Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service
Policy on Partnerships in the Provision of Weather,
Water, Climate and Related Environmental Information
This policy applies to the weather, water, climate and related
environmental information services of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS).
It sets forth basic principles to be applied in making decisions
regarding these information services.
1. The nation's weather, water, and climate enterprise is composed
of unique partnerships among government, private sector entities,
and the academic and research community; their contributions are
complementary and at times overlapping:
- NWS provides information to support protecting life and property
and enhancing the national economy. To carry out this mission,
it develops and maintains an infrastructure of observing, telecommunications,
and prediction systems on which the public (federal, state, and
local government agencies), private, and academic sectors rely.
- Academia advances the science and educates future generations
of participants in the enterprise.
- The private sector (weather companies, meteorologists working
for private companies or as private consultants, and broadcast
meteorologists) creates products and services tailored to the
needs of their company or clients and works with the NWS to communicate
forecasts and warnings that may affect public safety.
2. This partnership is fostered by adherence to the policies contained
in the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Government Paperwork Elimination
Act and OMB Circular No. A-130, "Management of Federal Information
Resources." These policies are based on the premise that government
information is a valuable national resource, and the economic benefits
to society are maximized when government information is available
in a timely and equitable manner to all.
3. In furtherance of these policies, NWS will carry out activities
which contribute to its mission, including collecting and archiving
data; ensuring their quality; issuing forecasts, warnings, and
advisories; and providing unrestricted access to publicly funded
observations, analyses, model results, forecasts, and related information
products in a timely manner and at the lowest possible cost to
4. To advance the weather, water, and climate enterprise, NWS
will provide information in forms accessible to the public as well
as underlying data in forms convenient to additional processing
by others. NWS will make its data and products available in Internet-accessible
form to the extent practicable and within resource constraints,
and will use other dissemination technologies, e.g. satellite broadcast
and NOAA Weather Radio, as appropriate. Information contained in
databases will be based on recognized standards, formats, and metadata
descriptions to ensure data from different observing platforms,
databases, and models can be integrated and used by all interested
parties in the weather, water, and climate enterprise.
5. NOAA recognizes the public interest is served by the ability
of private sector entities and the academic and research community
to provide diverse services to meet the varied needs of specific
individuals, organizations, and economic entities. NWS will give
due consideration to these abilities, within the bounds of its
mission responsibilities as an agent of the US government.
6. NWS will use appropriate mechanisms to encourage the maximum
practicable and timely input from and collaboration with all interested
parties on decisions affecting the weather, water, and climate
enterprise. These will include, but are not limited to:
- Cooperating with, and as necessary establishment of, open advisory
bodies concerned with advancing the weather, water, and climate
- Establishing procedures for seeking input and suggestions
to create, modify, or discontinue products and services.
7. NWS will promote the open and unrestricted exchange of weather,
water, climate, and related environmental information worldwide,
and seek to improve global opportunities for development of the
8. NWS's participation in the weather, water, and climate enterprise
will be founded on the following principles:
- Mission connection: NWS will describe the connection of information
services to the NOAA mission and, as applicable, put life and
property first in the allocation of resources and the development
and dissemination of products and services.
- No surprises: Unless public safety or national security concerns
dictate otherwise, NWS will provide all users, including those
in the private and academic sectors, adequate notice and opportunity
for input into decisions regarding the development and dissemination
of significant products and services, and their discontinuance.
- Open information dissemination: NWS recognizes that open and
unrestricted dissemination of high quality publicly funded information,
as appropriate and within resource constraints, is good policy
and is the law.
- Equity: NWS will be equitable in dealings with various classes
of entities and will not show favoritism to particular classes
of partners or individual entities, particularly those in the
academic and commercial sectors. NWS will not provide a service
to a segment of the user community that cannot be provided to
all similar types of users.
- Maintain and explain the routine: When faced with requests
for specifically tailored services, NWS will make sure the customer
fully understands products NWS "routinely" provides (e.g. forecasts,
watches, warnings and data sets) and the ability of private sector
providers to meet needs outside these routine services.
9. NWS will establish appropriate procedures to implement this
[Signature of appropriate official] Date: ____________