Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on February 26, 2020
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 18, 2020
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 11, 2020
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) encourages all levels of government to continue and expand long-term weather data collection programs utilizing the latest generation of weather surveillance. Funding should be provided on a continuing basis to allow for the prediction of the location, intensity, and frequency of weather events, and to support computer models and programs that are used to interpret weather surveillance information. Special emphasis should be placed on identifying weather trends related with the changing climate.
Engineers use weather data for many reasons, including research, structural design, infrastructure sustainability, and development of engineering standards. In addition to the fact that there is a relatively short history of accurate weather data collection, a changing climate necessitates the need for more complete and accurate weather data that can be relied upon for these needs. Federal and state governments provide the best source of continued advancement in technology and long-term data collection and management.
Civil engineers are responsible for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of physical infrastructure. These would include buildings of all types, communication facilities, energy generation and distribution, industrial facilities, transportation of all modes, water resource facilities, and urban water systems. Design and construction of this infrastructure must rely on accurate weather data so that it remains functional, durable, and safe for long service lives, typically 50 to more than 100 years. Robust and accessible data is a key ingredient for the engineering design of a resilient infrastructure as well as disaster preparedness. In addition, the technology provides civil engineers with real-time weather data to produce spatial and temporal estimates. Long-term, continuous data collection and reporting allows for better understanding and more resilient and sustainable infrastructure.
ASCE Policy Statement 409
First Approved in 1993