In the last several decades, major improvements in collection techniques, technologies, and computational processes have greatly improved the forecasting of weather and climate. At the same time, concerns about global problems generally involving the environment, but more specifically putting increased pressure on improved weather and climate information, have grown to critical levels in some areas. These global problem concerns suggest that attention to five major themes is fundamental to preserving the national security of the United States. They are Economy, Health, Energy, Water, and Well-being. Each of these themes involve problems in which a complete understanding of related issues, threats, and consequence management are dependent, in varying degrees, on knowledge of the status and changes in our atmosphere and oceans. The paper gives examples of the weather and climate information needs for each of the five themes.
Once, we were content to only observe the atmosphere and ocean weather. Now we must build a national, complementary system of systems that addresses all of our information collection needs. This is going to require a change in our national culture. Weather and climate related information collection systems must be operated as complementary components of the total, national information generation infrastructure. The key is to have our national priorities be the primary driver of our federal missions and our information production infrastructure. It is NOAA's responsibility to use the national priorities to set the context of their mission and to guide the development of the weather and climate part of the information collection architecture. The paper suggests a collection architecture framework to accomplish this.