NOAA today awarded a fifth and final Delivery Order under its existing Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for commercial radio occultation (RO) satellite weather data. The RO data consist of vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and related quantities for operational weather models and other applications.
An award was made to Spire Global Subsidiary, Inc. for a total of 3,300 RO profiles per day for six months beginning on January 18, 2023. The near-real-time data will be available with unlimited distribution rights, allowing NOAA to distribute the RO data to any entity immediately after receipt at NOAA with no restrictions on their use or further distribution. NESDIS' implementation of no-restrictions data sharing is a first for the Commercial Data Program (CDP) and marks a significant shift in trends towards open and free sharing of data amongst all global users.
The CDP includes two lines of effort: the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) project includes demonstrations of the quality and impact of commercial data on weather forecast models; and the Commercial Data Purchase project in support of operational weather forecasting. NOAA first began using commercial RO data in its operational weather forecasts on May 20, 2021. This fifth Delivery Order will continue to build on the success of the Commercial Data Purchase project, which began in 2020. Subsequent commercial data purchases, under a second IDIQ, are being planned to continue integrating commercial RO data into NOAA’s numerical weather prediction models.
Through CDP and these commercial data acquisitions, NOAA continues to implement the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-25), which directs NOAA to obtain commercial weather data from private sector providers following pilot assessments that demonstrate commercial sector readiness. NOAA’s CDP has successfully engaged the commercial sector through a competitive process and has acquired operational satellite data-as-a-service. Commercial RO data constitute an important addition to NOAA’s portfolio of environmental observations, which help improve weather forecasts and reduce risk to the overall observing system. The latest updates and activities in NOAA’s CDP can be found on the Office of Space Commerce website.