Terms of Reference

Overview:  Open, timely access to rich state-of-the-science environmental data, model output, archives and information is crucial for the Weather and Climate Enterprise to optimally serve the nation.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently adopted many recommendations aimed at achieving open environmental information services for that agency that were brought forth by the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s (SAB’s) Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) with the concurrence and input of the SAB’s Climate Working Group (CWG) and Data, Archive, Access and Recovery Working Group (DAARWG).   To help NOAA and similar sources of environmental data ( federal, state, municipalities, etc.) ensure that such services are created and shared according to the principles of the open services paradigm, it is important to have clear and open exchanges amongst members of the Enterprise.  This is especially true in an era of not only rapidly evolving information services, but also in uncertain fiscal conditions that may limit service options.  It is also true that private industry, academia, and other organizations and institutions have access to data, model output, archives and information that is of communitywide value and must be included in the open dialogue. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is uniquely positioned to host and catalyze such exchanges.  Toward this end, the Committee on Open Environmental Information Services (COEIS) resides under the Board of Enterprise Economic Development (BEED) of the CWWCE to facilitate these critical discussions.


Goals:  The primary goals of open environmental information services are to ensure that:

  1. The Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise, and therefore the nation as a whole, realize maximum value from environmental information services by ensuring that all potentially useful and relevant information is available to the entire Enterprise;
  2. New environmental information services and technologies are developed openly in symbiotic partnership with all elements of the Enterprise such that the resulting services achieve optimal utility and efficacy when deployed. This includes development in the broadest sense, and includes data bases, access systems, models, data assimilation schemes, applications, measurement and observing systems, and so forth.


Purpose:  The purpose of the COEIS is to build and strengthen bridges between various sectors of the weather and climate communities to help achieve the open environmental information services goals. While much of the focus of COEIS will be towards NOAA environmental services and the communities that develop and use such services, the committee will also work to foster open services with other domestic and foreign members of the Enterprise. While there are a number of forums in which NOAA and related government agencies currently engage the Enterprise on related topics, the COEIS would provide an explicit AMS entity to help encourage, create, promote, organize, expand, standardize, and execute these generally ad hoc efforts today.


The specific tasks of the COEIS shall include:


  • Identify stakeholders of the Enterprise that have material bearing on achieving the goals of the committee and ensure that those stakeholders are aware of and engage in many of the committee activities;
  • Identify specific activities that the Enterprise can conduct that are aligned towards the goals of the committee and catalyze those activities in appropriate manners;
  • Organize, promote, sponsor and/or participate in meetings and forums that foster discussion, planning, design, implementation and execution of open environmental information services.  This may include specialty conferences or symposia, co-sponsored sessions at other AMS events, special purpose meetings, and joint meetings with appropriate institutions in the Enterprise;
  • Work closely with other boards and committees of the AMS that may have expertise or interest in open environmental services;
  • Identify and engage with similar entities in related fields and foster communications amongst these related fields that are germane to the open environmental services goals;
  • Foster and facilitate the establishment of a more symbiotic development environment with a specific focus on a symbiotic development thrust;
  • Periodically develop reports on the issues, status and progress of the Enterprise towards open environmental information services and publish such reports through appropriate means such as The AMS Bulletin.
  • No more than every five years, review the accomplishments, remaining challenges and issues facing the Enterprise towards achieving open environmental information services, and recommend to the BEED appropriate changes in  COEIS’ Terms of Reference as well as a recommendation on whether or not the committee should remain a standing committee of the BEED.


The specific structure of the COEIS will be as follows:


  • The COEIS will be a standing committee of the BEED;
  • There shall be six (6) to fifteen (15) members, including a Committee Chair appointed by the BEED Chair. The position of Committee Chair will be for 3 years;
  • Membership nominally will consist of three (3) year terms staggered such that approximately 1/3 of the Committee’s members term expire each year;
  • Membership shall represent all three (3) community sectors (e.g., academic, public and private). It is expected that public sector participation in the Committee will include material (i.e., order 1/4th) representation from NOAA. Participation in the Committee from a limited number of members representing foreign entities is encouraged;
  • At the discretion of the Committee Chair and with consultation and approval of the BEED Chair and the CWWCE Commissioner:
    • Membership terms may be extended beyond three (3) years
    • Membership representation may temporarily include fewer than three (3) community sectors
  • Candidate Committee members will be nominated by the Chair and approved by the BEED Chair and the Commissioner of the CWWCE;
  • At the option of the Chair, with CWWCE Commissioner consent, a Committee member who does not participate in Committee activities for a period of twelve (12) or more months can be removed and a replacement named;
  • The Chair shall be a member of the BEED;
  • COEIS Subcommittees may be established to address specific topics of interest that require considerable sustained team effort.