Posted at 2:00 PM
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to New Orleans to speak at the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), where she discussed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service’s (NWS) Evolve Initiative. The AMS Annual Meeting brings together the leading members of the nation’s weather, water, and climate communities to discuss timely issues facing those in the weather enterprise.
Addressing high-impact weather is one of the great imperatives of our time. Society is becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events like the ones that took place over the holiday season, with some 39 percent of Americans living in areas of high-susceptibility to high-impact weather. Bad weather also saps our economy, disrupting everything from air travel to farm work and stalling whole supply chains. When communities are hard hit by storms, 25 percent of the businesses affected never reopen.
Society’s increased vulnerability to extreme weather, the acceleration of technology, the ever-increasing availability of data, and the sheer number of actors in the weather industry require an evolution in the way we do business.
The NWS’ Evolve Initiative is a recognition of the 21st century challenges and opportunities facing our nation and the world. As the authoritative voice for safeguarding our nation, NWS Evolve Initiative will work to integrate the science we undertake with the community we are committed to serving. Through Evolve, NWS is improving our ability to put life-saving data into the hands of our government partners and decision makers so can will evacuate hospitals, alert schools, close roads and flood flashpoints, and bus senior citizens out of harm’s way.
Secretary Pritzker noted that, beyond its own critical role in safeguarding America, there exists considerable space and latitude for innovation across the entire weather enterprise community. One way NOAA is working as a creative collaborator is through their Big Data project, which partners with industry and academic leaders to make NOAA’s data more easily accessible.
The Secretary urged all actors, including NOAA and other federal agencies, as well as members of private, academic and nonprofit sectors to continue to collaborate to build a more weather-ready nation.
For example, the National Weather Service works with your local radio and TV stations to provide top-quality data on weather. In the following video, Baltimore Meteorologist Ava Marie explains how she uses NOAA data to prepare her forecasts.