The Congress Should Clearly Define the National Weather Service's Role To Provide Specialized Weather Services

CED-78-77: Published: Mar 29, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 1978.

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The National Weather Service's basic mission is to provide meteorological services to meet public needs or the common needs of Federal agencies. It also provides special services for specialized users including: agricultural, aviation, marine, and forestry weather; environmental air quality; and weather conditions affecting such activities as space flight operations and energy development. The Service's total fiscal year 1978 budget is about $185 million, with about $32 million allotted for specialized weather services.

The most recent statement of policies affecting specialized weather service is contained in the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-62 which provides for the Department of Commerce to keep a current plan, including specialized weather services. However, plans have been developed only for forestry and agriculture weather, and even these are out of date. Effective weather services for aviation, air pollution, and marine activities have been hampered by lack of specific formal plans between the Service and the agencies. Although there is now cooperation in developing plans, the Service believes that the demands of the basic mission and budgetary limitations will limit its ability to effectively provide additional services. Increasing demands for basic services have resulted in reduction of the specialized services.

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