85th AMS Annual Meeting

Thursday, 13 January 2005: 11:15 AM
National Weather Service Digital Services Operations Concept
LeRoy Spayd, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and G. Austin and D. C. Young
Poster PDF (555.4 kB)
National Weather Services Digital Services Operation Concept

Leroy Spayd, NOAA/NWS Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services 1325 East West Highway Silver Spring, Maryland e-mail: leroy.spayd@noaa.gov

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) is the official United States governmental voice for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations. The mission also states "NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community." In order to complete its mission, the NWS relies on partnerships (e.g., the media and commercial weather companies) to distribute their observations, forecasts, and warning information.

Technology and innovation have provided new information exchange pathways, including the Internet. NWS partners, as well as the general public, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and have new requirements for NWS' weather, water, and climate information (simply stated as 'weather information' throughout the remainder of this document). Users are demanding faster access to information that is more accurate, easier to understand, and provided in new formats.

The National Research Council's (NRC) 2003 report Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in the Weather and Climate Services recommended the NWS take steps to improve the effectiveness of the weather and climate enterprise. The report's recommendation #5 states:

"The NWS should make its data and products available in Internet-accessible digital form. Information held in digital databases should be based on widely recognized standards, formats, and metadata descriptions to ensure that data from different observing platforms, databases, and models can be integrated and used by all interested parties in the weather and climate enterprise."

The NWS has begun to meet the changing needs of its customers and partners and follow the recommendation of the NRC. The new business strategy is called the NWS Digital Services Program. New digital weather forecast information is created and stored at local offices and National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and also transmitted and input to a centralized database known as the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD).

The presentation includes the following: 1) explanation of the operational philosophy for NWS in the digital era; 2) strategy for providing weather-related products and services to users; 3) description of the primary benefits of weather information in digital formats, and 4) steps for achieving success in providing the Nation with Digital Services.

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