on the sale and/or purchase within their own legal frameworks. If problems arise between the NMSs, they should be addressed within the context of the Guidelines for Relations among NMSs Regarding Commercial Activities, as set out in Annex 3.

Commercial activities of NMSs

18. The private sector, government organizations operating commercially and NMSs have access to Tier 1 and Tier 2 data and products as decided by the Member. Members will do their utmost to ensure that the restriction placed on the use of Tier 2 data and products by the new practice is respected by their NMSs and by all organizations given access to them within their territories or abroad following a legitimate re-export. Government organizations operating commercially enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as the private sector and, in particular, as concerns the guidelines set out in Annex 4.

19. Regarding groups of NMSs wishing to establish themselves in economic consortia, WMO's role is neither to encourage nor to discourage Members' commercial activities The Secretariat should keep Members informed of NMHSs' activities in forming and operating such associations.

Relations among NMSs resulting from commercial activities

20. The traditional exchange of services and the transfer to technologies between NMSs on a "no charge", "donation", "technical co-operation" or "incremental cost" basis (e.g. software, training, apprenticeships, surplus equipment) continue to be important WMO activities in the interests of all Members:

(a) To develop the capabilities of Members;

(b) To further the applications of meteorology within Member countries;

(c) To carry out the WMO Programmes;

(d) To enable capacity building in response to Agenda 21 and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Members are encouraged to maintain and to augment agreements whereby these free exchanges and transfers take place, particularly those Services to lesser developed Services. Formal commitments excepting lesser developed Services from commercial recovery of costs will be strongly encouraged.

21. NMSs undertaking commercial activities within the territories of other Members will do so in a manner which is consistent with the practice and with its restriction on re-export of Tier 2 data and products. Furthermore, the Guidelines for Relations among NMSs Regarding Commercial Activities given in Annex 3, will be observed, i.e., where the service originated by one NMS is likely to affect other Members (e.g. in the provision of regional broadcasts of meteorological information or the wide distribution of seasonal or climate forecasts), the NMS originating the service should seek, well in advance, and take into account the response of the NMSs of the affected Members, to the extent possible;

Furthermore, NMSs will consider the legal and administrative frameworks which govern the operations of the NMSs and the applicable laws and regulations regarding trade and service restrictive practices before undertaking commercial activities within the territories of other Members.

Enforcing the restriction on the use of Tier 2 data and products

22. All Members shall do their utmost to implement the decision (Article 9 (a), WMO Convention).

23. Members assume the responsibility for enforcing the restrictions attached to re-exporting Tier 2 information or exporting products based on Tier 2 information. Should problems develop regarding the export of decisions based on Tier 2 data and/or products, consultations should be undertaken among the Members affected.

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Last Update: 4/3/95