The weather industry is an industry of the futureColumbia University professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences Joseph Stiglitz said that climate change is the most important issue facing the U.S. economy today, urging the U.S. government to act more aggressively to address the issue. Developed countries no longer consider climate change just as a crisis of global environment but perceive it as an opportunity to nurture new industries of the future.
In order to respond to climate change, we need to have a meteorological industry to provide weather and climate-related services by observing and adapting to the changes. Korea’s meteorological services are centered on the Korean Meteorological Administration, a government agency, and therefore, civilian weather services are not readily provided. According to the Weather Industry Promotion Act, the KMA is in charge of promoting and developing domestic weather-related industries.
However, the government policies on the weather industry lack consistency, and the division of roles between civilian and government organizations is not clearly defined, resulting in confusion and redundancy in many areas of weather service. Sometimes, the KMA and meteorological service providers perceive each other as competitors.
In developed nations, the weather industry is considered a mainstay industry necessary for the development of the society and economy and an industrial engine that creates high added value, as it protects valuable life and property of the citizens from natural disasters. In the United States, the functions are clearly divided between civilian and government organizations so that they can work together to protect lives and properties of the citizens and enhance the national economy. Japan recognizes the industry to be closely related to rights to life and provide preferential support through public agencies.
For advancement of the weather industry, appropriate division of roles should be defined so that the KMA needs to focus on its proper duty of disaster prevention while meteorological businesses can provide customized services to satisfy diversified needs of the consumers. The government should reinforce the existing meteorological infrastructure. According to the World Meteorological Organization, investment on weather service brings more than ten times of effects. The eeather industry is surely an industry of the future.
* Kim Dong-sik CEO of KWeather and the president of the Weather Industry Association