In an attempt to effectively meet these requirements, NOAA has begun to develop additional partnerships with other Federal, state, and local government agencies and the private sector. The NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL) has been collecting, evaluating, and using data from multiple entities experimentally for a number of years and developed the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) as a tool for ingest, quality control, and distribution of this data. NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) and NWS have evaluated this data set to support its requirements for basic weather parameters in high spatial and temporal resolution, for operations, research, and development activities supporting emergency operations and hazard response, such severe weather conditions, bio-chemical spills, nuclear accidents, or terrorist threats. NOAA found these data sets valuable, yet limited in use for some of their requirements.
A new program, UrbaNet, funded through an earmark in the 2006 budget and in cooperation with NOAA's ARL, uses private sector weather data from existing data networks. The sensors are already collecting high temporal and spatial resolution data. Initial review of these data by NOAA indicate that additional development will be required to make these data appropriate for operational application in order to address the variability in the collection methodology, sensor exposure, sensor types, quality control, and assurance. The long term plan for this program is to expand the data collection to include other data networks and to increase the regions of the country where these types of additional data may be applied. Use of non-NOAA weather data poses a number of scientific and policy concerns for NOAA's operational and research components. This paper will explore some of these problems and solutions that are being proposed.