U.S. Readies Big-Data Dump on Climate and Weather

Big data applications are a key priority for Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who has been pushing for Commerce Department agencies to explore ways of making more of their data available to businesses and the public. In a Feb. 24 speech in Silicon Valley, Pritzker said the Department’s interest in making more weather and climate data publicly accessible also stems in part from the recognition that weather and climate-sensitive industries in the U.S. “account for roughly one-third of GDP.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gathers and distributes enough weather and climate data to support a multibillion-dollar private-sector weather industry. Now, it is seeking ways to release vast new troves of this data, a move that could be a boon for businesses and researchers.

NOAA on Monday issued a request for information aimed at soliciting ideas from the private sector to help the federal agency free up much of the 20 terabytes of information that it gathers daily on the land, sea and air. In doing so, NOAA would provide a data bonanza to researchers, and enable private companies to develop new weather and climate tools.

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