The Secretary of Commerce shall have charge of the forecasting of weather, the issue of storm warnings, the display of weather and flood signals for the benefit of agriculture, commerce, and navigation, the gauging and reporting of rivers, the maintenance and operation of seacoast telegraph lines and the collection and transmission of marine intelligence for the benefit of commerce and navigation, the reporting of temperature and rain-fall conditions for the cotton interests, the display of frost and cold-wave signals, the distribution of meteorological information in the interests of agriculture and commerce, and the taking of such meteorological observations as may be necessary to establish and record the climatic conditions of the United States, or as are essential for the proper execution of the foregoing duties.
(Oct. 1, 1890, ch. 1266, §3, 26 Stat. 653; May 20, 1926, ch. 344, §5 (e), 44 Stat. 571; June 23, 1938, ch. 601, title XI, §1107(k), 52 Stat. 1029; 1940 Reorg. Plan No. IV, §8, eff. June 30, 1940, 5 F.R. 2421, 54 Stat. 1236; 1965 Reorg. Plan No. 2, §§1, 2, eff. July 13, 1965, 30 F.R. 8819, 79 Stat. 1318.)
1938—Act June 23, 1938, repealed second paragraph relating to duties as to air navigation.
1926—Act May 20, 1926, inserted second paragraph relating to duties as to air navigation.
Pub. L. 85–726, title XIV, §1401(b), Aug. 23, 1958, 72 Stat. 806, repealed act June 23, 1938, ch. 601, title XI, §1107(k), 52 Stat. 1029, cited to the credit of this section.
Office of Chief of Weather Bureau abolished and functions transferred to Secretary of Commerce by Reorg. Plan No. 2 of 1965, eff. July 13, 1965, 30 F.R. 8819, 79 Stat. 1318. Reorg. Plan No. IV of 1940 transferred Weather Bureau from Department of Agriculture to Department of Commerce. For further details, see notes set out under section 311 of this title.
Pub. L. 108–199, div. B, title II, §203, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 72, provided in part that: "Hereafter, none of the funds made available by this or any other Act for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may be used to support the hurricane reconnaissance aircraft and activities that are under the control of the United States Air Force or the United States Air Force Reserve."
Similar provisions were contained in the following prior appropriation acts:
Pub. L. 108–7, div. B, title II, §203, Feb. 20, 2003, 117 Stat. 77.
Pub. L. 107–77, title II, §203, Nov. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 778.
Pub. L. 106–553, §1(a)(2) [title II, §203], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2762, 2762A–78.
Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, §1000(a)(1) [title II, §203], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1535, 1501A–31.
Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, §101(b) [title II, §203], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–50, 2681–86.
Pub. L. 105–119, title II, §203, Nov. 26, 1997, 111 Stat. 2479.
Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, §101(a) [title II, §203], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009, 3009–39.
Pub. L. 104–134, title I, §101[(a)] [title II, §203], Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321, 1321–30; renumbered title I, Pub. L. 104–140, §1(a), May 2, 1996, 110 Stat. 1327.
Pub. L. 103–317, title II, §203, Aug. 26, 1994, 108 Stat. 1749.
Pub. L. 103–121, title II, §203, Oct. 27, 1993, 107 Stat. 1176.
Pub. L. 102–395, title II, §203, Oct. 6, 1992, 106 Stat. 1855.
Pub. L. 102–140, title II, §203, Oct. 28, 1991, 105 Stat. 806.
Pub. L. 101–515, title I, §103, Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 2107.
Pub. L. 102–567, title I, §107, Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4275, provided that:
"(2) The Secretary of Commerce shall establish the Tropical Cyclone Research Advisory Committee, an advisory committee of tropical cyclone research scientists, to make recommendations for tropical cyclone research activities and reconnaissance procedures.
"(2) The Secretary of Commerce shall have the responsibility to provide funding for data gathering and research by remote sensing, ground sensing, research aircraft, and other technologies necessary to accomplish the program established under this section.
"(2) The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Tropical Cyclone Research Advisory Committee established by section 107(a)(2), shall jointly develop and, within 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, submit to the Congress a management plan providing for continued tropical cyclone surveillance and reconnaissance which will adequately protect the citizens of the coastal areas of the United States.
"(3) The management plans and programs required by this section shall in every sense provide for at least the same degree and quality of protection (such as early warning capability and accuracy of fixing a storm's location) as currently exists with a combination of satellite technology and manned reconnaissance flights. Additionally, such plans and programs shall in no way allow any reduction in the level, quality, timeliness, sustainability, or area served (including the State of Hawaii) of both the existing principal and back-up tropical cyclone reconnaissance and tracking systems."
Pub. L. 102–567, title I, §108, Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4276, as amended by Pub. L. 115–25, title I, §109, Apr. 18, 2017, 131 Stat. 97, formerly set out as a note under this section, was transferred to section 8520 of this title.
Pub. L. 102–567, title VII, Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4303, provided that:
"This title may be cited as the 'Weather Service Modernization Act'.
"For the purposes of this title, the term—
"(1) 'automate' means to replace employees with automated weather service equipment;
"(2) 'change operations at a field office' means transfer service responsibility, commission weather observation systems, decommission a National Weather Service radar, change staffing levels significantly, or move a field office to a new location inside the local commuting and service area;
"(3) 'Committee' means the Modernization Transition Committee established by section 707;
"(4) 'degradation of service' means any decrease in or failure to maintain the quality and type of weather services provided by the National Weather Service to the public in a service area, including but not limited to a reduction in existing weather radar coverage at an elevation of 10,000 feet;
"(5) 'field office' means any National Weather Service Office or National Weather Service Forecast Office;
"(6) 'Plan' means the National Implementation Plan required under section 703;
"(7) 'relocate' means to transfer from one location to another location that is outside the local commuting or service area;
"(8) 'Secretary' means the Secretary of Commerce;
"(9) 'service area' means the geographical area for which a field office provides services or conducts observations, including but not limited to local forecasts, severe weather warnings, aviation support, radar coverage, and ground weather observations; and
"(10) 'Strategic Plan' means the 10-year strategic plan for the comprehensive modernization of the National Weather Service, required under section 407 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1989 (15 U.S.C. 313 note).
"(1) detailed requirements for new technologies, facilities, staffing levels and positions, and funding, in accordance with the overall schedule for modernization;
"(2) notification of any proposed action to change operations at a field office and the intended date of such operational change;
"(3) identification of any field office that the Secretary intends to certify under section 706, including the intended date of such certification;
"(4) special measures to test, evaluate, and demonstrate key elements of the modernized National Weather Service operations prior to national implementation, including a multistation operational demonstration which tests the performance of the modernization in an integrated manner for a sustained period;
"(5) detailed plans and funding requirements for meteorological research to be accomplishment [sic] under this title to assure that new techniques in forecasting will be developed to utilize the new technologies being implemented in the modernization; and
"(6) training and education programs to ensure that employees gain the necessary expertise to utilize the new technologies and to minimize employee displacement as a consequence of modernization.
"(1) assesses requirements and procedures for commissioning new weather observation systems, decommissioning an outdated National Weather Service radar, and evaluating staffing needs for field offices in an affected service area;
"(2) assesses the statistical and analytical measures that should be made for a service area to form an adequate basis for determining that there will be no degradation of service; and
"(3) includes such other recommendations as the National Research Council determines are appropriate to ensure public safety.
"(1) commissioning new weather observation systems, decommissioning an outdated National Weather Service radar, and evaluating staffing needs for field offices in an affected service area; and
"(2) certifying action to close, consolidate, automate, or relocate a field office under section 706.
"(1) a description of local weather characteristics and weather-related concerns which affect the weather services provided within the service area;
"(2) a detailed comparison of the services provided within the service area and the services to be provided after such action;
"(3) a description of any recent or expected modernization of National Weather Service operations which will enhance services in the service area;
"(4) an identification of any area within any State which would not receive coverage (at an elevation of 10,000 feet) by the next generation weather radar network;
"(5) evidence, based upon operational demonstration of modernized National Weather Service operations, which was considered in reaching the conclusion that no degradation in service will result from such action; and
"(6) any report of the Committee submitted under section 707(c) that evaluates the proposed certification.
"(1) publication in the Federal Register of a proposed certification; and
"(2) a 60-day period after such publication during which the public may provide comments to the Secretary on the proposed certification.
"(1) which is located at an airport, unless the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation and the Committee, first conducts an air safety appraisal, determines that such action will not result in degradation of service that affects aircraft safety, and includes such determination in the certification required under subsection (b); or
"(2) which is the only office in a State, unless the Secretary first evaluates the effect on weather services provided to in-State users, such as State agencies, civil defense officials, and local public safety offices, and includes in the certification required under subsection (b) the Secretary's determination that a comparable level of weather services provided to such in-State users will remain.
"(1) provides timely information regarding the activities of the National Weather Service which may affect service to the community, including modernization and restructuring; and
"(2) works with area weather service users, including persons associated with general aviation, civil defense, emergency preparedness, and the news media, with respect to the provision of timely weather warnings and forecasts.
"(A) five members representing agencies and departments of the United States which are responsible for providing or using weather services, including but not limited to the National Weather Service, the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and
"(B) seven members to be appointed by the Secretary from civil defense and public safety organizations, news media, any labor organization certified by the Federal Labor Relations Authority as an exclusive representative of weather service employees, meteorological experts, and private sector users of weather information such as pilots and farmers.
"(2) The terms of office of a member of the Committee shall be 3 years; except that, of the original membership, four shall serve a 5-year term, four shall serve a 4-year term, and four shall serve a 3-year term. No individual may serve for more than one additional 3-year term.
"(3) The Secretary shall designate a chairman of the Committee from among its members.
"(2) The Committee shall advise the Congress and the Secretary on—
"(A) the implementation of the Strategic Plan, annual development of the Plan, and establishment and implementation of modernization criteria; and
"(B) matters of public safety and the provision of weather services which relate to the comprehensive modernization of the National Weather Service.
"(2) The report shall list the number of next generation weather radars that will be associated with each Weather Forecast Office nationwide under the proposed modernization plan. If some Weather Forecast Offices will be associated with more than one such radar, the report shall explain the deviation from the National Weather Service's stated policy of associating one such radar with one Weather Forecast Office, and shall analyze and compare any differences in the expected efficiency of those Weather Forecast Offices with Weather Forecast Offices that will be associated with only one such radar.
"[Amended section 407 of Pub. L. 100–685, set out below, and repealed section 408 of Pub. L. 100–685, formerly set out below.]"
[References in laws to the rates of pay for GS–16, 17, or 18, or to maximum rates of pay under the General Schedule, to be considered references to rates payable under specified sections of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, see section 529 [title I, §101(c)(1)] of Pub. L. 101–509, set out in a note under section 5376 of Title 5.]
Pub. L. 101–595, title III, §320, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 2989, provided that: "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is authorized to enter into a contract for the future purchase of atmospheric wind data. Any and all obligations of the Government under such contract shall be contingent upon the following terms:
"(1) the data to be purchased must meet technical criteria specified in the contract and must be satisfactory to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and
"(2) the availability of appropriated funds."
Pub. L. 100–685, title IV, §407, Nov. 17, 1988, 102 Stat. 4098, as amended by Pub. L. 102–567, title VII, §709(1), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4309, directed Secretary of Commerce to prepare and submit to Congress, not later than 90 days after Nov. 17, 1988, a 10-year strategic plan for comprehensive modernization of National Weather Service, setting forth basic service improvement objectives of modernization as well as critical new technological components and associated operational changes necessary to fulfill objectives of weather and flood warning service improvements.
Pub. L. 100–685, title IV, §408, Nov. 17, 1988, 102 Stat. 4099, prohibited Secretary of Commerce from closing, consolidating, automating, or relocating, any Weather Service Office or Weather Service Forecast Office pursuant to the implementation of the strategic plan required by section 407 of Pub. L. 100–685 [formerly set out above] unless the Secretary certified to Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives that such action would not result in any degradation of weather services provided to the affected area, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–567, title VII, §709(2), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4309.
Pub. L. 99–198, title XVII, §1762, Dec. 23, 1985, 99 Stat. 1651, as amended by Pub. L. 115–25, title II, §201, Apr. 18, 2017, 131 Stat. 98, formerly set out as a note under this section, was transferred to section 8521 of this title.
Pub. L. 98–8, title I, §104, Mar. 24, 1983, 97 Stat. 34, provided that:
"Since the Administration has proposed to sell the weather (METSAT) and land (LANDSAT) satellite systems;
"Since there are concerns about possible commercialization of the National Weather Service;
"Since our country should provide weather service information for the protection of life and property;
"Since our Nation's economy—its agriculture, aviation, ocean shipping and construction—is heavily affected by weather and our ability to forecast and disseminate vital information about its behavior: Now, therefore,
"It is the sense of the Congress that a reliable and comprehensive national weather information system responsive to the needs of national security; agriculture, transportation and other affected sectors; and individual citizens must be maintained through a strong central National Weather Service that can work closely with the private sector, other Federal and State government agencies, and the weather services of other nations.
"Further, the Nation's civil operational remote sensing satellites (METSAT and LANDSAT) shall remain under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. No effort shall be made to dismantle, transfer, lease or sell any portion of these systems without prior congressional approval."
Act June 16, 1948, ch. 483, 62 Stat. 470, as amended Oct. 19, 1980, Pub. L. 96–470, title I, §103(b), 94 Stat. 2237, provided: "That the Chief of the Weather Bureau is authorized and directed to study fully and thoroughly the internal structure of thunderstorms, hurricanes, cyclones, and other severe atmospheric disturbances, particularly the degree of turbulence within such storms and the development, maintenance, and magnitude of updrafts and downdrafts with a view to establishing methods by which the characteristics of particular thunderstorms may be forecast and methods by which the characteristics of such storms may be determined on visual observation from outside of the immediate thunderstorm area. Such study shall be concluded at the earliest practicable date and a final report submitted to Congress.