This American Meteorological Society Policy Study examines explicitly the role that public policy plays in determining the sum societal value of Earth Observations, Science, and Services (OSS) as well as the allocation of that value and the costs of OSS production across society.
The study is exploratory rather than exhaustive. It examines three policy frameworks of quite different origin, purview, and standing. The first is the 2003 Fair Weather Report developed by the National Academy of Sciences. That policy focuses on collaboration. The second is the 2017 Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act enacted by the U.S. Congress. It focuses on innovation. The third is the current World Meteorological Organization development of Resolution 42, which seeks to make international contributions to and access to data and information more equitable, and at the same time expand the domain of data and information sharing from weather per se to Earth observations, science, and services more broadly.
The study takes as its point of departure views of individual stakeholders in the so-called Weather, Water and Climate Enterprise (loosely speaking, the community of U.S. providers of weather, water, and climate information and services) with respect to these policies. Their perspectives were captured through informally solicited public and private comments from senior members of the Enterprise—most notably during a session of the 2021 AMS Washington Forum; during special sessions of the 2021 AMS Summer Policy Colloquium, spaced over several days; during virtual sessions of WMO virtual Data Conferences of 2020 and 2021; and through a series of one-on-one interviews. Individually and in aggregate the comments hint at or suggest opportunities for extending and improving Enterprise value by broadening collaboration, fostering innovation, and making the Enterprise more equitable.
These opportunities have been captured here. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Broadening Enterprise purview: to include disciplines other than weather, to extend to end users and Congress, to document and articulate Enterprise value, and to shift focus from inward-looking dialog to externally purposed action.
- Fostering innovation: by building Congressional trust, thereby allowing legislators to shift from oversight and prescriptive approaches to development of incentives and resources for the Enterprise; by emulating the success and promise of EPIC, developing similar open-science approaches to other elements of the value chain such as data commercialization and risk communication.
- Advancing global equity, with respect to both participation and access to beneficial outcomes: by strengthening U.S. preparation for and participation in formulating WMO purposes and work.
- More fully harnessing AMS experience and resources as a means toward these ends.