Policy on Partnerships in the Provision of Environmental Information

Original Proposed Policy

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.

Policy

  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 users.
  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 enterprise;
    • 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 partnership.
  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.

    Implementation

  9. NWS will establish appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

[Signature of appropriate official] Date: ____________