Washington, D.C. – The Subcommittee on Environment today held a hearing titled Private Sector Weather Forecasting: Assessing Products and Technologies. The hearing examined the weather forecasting products and technologies of the private sector.
Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bridenstine (R-Okla.): “The American weather enterprise is made up of stakeholders that provide services which ultimately save lives and property. Among these are private sector weather forecasting companies that over the years have become a major source of weather information. The services they provide are essential to protecting Americans in the face of severe weather.
“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) currently provides important data which is then utilized by other stakeholders to construct forecasts. Many private sector companies also use their own methods and technologies to enhance this data. To me, there is a clear delineation here. NOAA should focus on providing the foundational datasets that others utilize to produce life-saving forecasts, rather than duplicating efforts and technologies that are employed or could be employed by the private sector.”
The growing private weather industry has seen vast improvements in both general and specialized forecasts. Private sector companies are now issuing a vast array of weather products and have begun their own weather modeling prediction services that rival government forecasts.
The House-passed Lucas – Bridenstine Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R. 1561), recognizes the role commercial weather data can play as part of the solutions available to NOAA.
As market forces drive technology innovation in the weather enterprise, the government should steer clear of slowing or stopping its progress. NOAA should focus on the core data it provides to the private sector, who then apply their own technologies to produce extended weather products to save lives and property.
NOAA’s budget request this year for commercial weather includes funding to continue the Commercial Weather Data Pilot program authorized by H.R. 1561. This pilot program is an important signal to the private sector that NOAA is interested in new and innovative sources of data.
For more information about today’s hearing, including the webcast and witness testimony, visit the Committee’s website.