Last evening, President Trump signed into law H.R. 353, the Lucas-Bridenstine Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.
Congressman Jim Bridenstine: “This legislation prioritizes improving weather forecasts and opens opportunities for new and innovative sources of weather information. I congratulate President Trump for moving us closer to a day when we have zero deaths from tornadoes and severe weather events.”
This legislation directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus resources and effort to:
- Rebalance NOAA funding to place a higher priority on weather-related research and activities;
- Emphasize developing accurate forecasts and timely warnings of high-impact weather events;
- Create programs to extend warning lead times and improve forecasts for tornadoes and hurricanes;
- Develop a plan to utilize advanced technology to regain U.S. superiority in weather modeling and forecasts;
- Increase focus and continue development of seasonal forecasts and how to maximize information from these forecasts; and
- Enhance coordination among various federal government weather stakeholders.
The legislation also authorizes and extends a NOAA pilot program already underway thanks to a partnership between the House Science Space and Technology and the House Appropriations Committee. Under this pilot program, NOAA has already issued two contracts to procure commercial satellite weather data. This pilot program could bring about a paradigm shift in how NOAA makes decisions about future procurement of critical weather data.
The Washington Post called this “the first major piece of weather legislation adopted since the early 1990s.”
Bridenstine added, “This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort that spans nearly my entire career in Congress. I appreciate Chairman Lamar Smith, Congressman Frank Lucas, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for their unflagging efforts to support this Act, now the law of the land. This is a big step toward improving our weather data, models and forecasts -- and saving lives.”