Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act - H.R.353 / S.570

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Overview
Purpose: 
"To improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather research through a focused program of investment on affordable and attainable advances in observational, computing, and modeling capabilities to support substantial improvement in weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, to expand commercial opportunities for the provision of weather data, and for other purposes."
Primary sponsors: 
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) / Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Latest major action: 
President signed H.R.353 into law, April 18, 2017
Summary of provisions
  • Authorizes a comprehensive atmospheric research program at NOAA, and directs NOAA to collaborate with the rest of the U.S. weather research community
  • Creates a new joint technology transfer initiative and tornado warning improvement and extension program in NOAA’s research office, and maintains the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program
  • Establishes a new seasonal forecasting program within the National Weather Service
  • Authorizes NOAA to purchase weather observations data from private companies, and requires NOAA to enter into at least one contract and assess the effectiveness of incorporating private data into its models
  • Charters multiple new exchange programs and coordinating committees to improve weather communication and coordination across the U.S. weather enterprise
  • Requires NOAA to maintain its tsunami warning centers, develop a rapid tsunami forecast capability, and study tsunami risk and triggering phenomena
  • Note: Congress has since amended the legislation through the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act
Actions
Actions on the House bill: 
President signed bill into law
April 18, 2017
House passed amended version of bill by voice vote
April 4, 2017
Senate passed amended version of bill by unanimous consent
March 29, 2017
House passed bill by voice vote
Jan. 9, 2017
Bill introduced
Jan. 6, 2017
Actions on the Senate bill: 
Bill introduced
March 8, 2017