Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) and Commercial Data Purchase (CDP)

The NOAA Commercial Space Policy calls for NOAA to explore and pursue demonstration projects to validate the viability of adding commercial environmental data and products into NOAA’s meteorological models and to meet NOAA Earth observation requirements.

NOAA image of radio occultation technique

NOAA’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) will serve as one such demonstration project. NOAA will evaluate commercial data to demonstrate the quality of the data and its impact to weather forecast models, and to inform NOAA’s process for ingesting, evaluating, and utilizing commercial data in the future.

Based on the findings of recent market research and FAR processes (e.g., Requests for Information), NOAA selected GNSS radio occultation as the most suitable data type for the first two rounds of the CWDP.

Commercial Space Weather Data (2022)

Request for Information

On November 10, 2021, NOAA released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting information on existing or planned commercial space-based space weather data and related capabilities that will be available in the timeframe of 2022 through 2027.

View RFI at SAM.gov

This solicitation is being issued pursuant to direction in the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act (Public Law 116-181). In addition, the NOAA Commercial Space Policy and the NESDIS Commercial Space Activities Assessment Process call for NOAA to explore and, where appropriate, pursue demonstration projects to assess the viability of assimilating commercially-provided satellite data and products to improve weather forecasting and diversify NOAA’s portfolio of data collection capabilities.

Through this RFI, NOAA seeks information from industry on existing and planned space weather observation data sources and related capabilities that may help NOAA meet NOAA’s space weather mission objectives. The RFI will be open for 28 days with responses due no later than December 8, 2021, 4:00 p.m. EST. The responses received will be used to inform plans for future space-based space weather Commercial Weather Data Pilot studies and other commercial data acquisition activities.

NOAA’s Commercial Data Program continues to successfully engage with the commercial sector through pilots and acquisition of operational satellite data-as-a-service for commercial radio occultation data to help improve weather forecasts and provide risk reduction to the overall observing system.

Commercial Radio Occultation Data Purchase (2020-2022)

Delivery Order 3

On Friday, August 13, 2021, NOAA awarded a third Delivery Order (DO-3) under its existing Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract for radio occultation (RO) satellite weather data to Spire Federal.

Through this DO, NOAA is purchasing 3000 RO profiles per day for six months beginning in September 2021.

The near real-time RO data will be available to U.S. Government agencies. While previous DOs have limited the data sharing until 24 hours after receipt, DO-3 will add near real-time sharing with National Meteorological and Hydrological services, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-designated meteorological centers, and members of the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites. Data will be publicly available to other users after 24 hours.

Through the Commercial Data Program and this commercial data purchase, NOAA continues to implement the related section of 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 a pilot assessment that demonstrates commercial sector readiness.

On May 20, 2021, NOAA began using the commercial RO data in operational weather forecasts. This third Delivery Order increases the quantity and expands the distribution of commercial RO data to augment existing sources. Subsequent DOs are being planned to continue the flow of commercial RO data into NOAA’s numerical weather prediction models.

NOAA’s Commercial Data Program has successfully engaged the commercial sector through a competitive process and acquired operational satellite data-as-a-service. Commercial RO data constitute an important addition to NOAA’s portfolio that will help improve weather forecasts and provide risk reduction to the overall observing system.

Previous Activity

CWDP Round 3 & Other NOAA Requirements

Sources Sought Notice

On July 6, 2021, NOAA issued a sources sought notice to conduct market research to identify potential commercial sources of operational satellite-based microwave atmospheric sensor data. Commercial microwave observations may be investigated in an upcoming CWDP study to assess their compatibility with and efficacy for use in NOAA’s numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and other nowcasting applications. The solicitation period closed August 6, 2021.

View notice at SAM.gov

Previous Activity

CWDP Round 2 (2018-2019)

Summary of Results

Cover of CWDP Round 2 reportView summary (PDF)

On June 26, 2020, NOAA released the summary of the results of Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) Round 2. In Round 2, NOAA evaluated GNSS radio occultation data from two U.S. commercial space companies: GeoOptics and Spire. NOAA concludes that, based on the results of CWDP Round 2, the commercial sector is able to provide radio occultation data that can support NOAA’s operational products and services.

Previous Activity

CWDP Round 1 (2016-2018)

Origin & Initial Plan

FY 2016 Direction

Congress initiated the CWDP with the following language in the FY 2016 omnibus funding measure:

Commercial Weather Data Pilot.—NOAA shall, through an open competitive process, seek to enter into at least one pilot contract to assess the potential viability of commercial weather data in its weather modeling and forecasting. This funding shall be used to purchase, evaluate, and calibrate available data, which meets the standards and specifications set by NOAA in its Commercial Data Policy. NOAA shall provide the Committees a report on how it plans to implement the commercial weather data pilot program not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act.

View source (23 MB PDF, p. 44)

Report to Congress

NOAA’s March 2016 report to Congress provides the initial plan to execute the CDWP, including timelines.

View report (500 KB PDF)