The National Weather Service released a report today on changes to the private weather industry and how those changes affect the NWS’s role in relevant industries. The volatility of recent weather trends and technological innovation have brought many industries together in the name of pragmatism and efficiency, as well as a demand for more weather services in general. This demand intersects with the interests of more businesses because the utilization of big data and other innovations have made the use of weather data much more accessible and profitable. Besides the micro economic perspective, the effects of this shift are being felt nationally. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the national economy is comprised of industries that are affected by the weather. To get numerical, 3-6 percent of the annual national GDP is impacted negatively by daily weather and weather events. Also, the private weather industry is valued at about 7 billion dollars and estimated to grow 10-15 percent each year. This translates to a heavy demand for weather related services and only room for growth. Essentially, the changes boil down into two major factors: technological innovation and an increase in weather-related disruptions to the national economy.
This new assortment of industries vying for weather-data superiority has made the weather industry a much more dynamic place. Thus over the years, the private weather industry has turned into a very elaborate and diverse ecosystem with equally elaborate and diverse strategies in how to use that data. The process of obtaining and utilizing weather data and the ways to use it have given birth to a novel environment of weather observation, capital/data modeling, and actual weather services. This, on top of the fact that companies and businesses that have never cared about weather are now caring, has generated a renewal of best use cases and innovation fueled by the creativity of new minds and technology.
However the NWS is still, by far, the leading authority in public safety and alerting, though even public safety privatization seems more likely with each passing day. Besides, this increase in dependence on weather services across industries means the supply can meet the demand.