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Weather Policy

What is Weather Policy?

Section 1. Budgets

1. Budget Graphs

Figures 1-7 show the 1979 – 1998 budget histories for the National Science Foundation's Mesoscale Dynamic Meteorology and Meteorology/Physical Meteorology divisions, their 1980 – 1998 budgets as multiples of their 1979 budgets, the budget history for these two divisions combined, the budget history for the two divisions as multiples of the 1979 combined budgets, and the relative percentages of 1998 expenditures that each division represents.

The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM) publishes an annual Federal Plan summarizing federal meteorological services and supporting research for federal agencies involved with operational weather forecasting. Figures 8-19 show the 1979 – 1998 budget histories of six main OFCM agencies and their 1980 – 1998 budgets as multiples of their 1979 budgets. Figure 20 is a pie chart showing the five largest OFCM agencies as relative percentages of the overall 1998 OFCM budget.

Figures 21-23 show the 1979-1998 budget histories of federal research and operations,1980 – 1998 research and operations expenditures as multiples of 1979 budgets, and research and operations as relative percentages of the total 1998 weather budget. Figure 24 shows the relative percentage of the 1979-98 weather budgets by research and by operations. We define "research" to include OFCM supporting research, NSF's Mesoscale Dynamic Meteorology and Meteorology/Physical Meteorology divisions, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)'s Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Program. "Operations" is defined in terms of the OFCM's definition.

Figures 25-26 show total federal weather expenditures FY 1979 – 1998 and as multiples of the 1979 budgets. Included are agencies listed in OFCM's Federal Plans, NSF's Mesoscale Dynamic Meteorology and Meteorology/Physical Meteorology divisions, and NCAR's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Program.

2. Forecast Operations and Supporting Research

Federal Plan for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research Fiscal Year 2001.
Since 1965, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM) has developed a federal plan that articulates the provision of meteorological services and supporting research by agencies of the federal government. This year’s plan provides Congress and the Executive Branch with a comprehensive document that documents proposed programs for FY 2001 and reviews agency programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000. Narratives, timelines, and schedules are current as of June 2000.

Federal Plan for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research Fiscal Year 2000.
The Federal Plan documents proposed federal meteorological operations and supporting research costs by agency for FY 2000 and reviews agency programs in FY 1999. Narratives, timelines, and schedules are current as of June 1999.

3. Other Forecast-Related Research

The National Science Foundation's Atmospheric Sciences Program.
The Atmospheric Sciences Program supports research to add new understanding of the behavior of the earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the sun.

4. Other Weather-Related Activities (disaster assistance, etc.)

104th Congress, 1st Session. U.S. Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Funding Disaster Relief. Federal Disaster Assistance. March 15, 1995. Document No. 104-4. See table IV-1.

Small Business Administration (SBA) FY 2001 Budget Request information.
SBA offers financial assistance to those who are trying to rebuild their homes and businesses in the aftermath of a disaster.

U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) FY 2001 Budget Summary.
The USDA offers a variety of disaster assistance programs.

Our Changing Planet: The FY 2001 U.S. Global Change Research Program (including FY 2001 budget)
The USGCRP provides the foundation for increasing the skill of predictions of seasonal-to-interannual climate fluctuations (which can bring excessively wet and dry periods) and long-term climate change. This file is in.pdf format; you will need ACROBAT to read this file.

Proposed U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Budget for FY 97-99.

FY95-FY97 USGCRP Budget by Budget Function.

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Section 2. Agencies

Forecasting Related

Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM) Home Page.
OFCM is an interdepartmental office established in response to concerns in Congress and the Executive Office of the President about the adequacy of coordination of federal meteorological activities. Its mission is to ensure the effective use of federal meteorological resources by leading the systematic coordination of operational weather requirements and services, and supporting research, among the federal agencies. The following federal departments and agencies engaged in meteorological activities participate in the OFCM's coordination and cooperation infrastructure. Links to their weather-related programs are included.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
The ARS is the main in-house research arm of the USDA.

National Water and Climate Center (NWCC).
The mission of the NWCC is to lead the development and transfer of water and climate information, as well as technology which supports natural resource conservation.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, improve, and sustain our natural resources and environment.

Department of Commerce (DOC)

National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
The NCEP provides timely, accurate and continually improving worldwide forecast guidance products.

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).
Provides the latest imagery for significant events such as floods and tropical storms.

NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
This NOAA office provides a pool of professionals trained in engineering, earth sciences, oceanography, meteorology, fisheries science, and other related disciplines who serve in the National Ocean Service (NOS), National Weather Service (NWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).

National Ocean Service (NOS).
As the principal advocate for coastal and ocean stewardship, the NOS develops the national foundation for coastal and ocean science, management, response, restoration, and navigation.

National Weather Service (NWS) Home Page.
Provides direct access to official weather forecast products, weather data, and NWS regions Web sites.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR).
OAR, the primary research arm of NOAA, conducts and directs research in atmospheric, coastal, marine, and space sciences through its own laboratories and programs and through networks of university-based programs.

Department of Defense (DOD)

Air Force Combat Climatology Center (AFCCC).
AFCCC develops and produces special weather-impact information for several purposes.

Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC).
The mission of NMOC is to collect, interpret and apply global meteorological and oceanographic data and information for safety at sea, strategic and tactical warfare and weapons system design, development and deployment.

Department of Energy (DOE)

Air Resources Laboratory (ARL).
This page provides links to several DOE programs that have weather-related components: the Field Research Division, the Special Operations Research Division, the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, and the Air Resource Laboratory.

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM).
ARM Program scientists collect and analyze data obtained over extended periods of time from large arrays of instruments to study the effects and interactions of sunlight, radiant energy, and clouds on temperature, weather, and climate.

Atmospheric Sciences Technical Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (ASTG).
The ASTG conducts research to increase our understanding of meteorological, chemical, physical and thermodynamic processes and phenomena in the troposphere.

Department of the Interior (DOI)

National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
Includes links to national fire weather forecasts and outlooks.

Department of State

Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental Scientific Affairs (OES).
OES is the Department of State's focal point for foreign policy formulation and implementation in global environment, science, and technology issues.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR).
The OAR deals with issues affecting the quality of air and protection from exposure to harmful radiation.

Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS) national and regional surveys.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

OMB Home Page.
No specific weather-related programs.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).
EOSDIS manages data from NASA's science research satellites and field measurement programs, command-and-control satellites and instruments, and generates useful products.

Earth Science Data and Information System Project (ESDIS).
ESDIS is responsible for providing scientific (and other users) access to data from NASA's Earth Science Enterprise.

Earth Science Enterprise.
NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the total Earth system and the effects of humans on the global environment.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF's Atmospheric Sciences Program.
Information about atmospheric sciences project support, including Mesoscale Dynamic Meteorology and Physical Meteorology, as well as the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

The NTSB Home Page.
No specific weather-related programs.


Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS).
ASOS is a joint effort of the NWS, FAA, and DOD. ASOS systems are the nation's primary surface weather observing network. ASOS supports weather forecast activities and aviation operations, as well as the needs of the meteorological, hydrological, and climatological research communities.

Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD).
NEXRAD was created by the DOD, DOT, and DOC to develop and implement a network of advanced weather surveillance radars.

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Non-Forecasting Related

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA is an independent agency of the federal government that reports to the President. Since its founding in 1979, FEMA's mission has been clear: to reduce loss of life and property and protect our nation's critical infrastructure from all types of hazards through a comprehensive, risk-based, emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness response and recovery.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Small Business Administration's Disaster Assistance.
SBA's Disaster Loan Program offers low-interest loans to those who are trying to rebuild their homes and businesses in the aftermath of a disaster.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Farm Service Agency's Natural Disaster Assistance
If your farming or ranching operation has suffered a loss due to a natural disaster, you may be eligible for assistance under one or more of the following FSA programs: The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), Emergency Loan (EM) Assistance, or Emergency Haying and Grazing Assistance.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief.
The Corps of Engineers offers disaster preparedness, advance measures to alleviate flood threats, flood fighting, rescue and emergency relief efforts during ongoing flood events, and rehabilitation of flood control and federally authorized shore protection works which have been damaged by flood or coastal storms.


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Section 3. Congressional Hearings and Reports


106th Congress Hearings.
Tornadoes: Understanding, Modeling, and Forecasting Supercell Storms - June 16, 1999
Chairman Ken Calvert | Chairman Nick Smith | Howard Bluestein | Jerry Costello | Dennis McCarthy | Roger Wakimoto | Morris Weisman

Fiscal Year 2000 Budget Authorization Request: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - February 24, 1999
Chairman Ken Calvert | Dr. D. James Baker | Mr. Joel Willemsen | Dr. Richard Anthes

105th Congress Hearings
Here Comes La Nina: What to Expect From the Weather in the Winter of 1998-99 - October 2, 1998
Chairman Ken Calvert | D. James Baker | Dr. I Miley Gonzalez | Charles Kennel

Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Authorization Requests: Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency Research and Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Outside Witnesses - March 25, 1998
Chairman Calvert's Opening Statement | Joe Colvin | Donald Klass | Joel Myers | Scott Sklar | Fred Smith

FY99 Budget Authorization Request: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - March 4, 1998
Chairman Calvert's Opening Statement | James Baker | Joel Willemssen

Preparing for El Niño - September 11, 1997
Michael Armstrong | Tim Barnett | I. Miley Gonzales | J. Michael Hall | Andrew Solow | Douglas Wheeler

Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Authorization Request: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and H.R. 437: Marine Resources Revitalization Act of 1997- March 13, 1997
Chairman Calvert's Opening Statement | Dr. D. James Baker (NOAA and Sea Grant Testimony)| Frank DeGeorge | Joel C. Willemssen

Hearing on Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Authorization Request: Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Research and Development, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - April 9, 1997
Chairman Calvert's Opening Statement | Anna Aurilio | David Baldwin | Ralph DeGennaro | Christopher D'Elia | Michael Leavitt | Aris Melissaratos | Scott Sklar | David Smith | Fred Smith | Jerry Taylor

104th Congress Hearings.
National Weather Service Modernization - February 28, 1996
James Baker | Frank DeGeorge | Ramon Sierra | Arthur Zygielbaum

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Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

CRS Report for Congress: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration: An Overview and FY1999 Budget Analysis.
This report provides an overview of NASA, including a brief description of the Space Act of 1958, a short summary of NASA's historical activities, a description of the agency's current organization and field centers, a breakdown of its FY1998 appropriations and FY1999 request, and a discussion of the agency's future budget prospects. A table summarizing the FY1997 and FY1998 appropriations and the FY1998 request also is included.

CRS documents on Emergency Management available from Penny Hill Press.

  • Disaster Management: Issue Brief. Updated August 10, 1995.
  • Disaster Mitigation and Cost Reduction Act (H.R. 707) Summary and Issue Review. March 3, 1999.
  • Disaster Policy Options: Federal Aid or Insurance; Issue Brief.
  • Disaster Relief Program Summaries. February 25, 1997.
  • Disaster Streamlining and Costs Reduction Act of 1997 (S. 1007): A Summary of Provisions and Issues. August 12, 1997.
  • FEMA and Disaster Relief. Updated March 6, 1998.
  • FEMA Funding Overview: Current and Historical Data for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. February 26, 1999.
  • Natural Disaster Protection and Insurance Act of 1997 (H.R. 230). March 11, 1997.
  • Snow and Ice Emergencies: Equipment Problems, Response Options, and the Federal Role.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Budget Activities and Issues for the 106th Congress.
This report provides a general overview of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a summary of major issues of possible legislative concern for the 106th Congress, including National Weather Service modernization, the state of NOAA's research infrastructure, environmental data quality, NOAA partnerships with public and private entities, and new research initiatives in the FY2000 request.

An Overview of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE).
MTPE provides scientific information so policymakers and scientists can formulate strategies to mitigate human impacts on Earth's environment, such as ozone depletion, deforestation, and possible global warming.

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Section 4. Public vs. Private Sector Responsibility for Weather Forecasting

NOAA's Industrial Meteorology staff.
Industrial Meteorology is responsible for planning and developing efficient and effective external relations programs and policies relating to NOAA commercial weather support.

NWS Policy Statements

January 18, 1991 Policy Statement on the Weather Service/Private Sector Roles.

Policy and Guidelines Governing National Weather Service and Private Sector Roles.

The Transfer of National Weather Service (NWS) Agricultural Weather Services and NWS Non-Federal Non-Wildfire Weather Services to the Private Meteorological Sector: A Report to Congress Executive Summary. April 30, 1996.

Congressional Testimony

Statement of Dr. Joel Myers on behalf of AccuWeather, Inc., before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on the NWS FY 99 funding requests. March 25, 1998.

Testimony of the Commercial Weather Services Association by Michael S. Leavitt, President, Weather Services Corp. before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. April 9, 1997.


Private Sector Providers

Commercial weather vendor links.
A list of private sector meteorologists and private weather service companies that provide commercial agricultural weather services and/or basic forecasting services which could serve non-Federal wildfire support purposes.

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Section 5. International Weather Policy

Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (BOM).
The BOM's mission is to observe and understand Australian weather and climate and provide meteorological and other services in support of Australia's national needs and international obligations.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
ECMWF is an international organization supported by 18 European states. ECMWF develops methods for medium-range weather forecasting, prepares medium-range forecasts, conducts research to improve forecasts, and collects and stores meteorological data.

Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA).
JMA's major activities include issuing warnings, advisories and forecasts in short-range, one-week and long-range.

Meteorological Service of Canada.
Canada's source for meteorological information.

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Section 6. Articles and Reports

Asking the Right Questions: Atmospheric Sciences Research and Societal Needs.
R. Pielke, Jr. 1997. Found in Bull. Amer. Meteorological Soc. 78: no. 2.

Budget Cutting and the Value of Weather Services.
C. A. Doswell III and H. E. Brookes. 1998. Printed in Weather and Forecasting Quarterly 13: no. 1.

Societal Aspects of Weather: Report of the Sixth Prospectus Development Team.

Stepping Stones in the Evolution of a National Hurricane Policy.
R.H. Simpson. 1998. Found in Weather and Forecasting Quarterly 13: no. 3

Section 7. U.S. Science Policy

Science Policy Web site

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