SPECIALISTS IN SATELLITE, TELECOM AND AEROSPACE INVESTMENT BANKING
Service (NESDIS). NESDIS, for its part, operates the satellites,specifically a mix of 9 polar orbiting and geostationary spacecraftfrom which it generates, among others, most of those ubiquitousforecast maps.For the most part, the NWS does its job well and, aside from theusual grumbling about missed forecasts, usually does not catch theire of the public. Even the most hardcore of small governmentconservatives would concede that weather forecasting is a criticalrole of the government, at a very minimum for national security. Butweather forecasting is important, darn it, often too important to beleft just to a free government monopoly. As much as 40%
of theU.S. economy is affected by weather; from financial services,logistics and utilities to transportation, agriculture and recreation.More specifically, it is believed as much as 3.4% of U.S. GDP canbe swung by variability in weather patterns
. That’s over a half atrillion dollars of productivity. For this reason, a few privateenterprises, such as the famous AccuWeather (www.accuweather.com) and slightly less famous WSI(www.wsi.com) and MDA Information Systems (www.mdaus.com),
have formed over the years to make use of their own techniques,systems and networks of observations to augment the NWS. Theyprovide a critical alternative set of products that are valued (andmore notably, paid for) by financial organizations, largecorporations and media organization nation and world-wide.But while the forecasting and analysis side of weather has a matureand thriving commercial sector, the actual business and operationsof collecting raw data from the sky is still government dominated.We think this is somewhat a shame for, as much as the NOAANESDIS fleet has shown to have done a fine job until now, there isalso so much more that it can do to leverage new technologies andinnovative new means of collecting weather data. Openingthemselves up to public private partnerships to development andoperate their next generation satellites is something we would likethem to consider, but so far the organization has been adamantlyopposed to pursuing in practice. That is why we cheered when wesaw the recent news of a startup called GeoMetWatch(www.geometwatch.com) announcing a $185 million developmentand hosting deal with telecom satellite operator AsiaSat.
Dutton, J. A., 2002: Opportunities and priorities in a new era for weather and climate services. Bull. Amer.Meteor. Soc., 83, 1303–1311.
Lazo, Jeffrey K., Megan Lawson, Peter H. Larsen, Donald M. Waldman, 2011: U.S. Economic Sensitivity toWeather Variability. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 92, 709–720.