When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs (2010)Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Weather matters for life, health, safety, property, and economic prosperity. Weather forecasts provide information that people and organizations can use to enhance these societal benefits and to reduce weather-related losses. Investing $5.1 billion annually in public weather forecasts and warnings has brought an estimated $31.5 billion dollars in benefits. Yet between 1980 and 2009 there were 96 weather disasters that each cost more than $1 billion?and cost many lives. This National Research Council report puts forward the most pressing high level, weather-focused research challenges and needs to transfer research results into operations. Cutting across these challenges are socioeconomic considerations that are fundamental in determining how, when, and why weather information is, or is not, used. The report calls for a partnership of social scientists and meteorologists to ensure that weather research and forecasting meet societal and economic needs. The report also identifies predictions of very high impact weather, urban meteorology, and weather information for renewable energy development as important emerging issues in need of greater research to develop understanding and reach implementation. Priorities among established?or recognized but unrealized?goals include global non?hydrostatic coupled modeling; quantitative precipitation forecasting; hydrologic prediction; and mesoscale observations.