The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
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At A Glance
 
 
Public Law
: Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017
: 115- 25
Session: 115th Congress (First Session)


The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain references to and studies for The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR353 Lucas (R-Okla.) 03/29/17
Engrossed Amendment Senate
To improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather research through a focused program of investment on affordable and attainable advances in observational, computing, and modeling capabilities to support substantial improvement in weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, to expand commercial opportunities for the provision of weather data, and for other purposes.
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TITLE III—WEATHER SATELLITE AND DATA INNOVATION

SEC. 301. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION SATELLITE AND DATA MANAGEMENT.

(a) Short-Term Management of Environmental Observations.—
(1) MICROSATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary shall complete and operationalize the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate-1 and Climate-2 (COSMIC) in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act—


(i) by deploying constellations of microsatellites in both the equatorial and polar orbits;
(ii) by integrating the resulting data and research into all national operational and research weather forecast models; and
(iii) by ensuring that the resulting data of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s COSMIC-1 and COSMIC-2 programs are free and open to all communities.


(B) ANNUAL REPORTS.—Not less frequently than once each year until the Under Secretary has completed and operationalized the program described in subparagraph (A) pursuant to such subparagraph, the Under Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the status of the efforts of the Under Secretary to carry out such subparagraph.
(2) INTEGRATION OF OCEAN AND COASTAL DATA FROM THE INTEGRATED OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEM.—In National Weather Service Regions where the Director of the National Weather Service determines that ocean and coastal data would improve forecasts, the Director, in consultation with the Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service, shall—
(A) integrate additional coastal and ocean observations, and other data and research, from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) into regional weather forecasts to improve weather forecasts and forecasting decision support systems; and
(B) support the development of real-time data sharing products and forecast products in collaboration with the regional associations of such system, including contributions from the private sector, academia, and research institutions to ensure timely and accurate use of ocean and coastal data in regional forecasts.
(3) EXISTING MONITORING AND OBSERVATION-CAPABILITY.—The Under Secretary shall identify degradation of existing monitoring and observation capabilities that could lead to a reduction in forecast quality.
(4) SPECIFICATIONS FOR NEW SATELLITE SYSTEMS OR DATA DETERMINED BY OPERATIONAL NEEDS.—In developing specifications for any satellite systems or data to follow the Joint Polar Satellite System, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, and any other satellites, in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary shall ensure the specifications are determined to the extent practicable by the recommendations of the reports under subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Independent Study on Future of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Systems and Data.—
(1) AGREEMENT.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary shall seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to perform the services covered by this subsection.
(B) TIMING.—The Under Secretary shall seek to enter into the agreement described in subparagraph (A) before September 30, 2018.
(2) STUDY.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Under an agreement between the Under Secretary and the National Academy of Sciences under this subsection, the National Academy of Sciences shall conduct a study on matters concerning future satellite data needs.
(B) ELEMENTS.—In conducting the study under subparagraph (A), the National Academy of Sciences shall—


(i) develop recommendations on how to make the data portfolio of the Administration more robust and cost-effective;
(ii) assess the costs and benefits of moving toward a constellation of many small satellites, standardizing satellite bus design, relying more on the purchasing of data, or acquiring data from other sources or methods;
(iii) identify the environmental observations that are essential to the performance of weather models, based on an assessment of Federal, academic, and private sector weather research, and the cost of obtaining the environmental data;
(iv) identify environmental observations that improve the quality of operational and research weather models in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act;
(v) identify and prioritize new environmental observations that could contribute to existing and future weather models; and
(vi) develop recommendations on a portfolio of environmental observations that balances essential, quality-improving, and new data, private and non-private sources, and space-based and Earth-based sources.


(C) DEADLINE AND REPORT.—In carrying out the study under subparagraph (A), the National Academy of Sciences shall complete and transmit to the Under Secretary a report containing the findings of the National Academy of Sciences with respect to the study not later than 2 years after the date on which the Administrator enters into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences» under paragraph (1)(A). (3) ALTERNATE ORGANIZATION.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—If the Under Secretary is unable within the period prescribed in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) to enter into an agreement described in subparagraph (A) of such paragraph with the National Academy of Sciences on terms acceptable to the Under Secretary, the Under Secretary shall seek to enter into such an agreement with another appropriate organization that—


(i) is not part of the Federal Government;
(ii) operates as a not-for-profit entity; and
(iii) has expertise and objectivity comparable to that of the National Academy of Sciences.

(B) TREATMENT.—If the Under Secretary enters into an agreement with another organization as described in subparagraph
(A), any reference in this subsection to the National Academy of Sciences shall be treated as a reference to the other organization.

(4) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated, out of funds appropriated to National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, to carry out this subsection $1,000,000 for the period encompassing fiscal years 2018 through 2019.


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TITLE IV—FEDERAL WEATHER COORDINATION


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SEC. 406. IMPROVING NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION COMMUNICATION OF HAZARDOUS WEATHER AND WATER EVENTS.

(a) Purpose of System.—For purposes of the assessment required by subsection (b)(1)(A), the purpose of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration system for issuing watches and warnings regarding hazardous weather and water events shall be risk communication to the general public that informs action to prevent loss of life and property.
(b) Assessment of System.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary shall—
(A) assess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration system for issuing watches and warnings regarding hazardous weather and water events; and
(B) submit to Congress a report on the findings of the Under Secretary with respect to the assessment conducted under subparagraph (A).
(2) ELEMENTS.—The assessment required by paragraph (1)(A) shall include the following:
(A) An evaluation of whether the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration system for issuing watches and warnings regarding hazardous weather and water events meets the purpose described in subsection (a).
(B) Development of recommendations for—


(i) legislative and administrative action to improve the system described in paragraph (1)(A); and
(ii) such research as the Under Secretary considers necessary to address the focus areas described in paragraph (3).


(3) FOCUS AREAS.—The assessment required by paragraph (1)(A) shall focus on the following:
(A) Ways to communicate the risks posed by hazardous weather or water events to the public that are most likely to result in action to mitigate the risk.
(B) Ways to communicate the risks posed by hazardous weather or water events to the public as broadly and rapidly as practicable.
(C) Ways to preserve the benefits of the existing watches and warnings system.
(D) Ways to maintain the utility of the watches and warnings system for Government and commercial users of the system.
(4) CONSULTATION.—In conducting the assessment required by paragraph (1)(A), the Under Secretary shall—
(A) consult with such line offices within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the Under Secretary considers relevant, including the National Ocean Service, the National Weather Service, and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research;
(B) consult with individuals in the academic sector, including individuals in the field of social and behavioral sciences, and other weather services;
(C) consult with media outlets that will be distributing the watches and warnings;
(D) consult with non-Federal forecasters that produce alternate severe weather risk communication products;
(E) consult with emergency planners and responders, including State and local emergency management agencies, and other government users of the watches and warnings system, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Personnel Management, the Coast Guard, and such other Federal agencies as the Under Secretary determines rely on watches and warnings for operational decisions; and
(F) make use of the services of the National Academy of Sciences, as the Under Secretary considers necessary and practicable, including contracting with the National Research Council to review the scientific and technical soundness of the assessment required by paragraph (1)(A), including the recommendations developed under paragraph (2)(B).
(5) METHODOLOGIES.—In conducting the assessment required by paragraph (1)(A), the Under Secretary shall use such methodologies as the Under Secretary considers are generally accepted by the weather enterprise, including social and behavioral sciences.
(c) Improvements to System.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary shall, based on the assessment required by subsection (b)(1)(A), make such recommendations to Congress to improve the system as the Under Secretary considers necessary—
(A) to improve the system for issuing watches and warnings regarding hazardous weather and water events; and
(B) to support efforts to satisfy research needs to enable future improvements to such system.
(2) REQUIREMENTS REGARDING RECOMMENDATIONS.—In carrying out paragraph (1)(A), the Under Secretary shall ensure that any recommendation that the Under Secretary considers a major change—
(A) is validated by social and behavioral science using a generalizable sample;
(B) accounts for the needs of various demographics, vulnerable populations, and geographic regions;
(C) accounts for the differences between types of weather and water hazards;
(D) responds to the needs of Federal, State, and local government partners and media partners; and
(E) accounts for necessary changes to Federally operated watch and warning propagation and dissemination infrastructure and protocols.
(d) Watches and Warnings Defined.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), in this section, the terms “watch” and “warning”, with respect to a hazardous weather and water event, mean products issued by the Administration, intended for consumption by the general public, to alert the general public to the potential for or presence of the event and to inform action to prevent loss of life and property.
(2) EXCEPTION.—ln this section, the terms “watch” and “warning” do not include technical or specialized meteorological and hydrological forecasts, outlooks, or model guidance products.


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SEC. 411. WEATHER IMPACTS TO COMMUNITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE.

(a) Review.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director of the National Weather Service shall review existing research, products, and services that meet the specific needs of the urban environment, given its unique physical characteristics and forecasting challenges.
(2) ELEMENTS.—The review required by paragraph (1) shall include research, products, and services with the potential to improve modeling and forecasting capabilities, taking into account factors including varying building heights, impermeable surfaces, lack of tree canopy, traffic, pollution, and inter-building wind effects.
(b) Report and Assessment.—Upon completion of the review required by subsection (a), the Under Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the research, products, and services of the National Weather Service, including an assessment of such research, products, and services that is based on the review, public comment, and recent publications by the National Academy of Sciences.


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