WEATHER IMPACTS, FORECASTS, AND POLICY

An Integrated Perspective

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Society invests considerable resources into the science and technology of weather services. In order to effectively assess the market for weather services, and thus properly scale the level of resources that, for example, the U.S. Congress or a company ought to devote to serving this market, decision makers need information on the costs and benefits associated with alternative courses of action. To date such information has not been readily or systematically available, leaving unanswered questions about the effectiveness of investment in the science and technology of weather. We argue herein that the allocation of resources to weather in the public and private sectors is unlikely to become more effective or—of particular concern to the weather community—grow significantly unless the weather community takes an integrated perspective on weather impacts, forecasts, and policy that provides decision makers with reliable information on the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. This paper suggests one such integrated perspective that might guide the provision of such information to decision makers. Two recommendations follow straightforwardly from the perspective offered herein:

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado (The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation)

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Roger Pielke Jr., Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, E-mail: rogerp@ucar.edu

Society invests considerable resources into the science and technology of weather services. In order to effectively assess the market for weather services, and thus properly scale the level of resources that, for example, the U.S. Congress or a company ought to devote to serving this market, decision makers need information on the costs and benefits associated with alternative courses of action. To date such information has not been readily or systematically available, leaving unanswered questions about the effectiveness of investment in the science and technology of weather. We argue herein that the allocation of resources to weather in the public and private sectors is unlikely to become more effective or—of particular concern to the weather community—grow significantly unless the weather community takes an integrated perspective on weather impacts, forecasts, and policy that provides decision makers with reliable information on the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. This paper suggests one such integrated perspective that might guide the provision of such information to decision makers. Two recommendations follow straightforwardly from the perspective offered herein:

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado (The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation)

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Roger Pielke Jr., Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, E-mail: rogerp@ucar.edu
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