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Observing Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE
Today we are faced with a complex collection of mesoscale networks that are clearly driven by market forces. The condition is both energetic and chaotic and possesses local strengths, national gaps, and operational weaknesses. Local strengths are heralded by the proliferation of surface meteorological stations, which are often tailored to satisfy the monitoring needs of a particular application. The national gaps result from weaknesses in the federal government’s observational infrastructure as they pertain to mesoscale numerical weather prediction and chemical weather prediction. Observational deficiencies in the mountains, at the coasts, and near urbanized areas require specialized attention. With respect to mesoscale numerical and chemical weather prediction and chemical weather forecasts, three-dimensional observations are paramount and involve heavy infrastructure to which federal agencies must be major contributors.
Nearly every dimension of participation in mesoscale observation is important and worthy of cultivation. The challenge is to harness the strengths of our current condition while creating an organizational circumstance that can stimulate and coordinate diverse assets to serve similarly diverse interests. The Committee believes that it has offered constructive and sometimes novel alternatives toward that end while avoiding prematurely prescriptive or excessively centralized solutions. Much work remains, especially with regard to the elaboration of architecture, the design of networks, and the forging of new relationships among all levels of government, industry, and the earnest contributions of our citizenry.