A Vision and Model for NOAA and Private Sector Collaboration


A Report from the NOAA Science Advisory Board



The impacts of climate variability—on the scale of seasons to decades—are an increasingly significant focus in the strategic planning of a wide range of public and private activities, but the information required to anticipate the range and likelihood of climate variability currently is dispersed, of varying quality, and often difficult to access.

The weather services enterprise provides an interesting contrast and a model for a national climate enterprise. In weather services, NOAA and the National Weather Service, private sector firms, and academia (including federally sponsored research organizations) all cooperate to enhance understanding of the atmosphere and to develop and deliver new capabilities, products, and services. The advance of technology and computer capabilities combined with the collaboration stimulated by the recommendations of the Fair Weather report have made the weather services enterprise increasingly effective and a source of national pride and advantage. The private sector component has been growing in size and effectiveness, creating jobs, and moving research and product development risks from the public to the private sector.  In considering the possibility of establishing a strong climate services enterprise, the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) recognized that NOAA climate research already enjoyed much stronger ties with academia than the development of products and services did with the private sector. Thus the SAB asked its Climate Working Group (CWG) and the Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) to create a Climate Partnership Task Force to examine how collaborative arrangements between NOAA and the private sector could be focused and managed to strengthen national climate services. Thus the considerations of the Task Force and this report focus on a vision and a model for the interactions between NOAA and the private sector in a national climate enterprise. The Task Force recognizes that the academic sector is, and will continue to be, a critical component of the climate services enterprise, however the focus here is solely on NOAA and the private sector.

The study process and the charge to the Task Force provided by the SAB is provided Appendix A along with a brief account of the accelerated study process. The results and conclusions of the study are presented as statements of Findings and Recommendations with no additional comment. The Task Force believes these statements provide sufficient guidance for the SAB to forward to NOAA as an approach for partnering with the private sector, along with academia, to start the implementation of a strong climate services enterprise In both weather and climate, NOAA as the federal partner is the key component of the partnership. It has the responsibility to gather the observations, to produce analysis of data and archive it for future use, to convert the observations into forecasts, outlooks , and projections of future conditions, to make it readily accessible, and to use all of this information in countless ways for the national benefit.

The critical vision of this report is that NOAA and the private sector will become true partners, enhancing each other’s contributions to the climate services enterprise and thereby enhancing the management of climate risk and opportunity and of mitigation strategies for the impacts of climate variability. And thus the vision and theme of this report is that:


NOAA will engage and empower the private sector as a partner in creating climate products and services and delivering them to the nation.


The Full Report





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