(Washington, DC) - The Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) was authorized by Congress to create a community-driven modeling system that leverages innovations from the broader weather enterprise. On November 20, 2019, the Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing titled, “A Task of EPIC Proportions: Reclaiming U.S. Leadership in Weather Modeling and Prediction.” At the hearing expert witnesses testified that EPIC must be independent, autonomous, and encourage participation and collaboration from the private and academic sectors of the weather community. On July 28, NOAA closed its “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for EPIC, after several extensions from the original proposal deadline of May 11.
“Our nation is experiencing an above-average Atlantic hurricane season during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to other extreme weather events across our nation,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK). “The need for the U.S. to improve weather prediction takes on a new urgency during this difficult time as it is a matter of saving lives, and further preventing economic losses.
“Congress authorized EPIC to help the U.S. once again become the world leader in weather forecasting. As noted in our March 6 letter to NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Neil Jacobs, it is imperative that EPIC fulfill its legislative mandate of creating a truly community-driven modeling system that leverages the broader weather enterprise
“We are supportive of EPIC but know that the recent RFP raised concerns from some members of the weather community. We hope that NOAA carefully considers their feedback to ensure that scientific innovation plays a key role in the development of EPIC. We were pleased that the EPIC RFP will lead to a single award being issued, as our letter also noted. Despite multiple delays in the RFP solicitation deadline, we hope that NOAA will choose the best proposal that supports a robust EPIC as authorized by Congress and provide a clear path toward implementation and success as quickly as possible.”
The March 6 letter can be found here.