Text: H.R.2413 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

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Referred in Senate (04/02/2014)


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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2413 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

113th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 2413


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 2, 2014

    Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
                      Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
   To prioritize and redirect NOAA resources to a focused program of 
  investment on affordable and attainable advances in observational, 
computing, and modeling capabilities to deliver substantial improvement 
 in weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, 
such as those associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, 
          storm surges, and wildfires, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Weather Forecasting Improvement Act 
of 2014''.

SEC. 2. PUBLIC SAFETY PRIORITY.

    In accordance with NOAA's critical mission to provide science, 
service, and stewardship, the Under Secretary shall prioritize weather-
related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, 
forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the 
enhancement of the national economy, in all relevant line offices.

SEC. 3. WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING INNOVATION.

    (a) Program.--The Assistant Administrator for OAR shall conduct a 
program to develop improved understanding of and forecast capabilities 
for atmospheric events and their impacts, placing priority on 
developing more accurate, timely, and effective warnings and fore-casts 
of high impact weather events that endanger life and property.
    (b) Program Elements.--The program described in subsection (a) 
shall focus on the following activities:
            (1) Improving the fundamental understanding of weather 
        consistent with section 2, including the boundary layer and 
        other atmospheric processes affecting high impact weather 
        events.
            (2) Improving the understanding of how the public receives, 
        interprets, and responds to warnings and forecasts of high 
        impact weather events that endanger life and property.
            (3) Research and development, and transfer of knowledge, 
        technologies, and applications to the NWS and other appropriate 
        agencies and entities, including the American weather industry 
        and academic partners, related to--
                    (A) advanced radar, radar networking technologies, 
                and other ground-based technologies, including those 
                emphasizing rapid, fine-scale sensing of the boundary 
                layer and lower troposphere, and the use of innovative, 
                dual-polarization, phased array technologies;
                    (B) aerial weather observing systems;
                    (C) high performance computing and information 
                technology and wireless communication networks;
                    (D) advanced numerical weather prediction systems 
                and forecasting tools and techniques that improve the 
                forecasting of timing, track, intensity, and severity 
                of high impact weather, including through--
                            (i) the development of more effective 
                        mesoscale models;
                            (ii) more effective use of existing, and 
                        the development of new, regional and national 
                        cloud-resolving models;
                            (iii) enhanced global weather models; and
                            (iv) integrated assessment models;
                    (E) quantitative assessment tools for measuring the 
                impact and value of data and observing systems, 
                including OSSEs (as described in section 8), OSEs, and 
                AOAs;
                    (F) atmospheric chemistry and interactions 
                essential to accurately characterizing atmospheric 
                composition and predicting meteorological processes, 
                including cloud microphysical, precipitation, and 
                atmospheric electrification processes, to more 
                effectively understand their role in severe weather; 
                and
                    (G) additional sources of weather data and 
                information, including commercial observing systems.
            (4) A technology transfer initiative, carried out jointly 
        and in coordination with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, 
        and in cooperation with the American weather industry and 
        academic partners, to ensure continuous development and 
        transition of the latest scientific and technological advances 
        into NWS operations and to establish a process to sunset 
        outdated and expensive operational methods and tools to enable 
        cost-effective transfer of new methods and tools into 
        operations.
    (c) Extramural Research.--
            (1) In general.--In carrying out the program under this 
        section, the Assistant Administrator for OAR shall collaborate 
        with and support the non-Federal weather research community, 
        which includes institutions of higher education, private 
        entities, and nongovernmental organizations, by making funds 
        available through competitive grants, contracts, and 
        cooperative agreements.
            (2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
        not less than 30 percent of the funds authorized for research 
        and development at OAR by this Act should be made available for 
        this purpose.
    (d) Report.--The Under Secretary shall transmit to Congress 
annually, concurrently with NOAA's budget request, a description of 
current and planned activities under this section.

SEC. 4. TORNADO WARNING IMPROVEMENT AND EXTENSION PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Under Secretary, in collaboration with the 
American weather industry and academic partners, shall establish a 
tornado warning improvement and extension program.
    (b) Goal.--The goal of such program shall be to reduce the loss of 
life and economic losses from tornadoes through the development and 
extension of accurate, effective, and timely tornado forecasts, 
predictions, and warnings, including the prediction of tornadoes beyond 
one hour in advance.
    (c) Program Plan.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
consultation with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, shall develop a 
program plan that details the specific research, development, and 
technology transfer activities, as well as corresponding resources and 
timelines, necessary to achieve the program goal.
    (d) Budget for Plan.--Following completion of the plan, the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR, in consultation with the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS, shall transmit annually to Congress a proposed 
budget corresponding to the activities identified in the plan.

SEC. 5. HURRICANE WARNING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Under Secretary, in collaboration with the 
American weather industry and academic partners, shall establish a 
hurricane warning improvement program.
    (b) Goal.--The goal of such program shall be to develop and extend 
accurate hurricane forecasts and warnings in order to reduce loss of 
life, injury, and damage to the economy.
    (c) Program Plan.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
consultation with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, shall develop a 
program plan that details the specific research, development, and 
technology transfer activities, as well as corresponding resources and 
timelines, necessary to achieve the program goal.
    (d) Budget for Plan.--Following completion of the plan, the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR, in consultation with the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS, shall transmit annually to Congress a proposed 
budget corresponding to the activities identified in the plan.

SEC. 6. WEATHER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING.

    Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, 
and annually thereafter, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
coordination with the Assistant Administrators for NWS and NESDIS, 
shall issue a research and development plan to restore and maintain 
United States leadership in numerical weather prediction and 
forecasting that--
            (1) describes the forecasting skill and technology goals, 
        objectives, and progress of NOAA in carrying out the program 
        conducted under section 3;
            (2) identifies and prioritizes specific research and 
        development activities, and performance metrics, weighted to 
        meet the operational weather mission of NWS;
            (3) describes how the program will collaborate with 
        stakeholders, including the American weather industry and 
        academic partners; and
            (4) identifies, through consultation with the National 
        Science Foundation, American weather industry, and academic 
        partners, research necessary to enhance the integration of 
        social science knowledge into weather forecast and warning 
        processes, including to improve the communication of threat 
        information necessary to enable improved severe weather 
        planning and decisionmaking on the part of individuals and 
        communities.

SEC. 7. OBSERVING SYSTEM PLANNING.

    The Under Secretary shall--
            (1) develop and maintain a prioritized list of observation 
        data requirements necessary to ensure weather forecasting 
        capabilities to protect life and property to the maximum extent 
        practicable;
            (2) undertake, using OSSEs, OSEs, AOAs, and other 
        appropriate assessment tools, ongoing systematic evaluations of 
        the combination of observing systems, data, and information 
        needed to meet the requirements listed under paragraph (1), 
        assessing various options to maximize observational 
        capabilities and their cost-effectiveness;
            (3) identify current and potential future data gaps in 
        observing capabilities related to the requirements listed under 
        paragraph (1); and
            (4) determine a range of options to address gaps identified 
        under paragraph (3).

SEC. 8. OBSERVING SYSTEM SIMULATION EXPERIMENTS.

    (a) In General.--In support of the requirements of section 7, the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR shall undertake OSSEs to quantitatively 
assess the relative value and benefits of observing capabilities and 
systems. Technical and scientific OSSE evaluations--
            (1) may include assessments of the impact of observing 
        capabilities on--
                    (A) global weather prediction;
                    (B) hurricane track and intensity forecasting;
                    (C) tornado warning lead times and accuracy;
                    (D) prediction of mid-latitude severe local storm 
                outbreaks; and
                    (E) prediction of storms that have the potential to 
                cause extreme precipitation and flooding lasting from 6 
                hours to 1 week; and
            (2) shall be conducted in cooperation with other 
        appropriate entities within NOAA, other Federal agencies, the 
        American weather industry, and academic partners to ensure the 
        technical and scientific merit of OSSE results.
    (b) Requirements.--OSSEs shall quantitatively--
            (1) determine the potential impact of proposed space-based, 
        suborbital, and in situ observing systems on analyses and 
        forecasts, including potential impacts on extreme weather 
        events across all parts of the Nation;
            (2) evaluate and compare observing system design options; 
        and
            (3) assess the relative capabilities and costs of various 
        observing systems and combinations of observing systems in 
        providing data necessary to protect life and property.
    (c) Implementation.--OSSEs--
            (1) shall be conducted prior to the acquisition of major 
        Government-owned or Government-leased operational observing 
        systems, including polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite 
        systems, with a lifecycle cost of more than $500,000,000; and
            (2) shall be conducted prior to the purchase of any major 
        new commercially provided data with a lifecycle cost of more 
        than $500,000,000.
    (d) Priority Osses.--Not later than June 30, 2014, the Assistant 
Administrator for OAR shall complete OSSEs to assess the value of data 
from both Global Positioning System radio occultation and a 
geostationary hyperspectral sounder global constellation.
    (e) Results.--Upon completion of all OSSEs, results shall be 
publicly released and accompanied by an assessment of related private 
and public sector weather data sourcing options, including their 
availability, affordability, and cost effectiveness. Such assessments 
shall be developed in accordance with section 50503 of title 51, United 
States Code.

SEC. 9. COMPUTING RESOURCES PRIORITIZATION REPORT.

    Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, 
and annually thereafter, the NOAA Chief Information Officer, in 
coordination with the Assistant Administrator for OAR and the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS, shall produce and make publicly available a 
report that explains how NOAA intends to--
            (1) aggressively pursue the newest, fastest, and most cost 
        effective high performance computing technologies in support of 
        its weather prediction mission;
            (2) ensure a balance between the research requirements to 
        develop the next generation of regional and global models and 
        its highly reliable operational models;
            (3) take advantage of advanced development concepts to, as 
        appropriate, make its next generation weather prediction models 
        available in beta-test mode to its operational forecasters, the 
        American weather industry, and its partners in academic and 
        government research;
            (4) identify opportunities to reallocate existing advanced 
        computing resources from lower priority uses to improve 
        advanced research and operational weather prediction; and
            (5) harness new computing power in OAR and NWS for 
        immediate improvement in forecasting and experimentation.

SEC. 10. COMMERCIAL WEATHER DATA.

    (a) Amendment.--Section 60161 of title 51, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following: ``This prohibition shall 
not extend to--
            ``(1) the purchase of weather data through contracts with 
        commercial providers; or
            ``(2) the placement of weather satellite instruments on 
        cohosted government or private payloads.''.
    (b) Strategy.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce, in 
        consultation with the Under Secretary, shall transmit to the 
        Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation of the Senate a strategy to enable the 
        procurement of quality commercial weather data. The strategy 
        shall assess the range of commercial opportunities, including 
        public-private partnerships, for obtaining both surface-based 
        and space-based weather observations. The strategy shall 
        include the expected cost effectiveness of these opportunities 
        as well as provide a plan for procuring data, including an 
        expected implementation timeline, from these nongovernmental 
        sources, as appropriate.
            (2) Requirements.--The strategy shall include--
                    (A) an analysis of financial or other benefits to, 
                and risks associated with, acquiring commercial weather 
                data or services, including through multiyear 
                acquisition approaches;
                    (B) an identification of methods to address 
                planning, programming, budgeting, and execution 
                challenges to such approaches, including--
                            (i) how standards will be set to ensure 
                        that data is reliable and effective;
                            (ii) how data may be acquired through 
                        commercial experimental or innovative 
                        techniques and then evaluated for integration 
                        into operational use;
                            (iii) how to guarantee public access to all 
                        forecast-critical data to ensure that the 
                        American weather industry and the public 
                        continue to have access to information critical 
                        to their work; and
                            (iv) in accordance with section 50503 of 
                        title 51, United States Code, methods to 
                        address potential termination liability or 
                        cancellation costs associated with weather data 
                        or service contracts; and
                    (C) an identification of any changes needed in the 
                requirements development and approval processes of the 
                Department of Commerce to facilitate effective and 
                efficient implementation of such strategy.

SEC. 11. WEATHER RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

    (a) Establishment.--The Under Secretary shall establish a Federal 
Advisory Committee to--
            (1) provide advice for prioritizing weather research 
        initiatives at NOAA to produce real improvement in weather 
        forecasting;
            (2) provide advice on existing or emerging technologies or 
        techniques that can be found in private industry or the 
        research community that could be incorporated into forecasting 
        at NWS to improve forecasting;
            (3) identify opportunities to improve communications 
        between weather forecasters, emergency management personnel, 
        and the public; and
            (4) address such other matters as the Under Secretary or 
        the Advisory Committee believes would improve innovation in 
        weather forecasting.
    (b) Composition.--
            (1) In general.--The Under Secretary shall appoint leading 
        experts and innovators from all relevant fields of science and 
        engineering that inform meteorology, including atmospheric 
        chemistry, atmospheric physics, hydrology, social science, risk 
        communications, electrical engineering, and computer modeling.
            (2) Number.--The Advisory Committee shall be composed of at 
        least 12 members, with the chair of the Advisory Committee 
        chosen by the Under Secretary from among the members.
            (3) Restriction.--The Under Secretary may not appoint a 
        majority of members who are employees of NOAA-funded research 
        centers.
    (c) Annual Report.--The Advisory Committee shall transmit annually 
to the Under Secretary a report on progress made by NOAA in adopting 
the Advisory Committee's recommendations. The Under Secretary shall 
transmit a copy of such report to the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.
    (d) Duration.--Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 
U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Advisory Committee until the date 
that is 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 12. INTERAGENCY WEATHER RESEARCH AND INNOVATION COORDINATION.

    (a) Establishment.--The Director of the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy shall establish an Inter-agency Committee for 
Advancing Weather Services to improve coordination of relevant weather 
research and forecast innovation activities across the Federal 
Government. The Interagency Committee shall--
            (1) include participation by the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, NOAA 
        and its constituent elements, the National Science Foundation, 
        and such other agencies involved in weather forecasting 
        research as the President determines are appropriate;
            (2) identify and prioritize top forecast needs and 
        coordinate those needs against budget requests and program 
        initiatives across participating offices and agencies; and
            (3) share information regarding operational needs and 
        forecasting improvements across relevant agencies.
    (b) Co-chair.--The Federal Coordinator for Meteorology shall serve 
as a co-chair of this panel.
    (c) Further Coordination.--The Director shall take such other steps 
as are necessary to coordinate the activities of the Federal Government 
with those of the American weather industry, State governments, 
emergency managers, and academic researchers.

SEC. 13. OAR AND NWS EXCHANGE PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Assistant Administrator for OAR and the 
Assistant Administrator for NWS may establish a program to detail OAR 
personnel to the NWS and NWS personnel to OAR.
    (b) Goal.--The goal of this program is to enhance forecasting 
innovation through regular, direct interaction between OAR's world-
class scientists and NWS's operational staff.
    (c) Elements.--The program shall allow up to 10 OAR staff and NWS 
staff to spend up to 1 year on detail. Candidates shall be jointly 
selected by the Assistant Administrator for OAR and the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS.
    (d) Report.--The Under Secretary shall report annually to the 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
Representatives and to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate on participation in such program and shall 
highlight any innovations that come from this interaction.

SEC. 14. VISITING FELLOWS AT NWS.

    (a) In General.--The Assistant Administrator for NWS may establish 
a program to host postdoctoral fellows and academic researchers at any 
of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
    (b) Goal.--This program shall be designed to provide direct 
interaction between forecasters and talented academic and private 
sector researchers in an effort to bring innovation to forecasting 
tools and techniques available to the NWS.
    (c) Selection and Appointment.--Such fellows shall be competitively 
selected and appointed for a term not to exceed 1 year.

SEC. 15. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) AOA.--The term ``AOA'' means an Analysis of 
        Alternatives.
            (2) NESDIS.--The term ``NESDIS'' means the National 
        Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.
            (3) NOAA.--The term ``NOAA'' means the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration.
            (4) NWS.--The term ``NWS'' means the National Weather 
        Service.
            (5) OAR.--The term ``OAR'' means the Office of Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Research.
            (6) OSE.--The term ``OSE'' means an Observing System 
        Experiment.
            (7) OSSE.--The term ``OSSE'' means an Observing System 
        Simulation Experiment.
            (8) Under secretary.--The term ``Under Secretary'' means 
        the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

SEC. 16. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) Fiscal Year 2014.--There are authorized to be appropriated for 
fiscal year 2014--
            (1) $83,000,000 to OAR to carry out this Act, of which--
                    (A) $65,000,000 is authorized for weather 
                laboratories and cooperative institutes; and
                    (B) $18,000,000 is authorized for weather and air 
                chemistry research programs; and
            (2) out of funds made available for research and 
        development in NWS, an additional amount of $14,000,000 for OAR 
        to carry out the joint technology transfer initiative described 
        in section 3(b)(4).
    (b) Alternative Funding for Fiscal Year 2014.--If the Budget 
Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) is repealed or replaced with an 
Act that increases allocations, subsection (a) shall not apply, and 
there are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2014--
            (1) $96,500,000 to OAR to carry out this Act, of which--
                    (A) $77,500,000 is authorized for weather 
                laboratories and cooperative institutes; and
                    (B) $19,000,000 is authorized for weather and air 
                chemistry research programs; and
            (2) out of funds made available for research and 
        development in NWS, an additional amount of $16,000,000 for OAR 
        to carry out the joint technology transfer initiative described 
        in section 3(b)(4).
    (c) Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2017.--For each of fiscal years 2015 
through 2017, there are authorized to be appropriated--
            (1) $100,000,000 to OAR to carry out this Act, of which--
                    (A) $80,000,000 is authorized for weather 
                laboratories and cooperative institutes; and
                    (B) $20,000,000 is authorized for weather and air 
                chemistry research programs; and
            (2) an additional amount of $20,000,000 for the joint 
        technology transfer initiative described in section 3(b)(4).
    (d) Limitation.--No additional funds are authorized to carry out 
this Act, and the amendments made by this Act.

            Passed the House of Representatives April 1, 2014.

            Attest:

                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,

                                                                 Clerk.