Moving Forward, Again, on a National Network of Networks

by James Stalker, President & CEO, RESPR, Inc.
Since my last blog in The Front Page a little over a year ago about the effort to form a National Network of Networks, many changes have taken place.
First, the AMS NNoN ad hoc Committee completed its final report in 2013, which is available on the AMS website at A short summary article will appear in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society this fall.
While these are welcome developments, the network of networks initiative almost came to a screeching halt except for the work of the Weather and Climate Enterprise Commissioner, Matt Parker, who didn’t want it to go away. Matt asked me to chair the new Nationwide Network of Networks (NNoN) effort going forward. At that time, as the NNoN R&D/Testbeds Working Group chair for the previous three years, I was prepared for the seemingly inevitable end of the NNoN effort, but refused to accept it.
So, here we are now with renewed enthusiasm for the new NNoN initiative taking shape within a full fledged AMS NNoN Committee, under the AMS Board on Strategic Topics (BEST). Previous participants, particularly John Lasley, and the past NNoN ad hoc Committee chair, George Frederick, pooled together a committee of more than 30 people to resume the effort.
For those of you who are not familiar with the NNoN initiative, it all got started when the National Research Council (NRC) report titled Observing the Weather and Climate From the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks came out in 2009. The AMS NNoN ad hoc Committee further reviewed the recommendations of the NRC report and produced the aforementioned report of its own.
The ad hoc committee produced six specific recommendations, but the first and most important one is to organize a stakeholders summit to gain weather and climate community-wide support for the NNoN effort. The renewed NNoN initiative is, in fact, considering this recommendation in stride. It will hold a couple of mini-summit meetings in 2013 and 2014, before the culminating stakeholders summit in 2015.
In this regard, a meeting is scheduled to take place in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday, August 12, the day before the AMS Summer Community Meeting begins. Members of the weather and climate enterprise community are urged to attend this mini-summit to learn about the new NNoN direction and provide critical input.
One of the key tweaks in the approach of the new NNoN is the bottom-up approach, as opposed to the top-down approach of the earlier efforts. In other words, new network members joining the NNoN are consulted for their input before recommendations are suggested specifically for that network member. Another key tweak is that the new NNoN Committee is going to actually help network members implement the network-specific recommendations. Implementation services will require funding, and the new NNoN is exploring many possible ways to secure such funding.
The new NNoN effort is supported by three working groups: 1) an Implementation Working Group, 2) an Outreach Working Group, and 3) an Advisory Working Group. These working groups comprise multiple teams to provide the benefits network members are looking for. The upcoming BAMS article will detail the new NNoN initiative, including the working groups and the teams that comprise them.
Also, for further information and for expressing your interest to join the effort as a committee member, get in touch with me at [email protected] or any of the three working group chairs (Greg Partt at [email protected]; John Lasley at [email protected]; Don Berchoff at [email protected]).