(note: excerpt from geneva.usmission.gov from 06/23/05)
Embassy of the United States
Russian Federation and U.S. Sign Pioneering Agreement
The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Russian Federation's Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring (ROSHYDROMET) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will serve to upgrade ROSHYDROMET's observational network. (image left from NWS.noaa.gov)
The agreement will help ROSHYDROMET provide more accurate weather forecasts with greater lead time; strengthen its institutional capacity for emergency preparedness and improved information dissemination; and modernize data processing, archiving, computing and telecommunications facilities.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Alexander Bedritsky, head of ROSHYDROMET, and retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D. , under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Under the agreement, NOAA will assist ROSHYDROMET modernize its forecasting and hydrological services. "The agreement is a significant and gratifying opportunity to work collaboratively with Russia on crucial environmental areas," Lautenbacher said. "The NOAA National Weather Service underwent a similar major modernization effort during the 1990s, and I am pleased we can share that experience with the Russian Federation."
Emphasizing the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation, Bedritsky said that the agreement promoted cooperation in exchanging scientific resources, personnel, technical information and services in the fields of meteorology, hydrology and oceanography in both countries.
Funded with loans from the World Bank and Russian Federation, the effort will help support the Russian society's changing needs for potentially lifesaving weather and climate data and services over the coming decades.
Modernization will include upgrading the World Meteorological Center in Moscow, the Regional Meteorological Centers in Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk, and the data storage and archiving facilities in Obninsk. A high-speed communications system will be created to link these four resources.
The agreement is a vital link in the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The Russian Federation, Canada and the United States are actively engaged in building GEOSS, which is supported by nearly 60 countries and over 40 international organizations.
By linking many thousands of valuable individual technological assets as one comprehensive, integrated and sustained global system, GEOSS aims to ensure that 21st-century technology will be as interrelated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
With global and U.S.10-year implementation plans already in place, and several other countries now developing national plans, GEOSS will revolutionize our understanding of Earth and how it works over the next decade.
GEOSS will help reduce loss of life and property from such hazards. It will help mitigate the impact of other disasters, such as last December's devastating tsunami.
GEOSS will make it possible to forecast next winter's weather months in advance. It will help predict where and when malaria, West Nile virus, SARS and other diseases are likely to strike.
GEOSS will make more effective monitoring of forest fires possible, and provide farmers with immediate forecasts essential to maximizing crops yields.