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                                                           Calendar No. 455

114th Congress   }                                       {   REPORT
                                  SENATE
 2d Session      }                                       {   114-248
___________________________________________________________________________                 
                                     

                                                       


                  SEASONAL FORECASTING IMPROVEMENT ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1331




                  May 9, 2016.--Ordered to be printed
                  
                  
                              _________ 
                                 
                 U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
  59-010                WASHINGTON : 2016                 
  
  
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 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office,
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       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred fourteenth congress
                             second session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 MARCO RUBIO, Florida                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
 KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  ED MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 CORY BOOKER, New Jersey
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  JOE MANCHIN, West Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY PETERS, Michigan
 STEVE DAINES, Montana
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Rebecca Seidel, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director
                 Clint Odom, Democratic General Counsel
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                                                       Calendar No. 455
114th Congress   }                                          {  Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session      }                                          {  114-248

======================================================================



 
                  SEASONAL FORECASTING IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                  May 9, 2016.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1331]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1331) to help enhance commerce 
through improved seasonal forecasts, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 1331, the Seasonal Forecasting 
Improvement Act, is to improve seasonal forecasts, speed 
research to operations, and enhance satellite governance.

                          Background and Needs

    Improved weather forecasts not only reduce the loss of life 
from severe weather conditions, but have broader benefits to 
the general public. It is estimated the collective benefit of 
weather forecasting to the American public was $31.5 billion, 
compared to the $5.1 billion spent in 2007 on generating 
weather forecasts in the United States. Of the money spent 
yearly on weather forecasting, a little over two-thirds, or 
$3.4 billion, was spent by Federal agencies.\1\ Reliable 
observations and continued research will help to further 
improve forecasts, and these improvements will likely 
correspond to an even larger benefit for individuals, 
businesses, and the broader economy. Weather forecasts for 
periods beyond two weeks are currently substantially less 
reliable, but if they were improved have the potential to have 
significant economic and social benefit. For example, farmers, 
ranchers, and water managers all need to make decisions on time 
scales longer than two weeks, and must currently do so without 
the benefit of reliable forecasts.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Jeffrey K. Lazo, Rebecca E. Morss, and Julie L. Demuth, ``300 
Billion Served: Sources, Perceptions, Uses, and Values of Weather 
Forecasts,'' Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 90, 
no. 6 (June 2009), pp. 785-798, available at journals.ametsoc.org/doi/
pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2604.1 (accessed November 22, 2013).
    \2\National Research Council, Assessment of Intraseasonal to 
Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability, 2010, available at 
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12878/assessment-of-intraseasonal-to-
interannual-climate-prediction-and-predictability (accessed May 14, 
2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Federal Weather Services

    Several line offices of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are integral to the Federal 
weather enterprise. Most obviously, the National Weather 
Service (NWS) is charged with providing weather, water, and 
climate data, forecasts, and warnings in order to protect life 
and property and to enhance the Nation's economy.\3\ The 
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service 
(NESDIS) is involved in acquiring and managing Federal 
environmental observing satellites, and it operates the data 
centers that capture and process the information from these 
satellites. Several satellite programs support NWS's 
operational weather forecasting mission. A third line office at 
NOAA, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), 
carries out much of the basic research that supports NWS's 
operational forecasts. For example, OAR participates in and 
funds cooperative institutes, which foster collaboration 
between NOAA scientists and academic institutions. OAR also 
supports several test beds, where NOAA scientists, academics, 
and forecasters work together to move the state-of-the-art 
science into operational forecasts (this is part of a process 
that is sometimes referred to as research-to-operations or 
R2O). As recognized by a recent NOAA Science Advisory Board 
report, if the basic science developed at the agency fails to 
be applied to the operational goals of NOAA, then the agency 
``will fail in its mission.''\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\National Weather Service, About NOAA's National Weather Service, 
available at http://www.weather.gov/about (accessed April 10, 2013).
    \4\The R&D; Portfolio Review Task Force, In the Nation's Best 
Interest: Making the Most of NOAA's Science Enterprise, Final Report to 
the NOAA Science Advisory Board, March 27, 2013, available at http://
www.sab.noaa.gov/Meetings/2013/march/PRTF report final.pdf (accessed 
April 10, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The line offices within NOAA work together to collect and 
transmit weather information, but this intra-agency 
coordination should be strengthened. The work of the National 
Ocean Service provides context for weather products, including 
information about tides, currents, bathymetry, and topography. 
Furthermore, the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations 
provides the fleet of ships and aircraft piloted by NOAA 
Commissioned Officers to take measurements integral to NOAA 
weather missions.
    Other Federal agencies also use NOAA weather products. The 
Coast Guard uses NOAA satellite data extensively, both for 
weather data and to plan and execute search and rescue 
missions. The Federal Aviation Administration partners with the 
NWS Aviation Weather Center to fund new developments in 
aviation weather prediction, such as the NextGen weather 
program to decrease the occurrence of weather-related aviation 
delays. The Department of Defense operates some of its own 
weather programs in order to meet its specific needs. In 
particular, the Air Force has been heavily involved in weather 
prediction and satellite procurement, but in the last few years 
it has scaled back its efforts. In April 2015, the Air Force 
announced that it would rely primarily on a United Kingdom 
weather model, instead of a U.S. weather model. The Air Force 
is reported to have made this decision without consulting the 
other armed services or other agencies involved in weather 
prediction.\5\ The Office of the Federal Coordinator for 
Meteorology was created by the Department of Commerce in 1964 
to coordinate the meteorological activities of Federal 
departments and agencies,\6\ but as demonstrated by the Air 
Force's recent decision, there is still often a lack of 
coordination.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Jason Samenow, ``Air Force's plan to drop U.S. forecast system 
for U.K. model draws criticism,'' The Washington Post, April 20, 2015, 
available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/
wp/2015/04/20/air-force-to-cut-ties-with-u-s-weather-forecast-system-
in-favor-of-uk-model/ (accessed May 15, 2015).
    \6\Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, Office of the 
Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, available at http://www.ofcm.gov/
default.htm (accessed September 4, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

National Weather Service

    The NWS aims to: produce and deliver accurate forecasts; 
reduce, and ultimately eliminate, weather-related fatalities; 
and improve the economic value of weather, water, and climate 
information. NWS data and products form a national information 
database and infrastructure that is used by other government 
agencies, private sector weather services organizations (e.g., 
The Weather Channel and Accuweather), and the public. The NWS 
collects data from a variety of sources, including: Doppler 
weather radars; satellites operated by NESDIS; data buoys for 
marine observations; radiosonde carried by weather balloons; 
surface observing systems; and instruments for monitoring space 
weather and air quality.

Role of Satellites in Supporting Weather Operations

    Satellites make up approximately 40 percent of the NOAA 
budget; NESDIS was funded at about $2.2 billion in fiscal year 
(FY) 2015.\7\ Currently, NESDIS, in collaboration with the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Air 
Force, manages and operates a fleet of over 10 weather and 
environmental monitoring satellites.\8\ These satellites 
monitor Earth constantly to provide data on temperature, sea 
surface height, cloud cover, and other data that inform weather 
and climate models. Two types of satellites provide most of our 
weather and climate data: geostationary and polar-orbiting 
satellites.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, FY2016 NOAA Budget 
Summary, 2015, available at http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/ nbo/
fy16_bluebook/FY2016BudgetSummary-web.pdf (accessed May 14, 2015).
    \8\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Satellite and 
Information Service, 2015, available at http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/
imagery_data.html (accessed October 16, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 2 primary and 1 back up Geostationary Operational 
Environmental Satellites (GOES) orbit 22,300 miles above the 
Earth's equator and provide coverage of the western hemisphere, 
taking photographic images every 15 minutes. The GOES 
satellites are critical for identifying severe weather, 
snowstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes. The GOES 
satellites are also capable of assisting in search and rescue 
activities by locating emergency beacons that have been 
activated by individuals in distress.\9\ The next generation 
GOES satellite was originally scheduled to launch in October 
2015, but has been twice delayed. A new launch date has not 
been finalized, but will likely be in the fall 2016.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Geostationary 
Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series, available at http://
www.goes-r.gov/ (accessed May 15, 2015).
    \10\Frank Konkel, ``$11 Billion Next-Gen Weather Satellite Launch 
Delayed,'' Nextgov, August 20, 2015, available at http://
www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/emerging-tech-blog/2015/08/11-billion-
next-gen-weather-satellite-launch-delayed/119311/ (accessed September 
3, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Polar satellites orbit completely around the Earth's poles 
from about 500 miles above the Earth's surface, and travel 14 
full orbits per day. Polar orbiting satellites provide a 
detailed picture of the entire planet, and primarily assist in 
medium- to long-range weather forecasts (i.e., 5 to 10 days 
out). Polar-orbiting satellites provide a broad range of 
environmental monitoring data, including global sea surface 
temperature measurements, measurements of temperature and 
humidity of the atmosphere, information about volcanic 
eruptions, detection of forest fires, and analyses of global 
vegetation cover.\11\ NOAA most recently launched a polar 
orbiting satellite in 2011, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting 
Partnership (SNPP). SNPP is the primary operational polar 
orbiting satellite, though currently there are several legacy 
polar satellites that can provide back up in the case of a 
failure of SNPP. The next generation of polar orbiting 
satellites is the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), which 
currently includes two satellites, JPSS-1 and 
JPSS-2. JPSS-1 is scheduled to launch in early 2017. Because 
the SNPP satellite's mission life only extends through 2016 and 
its design life only extends through 2018, many are concerned 
about a data gap before JPSS becomes operational. The JPSS 
program received approximately $916 million in appropriations 
during FY 2015. The budget request for FY 2016 is $809 million, 
with an additional $380 million in funding requested for the 
development of a follow on to JPSS-2 and to mitigate potential 
data gaps among SNPP, JPSS-1, and JPSS-2.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Joint Polar 
Satellite System, available at http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/FactSheets/
JPSS_Overview.pdf (accessed May 14, 2015).
    \12\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, FY2016 NOAA 
Budget Summary, 2015, available at http://
www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/ nbo/fy16_bluebook/FY2016BudgetSummary-
web.pdf (accessed May 14, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General 
has identified NOAA's satellite programs as one of the top five 
management challenges facing the Department in several recent 
reports.\13\ Both the JPSS and GOES satellite programs face 
risks of coverage gaps in the future due to cost overruns and 
schedule delays. While NOAA has made some effort to address 
these concerns, the rate of increase in satellite spending has 
continued to exceed the increase in NOAA's topline budget.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, Top 
Management Challenges Facing the Department of Commerce, Final Report 
No. OIG-12-003, 2011, available at http://www.oig.doc.gov/
OIGPublications/TMC-FY12-OIG-12-003.pdf (accessed December 4, 2013). 
Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, Top Management 
Challenges Facing the Department of Commerce, Final Report No. OIG-13-
003, 2012, available at http://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/TMC-
FY13-OIG-13-003.pdf (accessed December 4, 2013). Department of Commerce 
Office of Inspector General, Top Management Challenges Facing the 
Department of Commerce, Final Report No. OIG-14-002, 2013, available at 
http://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/TMC-FY14-OIG-14-002.pdf 
(accessed December 4, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seasonal Forecasts

    A scientific challenge for the NWS and other NOAA 
scientists is to improve subseasonal, seasonal, and interannual 
predictions, which look at long-term forecasts for future 
weeks, months, and years. These forecasts are important to 
public and private decision-makers, such as farmers, insurance 
firms, and water resource managers, but reliable long-term 
forecasts have proved elusive. For example, seasonal 
predictions of heavy snowstorms in 2014 could have prevented 
the exhaustion of national supplies of road salt, which left 
cities from Kansas to New Jersey scrambling to keep their roads 
safe.\14\ In addition, NOAA's seasonal forecast for the 2013 
Atlantic hurricane season overestimated the number of named 
storms in the early part of the season.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Frank Morris, ``Got Road Salt? Cities across the country are 
running out of it,'' NPR, February 17, 2015, available at http://
www.npr.org/2014/02/17/275899324/got-road-salt-cities-across-the-
country-are-running-out-of-it (accessed April 15, 2015).
    \15\Brian, McNoldy, ``What happened to hurricane season? And why we 
should keep forecasting it...'' The Washington Post, September 30, 
2013, available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-
weather-gang/wp/2013/09/30/what-happened-to-hurricane-season-and-why-
we-should-keep-forecasting-it/ (accessed December 5, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Improved predictions on these longer time-scales require 
accurate observations and dynamic models that represent the 
oceans and atmosphere.\16\ Though there is currently no perfect 
model, improved forecasts have resulted from efforts that 
average the results of multiple existing models. This effort 
requires researchers to coordinate to ensure the output from 
their various models is compatible.\17\ Additionally, an 
interagency effort, the Earth System Prediction Capability, 
seeks to coordinate existing forecast efforts on all time-
scales, from hourly to multi-year.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\National Research Council, Assessment of Intraseasonal to 
Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability, 2010, available at 
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12878/assessment-of-intraseasonal-to-
interannual-climate-prediction-and-predictability (accessed May 14, 
2015).
    \17\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, North American 
Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME), available at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
products/NMME/NMME_description.html (accessed May 14, 2015).
    \18\National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, National Earth 
System Prediction Capability, available at http://espc.oar.noaa.gov/ 
(accessed May 14, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 1331, the Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act, as 
reported, would reauthorize and modify NOAA's Weather Research 
Program in order to better focus NOAA's research to operations 
program as well as increase the speed with which NOAA research 
is operationalized. It also would enhance NOAA's satellite 
governance and ensure the best value is sought in procuring 
future satellites. In addition, S. 1331 would improve seasonal-
scale forecasts and the communication of these forecasts. It 
would inform a strategy for NOAA's future weather observations 
by first establishing a Weather Commission to solicit user 
input to determine the highest priority products that NOAA 
produces. The bill would then require a National Academy of 
Sciences report to examine strategies to procure observations 
utilizing the findings of the Weather Commission as well as the 
2017 study entitled ``Earth Science and Applications from 
Space.'' NOAA would be required to establish a National Water 
Center and maintain the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project. 
Finally, it also would require the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy to establish a Federal Coordinator for 
Meteorology.

                          Legislative History

    On April 11, 2015, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate held a hearing entitled 
``Weathering the Storm: How Can We Better Communicate Weather 
to Enhance Commerce and Safety?''
    S. 1331 was introduced by Senator Thune on May 13, 2015. It 
was cosponsored by Senator Schatz. On May 20, 2015, the 
Committee met in open Executive Session and, by a voice vote, 
ordered a substitute version of S. 1331 reported favorably. 
Amendments were offered by Senators Booker, Cantwell, Markey, 
Nelson, Rubio, and Udall, all of which were adopted.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 1331--Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act

    Summary: S. 1331 would authorize appropriations totaling 
$190 million over the 2016-2020 period for the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand and improve its 
capabilities for seasonal weather forecasting. The bill also 
would require NOAA to carry out various activities relating to 
the collection, analysis, and dissemination of forecast data.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $172 
million over the 2016-2020 period. Because enacting S. 1331 
would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    S. 1331 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated Cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1331 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(environment and natural resources).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Seasonal Forecasting Improvement:
    Authorization Level.................................       27       27       27       27       27       133
    Estimated Outlays...................................       18       23       26       27       27       120
Weather Research Program:
    Authorization Level.................................       10       10       10       10       10        50
    Estimated Outlays...................................        6        9       10       10       10        45
Other Activities:
    Authorization Level.................................        I        2        2        2        0         7
    Estimated Outlays...................................        I        2        2        2        *         7
    Total Changes:
        Authorization Level.............................       38       39       39       39       37       190
        Estimated Outlays...............................       25      334       38       39       37      172
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Components do not sum to totals because of rounding.
* = Less than $500,000.

    Basis of Estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted late in 2015 and that the 
authorized amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
NOAA's forecasting and research activities.
    S. 1331 would authorize the appropriation of $26.5 million 
a year through 2020 for NOAA to develop and disseminate 
seasonal temperature and precipitation forecasts. Under the 
bill, NOAA would create an Internet clearinghouse for seasonal 
forecasts and would build upon existing forecasting programs 
and partnerships with other institutions and agencies. The bill 
also would authorize NOAA to award grants to states to receive 
and distribute forecasts and related information. Assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that 
carrying out those activities would cost $120 million over the 
2016-2020 period.
    The bill also would authorize the appropriation of $10 
million a year through 2020 to create a weather research 
program. The program would track, evaluate, and support ongoing 
research projects conducted by the Office of Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Research. Assuming appropriation of the authorized 
amounts, CBO estimates that implementing this provision would 
cost $45 million over the 2016-2020 period.
    Finally, S. 1331 would authorize the appropriation of $1 
million a year over the 2017-2019 period for NOAA to enter into 
an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (or a 
similar organization) to conduct a study of the scope and cost-
effectiveness of NOAA' s satellite systems. The bill also would 
authorize the appropriation of $1 million a year through 2019 
to establish a weather commission to advise the federal 
government on weather forecasting. Assuming appropriations of 
the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that implementing these 
provisions would cost $7 million over the 2016-2020 period.
    Pay-As-You-Go Considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and Private-Sector impact: S. 1331 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Public entities, such as state and local 
weather agencies and public universities, would benefit from 
cooperative arrangements and federal grants authorized in the 
bill. Any costs incurred by those entities, including matching 
contributions, would be incurred voluntarily.
    Estimate Prepared by: Federal costs: Ben Christopher and 
Jeff LaFave; Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: 
Jon Sperl; Impact on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approval by: Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 1331 as reported would not create any new programs or 
impose any new regulatory requirements, and therefore would not 
subject any individuals or businesses to new regulations.

                            economic impact

    Enactment of this legislation is not expected to have any 
inflationary or adverse impact on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The bill would not impact the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                               paperwork

    S. 1331 would require reports from the Federal Government. 
The Administrator of NOAA would provide to Congress reports on 
seasonal forecasts, research to operations, urban weather, the 
findings of the Weather Commission, and the impact of the Air 
Force's divestiture in the United States Weather Research and 
Forecasting Model. The Administrator also would be required to 
provide an annual report on research to operations. It also 
would require a report from the National Water Center and a 
report from the National Academy of Sciences.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would designate the short title of the bill as 
the ``Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act.''

Section 2. Improving seasonal forecasts for agriculture and commerce.

    This section would direct NOAA to create usable, reliable, 
and timely seasonal forecasts, and determine the impact of 
these forecasts on a variety of other weather conditions. In 
producing these forecasts, NOAA would be required to leverage 
existing research and resources; it is not the Committee's 
intention that NOAA establishes new programs in order to 
fulfill this section. NOAA has adequate established programs, 
including existing programs at the regional level. Rather, NOAA 
would focus on providing resources to existing programs, 
coordinating existing activities, and better communicating 
research and products. This section would require the forecasts 
to be distributed to decision-makers at the Federal, regional, 
State, tribal, and local levels of government; the private 
sector; and the public. In its communication with the private 
sector, NOAA would ensure it is reaching the entire weather 
enterprise, including companies that provide business-to-
business weather forecasts and products. This section would 
provide grants to States for establishing Forecast 
Communication Coordinators in each State. Many States already 
have personnel who are effectively serving in this role. It is 
the Committee's intention that a State could use these funds to 
better support their existing personnel. In administering the 
grants, NOAA would not require States to make a new hire. NOAA 
also would be required to develop a report on how seasonal 
forecasts are currently used and goals for the further 
development of forecasts and other related products. It is the 
intention of the Committee that NOAA would focus on developing 
predictions that have the highest likelihood of providing 
accurate and usable information to the public.

Section 3. United States Weather Research Program.

    This section would reauthorize the Weather Research 
Program. It would require OAR to annually develop a list of its 
five weather projects closest to operationalization and detail 
the status of these projects and the plan for 
operationalization of the projects. NOAA also would be required 
to create a list of on-going research projects. In creating 
such a list, NOAA need not detail every component of projects. 
It is sufficient that NOAA list projects that have a total 
budget of over $250,000. This section also would establish 
teams from OAR and the NWS to oversee the operationalization of 
such projects. This section would encourage collaboration and 
coordination among OAR, the rest of NOAA, and relevant user 
communities. OAR would be required to develop internal 
mechanisms to ensure projects are progressing and meeting 
goals. OAR also would be required to develop test beds.

Section 4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite 
        design and management.

    The Committee has serious concerns that costs overruns and 
schedule delays have not only jeopardized the continuity of 
satellite observations, but NOAA itself. The Committee observes 
that the soaring cost of satellite observations is impacting 
NOAA's ocean and coastal management missions. This section 
would direct NOAA to take actions to manage the expense of 
environmental observations. NOAA would be allowed to purchase 
satellite components in block buys, rather than individually 
whenever possible. When assessing bids for satellite 
components, NOAA also would have to consider the overall value 
of the bid by assessing factors such as integration with 
current systems, continuity, and consistency. NOAA would be 
required to complete and operationalize its equatorial and 
polar microsatellite constellation; annual update reports would 
be required until NOAA completes this.
    The Administrator of NOAA also would be required to include 
data from the Integrated Ocean Observing System into 
appropriate forecast models since ocean observations are 
critical for accurately predicting weather on all time scales. 
This section would require NOAA to identify degradation of 
existing monitoring and observation infrastructure that could 
lead to a reduction in forecast quality. For example, NOAA's 
failure to properly maintain buoys in the equatorial Pacific 
Ocean has hindered the agency's ability to provide El Nino 
forecasts.
    This section also would require future satellites to be 
designed with an operational focus because NOAA has an 
obligation to provide regular, reliable, robust observations 
and accurate weather forecasts. However, less than half of the 
instruments from NOAA's next generation polar orbiting 
satellites will provide data for NWS weather models, and even 
those instruments that are providing data will be at a higher 
resolution than can be effectively utilized by NWS weather 
models. This section would direct NOAA to enter into an 
agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a 
study on the future of NOAA satellite systems and, to the 
extent possible, follow any recommendations in that study and 
the report from the Weather Commission established in section 
6. It is the Committee's hope that by actively engaging with 
the broader weather community, NOAA would develop a plan for a 
future satellite constellation that is more accurate, fiscally 
sustainable, and less fragile.

Section 5. Designation of Federal Coordinator for Meteorology.

    This section would require the Director of the Office of 
Science and Technology to establish a Federal Coordinator for 
Meteorology.

Section 6. Establishment of the Weather Commission.

    This section would establish a weather commission, which 
would provide a report on the highest priority weather forecast 
needs from the user community perspective in order to inform 
the National Academy of Sciences study mandated by section 4(b) 
on environmental data needs. The original intent of the Weather 
Commission was to encourage a robust dialogue by bringing 
together all weather stakeholders, private and public, in an 
open forum. Because of concerns raised by Federal agencies, the 
bill was amended to remove all government participation in the 
Weather Commission. It is the Committee's intention that the 
category of operational forecasters include those involved in 
providing business-to-business private commercial weather 
forecasts. NOAA may include additional non-government members 
on the Weather Commission that NOAA considers necessary. Such 
additional members do not need to come from the categories 
outlined in subsection (b)(1)(B). For example, NOAA could 
include representatives from companies that provide ground-
based observations if the Administrator of NOAA considers that 
viewpoint is needed.

Section 7. Weather impacts to communities and infrastructure.

    This section would require the NWS to review the resources 
it has to meet the specific needs of high density population 
center end users and provide a plan for how any unmet research, 
modeling, and forecasting needs can be addressed.

Section 8. Department of Defense weather forecasting activities.

    This section would require NOAA to provide to Congress a 
report on the impacts of the proposed Air Force divestiture in 
the United States Weather Research and Forecasting Model.

Section 9. National Weather Service; operations and workforce analysis.

    This section would require the NWS to conduct a baseline 
analysis of the NWS operations and workforce.

Section 10. Water resources.

    This section would formally establish a National Water 
Center. The National Water Center may facilitate collaboration 
across the Federal and State governments, make recommendations 
to improve water resource management, improve water resource 
forecasts, and facilitate the transition of water research into 
applications. NOAA, acting through the National Water Center, 
would improve operational water resource prediction products 
and collaborate with, and provide decision-support to, relevant 
Federal and State agencies with respect to total water 
predictions. The intention of this section is to codify 
existing activities rather than establishing a new program: the 
activities of the National Water Center described in this 
section are consistent with ongoing activities. This section 
would require the National Water Center to submit to the 
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works a report on 
total water predictive capabilities and products and how these 
capabilities and products would be used in the management of 
civil work projects, including the Central and Southern Florida 
Project and any project in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint 
River System.

Section 11. Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project.

    This section would require NOAA to maintain a project to 
improve hurricane forecasting. The goals of the project would 
be to develop and extend accurate hurricane forecasts and 
warnings in order to reduce loss of life, injury, and damage to 
the economy. NOAA also would be required to develop a plan to 
meet the goals of this section.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                        FOOD SECURITY ACT OF 1985


                          [Public Law 99--198]

SEC. 1762. WEATHER AND CLIMATE INFORMATION IN AGRICULTURE.

                          [15 U.S.C. 313 note]

  [(a)] (a)  Findings._ Congress finds that--
          (1) agricultural and silvicultural operations are 
        vulnerable to damage from atmospheric conditions that 
        accurate and timely reporting of weather information 
        can help prevent;
          (2) the maintenance of current weather and climate 
        analysis and information dissemination systems, and 
        Federal, State, and private efforts to improve these 
        systems, is essential if agriculture and silviculture 
        are to mitigate damage from atmospheric conditions;
          (3) agricultural and silvicultural weather services 
        at the Federal level should be maintained with joint 
        planning between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration and the Department of Agriculture; and
          (4) efforts should be made, involving user groups, 
        weather and climate information providers, and Federal 
        and State governments, to expand the use of weather and 
        climate information in agriculture and silviculture.
  [(b)] (b)  Policy._ It, therefore, is declared to be the 
policy of Congress that it is in the public interest to 
maintain an active Federal involvement in providing 
agricultural and silvicultural weather and climate information 
and that efforts should be made, among users of this 
information and among private providers of this information, to 
improve use of this information.
  (c) Functions.--The Under Secretary, through the National 
Weather Service and other appropriate programs in the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shall--
          (1) collect and utilize information in order to make 
        usable, reliable, and timely forecasts of seasonal 
        temperature and precipitation;
          (2) leverage existing research and models from the 
        academic sector to improve the forecasts under 
        paragraph (1);
          (3) determine and provide information on how the 
        forecasted conditions under paragraph (1) may impact--
                  (A) the number and severity of droughts, 
                fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, 
                heatwaves, coastal inundation, winter storms, 
                high impact weather, or other relevant natural 
                disasters;
                  (B) snowpack; and
                  (C) sea ice conditions;
          (4) provide the forecasts under paragraph (1) and the 
        information under paragraphs (1) and (3) on both 
        national and regional levels; and
          (5) develop an Internet clearinghouse with the 
        forecasts of seasonal temperature and precipitation and 
        other relevant seasonal forecasts and products produced 
        by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
        other Federal and State departments and agencies, and 
        the academic sector.
  (d) Communication.--The Under Secretary shall provide the 
forecasts and the information on their impacts under subsection 
(c) to the public, including public and private entities 
engaged in planning and preparedness, including--
          (1) decisionmakers at the Federal, regional, State, 
        tribal, and local levels of government;
          (2) the private sector; and
          (3) the public.
  (e) Cooperation.--The Under Secretary shall build upon 
existing forecasting and assessment programs and partnerships, 
including--
          (1) by designating research and monitoring activities 
        related to seasonal forecasts as a priority in 1 or 
        more Cooperative Institute solicitations;
          (2) by contributing to the interagency Earth System 
        Prediction Capability; and
          (3) by consulting with the Secretary of Defense and 
        the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine the 
        highest priority seasonal forecast needs to enhance 
        national security.
  (f) Forecast Communication Coordinators.--
          (1) In general.--The Under Secretary shall provide 
        grants to States, including territories, for each State 
        to have a forecast communication coordinator to receive 
        and disseminate the forecasts and information under 
        subsection (c). Applications for grants under this 
        subsection shall be submitted in such form and manner, 
        and contain such information, as the Under Secretary 
        prescribes.
          (2) Requirements.--For each State that requests 
        assistance under this subsection, the Under Secretary 
        shall--
                  (A) provide funds to support an individual in 
                that State to--
                          (i) serve as a liaison among the 
                        National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
                        Administration, other Federal 
                        departments and agencies, the academic 
                        sector, the State, and relevant 
                        interests within that State; and
                          (ii) receive the forecasts and 
                        information under subsection (c) and 
                        disseminate the forecasts and 
                        information throughout the State, 
                        including county and tribal 
                        governments;
                  (B) provide 1 grant for the purpose described 
                in paragraph (1); and
                  (C) require matching funds from the State, a 
                university, a non-governmental organization, 
                trade association, or the private sector.
          (3) Limitation.--Each grant under this subsection 
        shall not exceed $100,000.
  (g) Cooperation From Other Federal Agencies.--Each Federal 
department and agency shall cooperate as appropriate with the 
Under Secretary in carrying out this section.
  (h) Reports.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 18 months after the 
        date of enactment of the Seasonal Forecasting 
        Improvement Act, the Under Secretary shall transmit to 
        the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
        of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and 
        Technology of the House of Representatives a report, 
        including--
                  (A) an analysis of the how information from 
                the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
                Administration on seasonal forecasts, as 
                provided under subsection (c), is utilized in 
                public planning and preparedness;
                  (B) specific plans and goals for the 
                continued development of the seasonal forecasts 
                and related products described in subsection 
                (c); and
                  (C) an identification of research, 
                monitoring, observing, and forecasting 
                requirements to meet the goals described in 
                subparagraph (B).
          (2) Consultation.--In developing the report under 
        paragraph (1), the Under Secretary shall consult with 
        relevant Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local 
        government agencies, research institutions, and the 
        private sector.
  (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to 
be appropriated to carry out this section $26,500,000 for each 
of fiscal years 2015 through 2020.
  (j) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Seasonal.--The term ``seasonal'' means the time 
        range between 2 weeks and 2 years.
          (2) Under secretary.--The term ``Under Secretary'' 
        means the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and 
        Atmosphere.

 NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 
                                  1992


                         [Public Law 102--567]

SEC. 108. UNITED STATES WEATHER RESEARCH PROGRAM.

                          [15 U.S.C. 313 note]

  (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation 
with the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, 
and Technology through the Committee on Earth and Environmental 
Sciences, shall establish a United States Weather Research 
Program to--
          (1) increase benefits to the Nation from the 
        substantial investment in modernizing the public 
        weather warning and forecast system in the United 
        States;
          (2) improve local and regional weather forecasts and 
        warnings;
          (3) address critical weather-related scientific 
        issues[; and];
          (4) coordinate governmental, university, and private-
        sector efforts[.];
          (5) provide to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
        and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on 
        Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives an annual report, including--
                  (A) a list of on-going research projects, 
                including project goals and a point of contact 
                for each project; and
                  (B) the 5 projects related to observations, 
                weather, or seasonal-scale forecasts within the 
                Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research that 
                are closest to operationalization, including 
                for each project--
                          (i) the potential benefit;
                          (ii) any barrier to 
                        operationalization; and
                          (iii) the plan for 
                        operationalization, including which 
                        line office will financially support 
                        the project and how much the line 
                        office intends to spend;
          (6) establish teams with staff from the Office of 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National 
        Weather Service to oversee the operationalization of 
        research products developed by the Office of Oceanic 
        and Atmospheric Research within the National Weather 
        Service;
          (7) develop mechanisms for the Office of Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Research's research priorities to be 
        informed by both the relevant line offices within the 
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 
        relevant user community, and the weather enterprise, 
        including by exchanging detailees between the Office of 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the line offices;
          (8) develop an internal mechanism to track the 
        progress of each research project within the Office of 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and mechanisms to 
        terminate a project that is not adequately progressing;
          (9) for extramural research funded, the Office of 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Research shall develop and 
        implement a system to track whether the grant's goals 
        were accomplished;
          (10) provide facilities for products developed by the 
        Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to be tested 
        in operational simulations, such as test beds; and
          (11) encourage academic collaboration with the Office 
        of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National 
        Weather Service by facilitating visiting scholars.
  (b) Implementation Plan.--[Not later than 90 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the] The Secretary of Commerce, 
in cooperation with the Committee on Earth and Environmental 
Sciences, shall prepare and submit to the Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
Representatives a plan for implementation of the United States 
Weather Research Program which shall --
          (1) establish, for the 10-year period beginning in 
        the year the plan is submitted, the goals and 
        priorities for Federal weather research which most 
        effectively advance the scientific understanding of 
        weather processes and provide information to improve 
        weather warning and forecast systems in the United 
        States;
          (2) describe specific activities, including research 
        activities, data collection and data analysis 
        requirements, predictive modeling, participation in 
        international research efforts, demonstration of 
        potential operational forecast applications, and 
        education and training required to achieve such goals 
        and priorities; and
          (3) set forth the role of each Federal agency and 
        department to be involved in the United States Weather 
        Research Program, identifying and addressing, as 
        appropriate, relevant programs and activities of the 
        Federal agencies and departments that would contribute 
        to such Program.