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Policy Statement 409 - Weather Data Collection


Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on January 25, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 14, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the deployment of the latest generation of weather surveillance technology and data collection by the federal government, with funding on a continuing basis sufficient to allow for the prediction of   major weather events and employing programs that use and interpret weather surveillance information. 


There is a need for more accurate weather information, including long-term weather data. There are many uses for such data in real time for systems management as well as research, project design, and the development of engineering design standards. There is a need for better education on civil engineering applications involving weather surveillance information.  Although both private and public entities may develop and deploy weather surveillance technology and data collection projects, continuing support of federal programs provides the best source of continued advancement in technology and long-term data collection and management.


The National Weather Service, along with the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation (primarily the Federal Aviation Administration), are continually deploying and upgrading weather surveillance technology.

Civil engineers use weather surveillance data on wind speed for structural design, on wind shear for aircraft and airport design, on precipitation for drainage, flood control, water supply management, and other public welfare applications, on snowfall and snow accumulation for structural design and emergency preparedness. 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 that leads to better protection of infrastructure.

ASCE Policy Statement 409
First Approved in 1993