Final Passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act
Statement of Dr. Kevin Petty, Chief Science Officer of Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado On Final Passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act
April 5, 2017 - After two years of hard work, the Congress has just passed the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. This is the first bill in a decade focused squarely on improving the quality of both short term and longer term weather forecasts. Vaisala applauds the Members of Congress who worked to get this bill enacted into law.
The bill was developed in a bipartisan fashion led by Representatives Lamar Smith and Eddie Bernice Johnson (both from Texas) and Representative Bridenstine and Representative Frank Lucas, both from Oklahoma, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon. In the Senate the effort was led by Senator John Thune from South Dakota, Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii, Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado, and Senator Bill Nelson from Florida, all members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
Vaisala was pleased to have testified in the hearings held by the House Science Committee in May 2015 that examined weather data policies and acquisition strategies used by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). High quality data from multiple observing systems are essential to maintaining up-to-date information to assess and predict weather accurately and with timeliness, especially for extreme weather events. Sources available for weather data include U.S. government-, international-, and commercially-owned and operated satellite-, aviation-, and surface-based observing systems.
This bill will help the nation's weather and climate enterprise by focusing research and computing resources on improved weather forecasting, quantitative observing data planning, next generation modeling, an emphasis on research-to-operations technology transfer, an urban weather research effort, and the codification of an advisory group to NOAA on environmental information services. The legislation will also establish policies that will encourage public-private partnerships for integrating the myriad of data sources into more timely and accurate weather predictions.
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Vaisala is a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Building on 80 years of experience, Vaisala contributes to a better quality of life by providing a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services for chosen weather-related and industrial markets. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs approximately 1600 professionals worldwide and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki stock exchange. www.vaisala.com