Towards a stronger European market in applied meteorology



Assessments of the potential size, actual size and growth rate of the European market in value-added meteorological products and services are brought up to date and set in their historical context. The results show that the European market is orders of magnitude below its overall potential size and has grown very slowly over the past decade. These findings raise interesting and important questions about the structure of the market. In particular, the role of the National Meteorological Services acting simultaneously as quasi monopoly data suppliers to the private sector and as product producers in competition with that sector introduces serious distortions to the market, which restrict market growth for all the players. The underlying reasons for this are analysed and it is concluded that the most significant contribution to the realization of a strong and growing market would be the treatment of the upstream meteorological data as Public Service Information (PSI), a genuine public good available to all downstream players at the marginal cost of handling and dissemination. The distortions arising from the WMO Cg XII Resolution 40 and ECOMET and serious flaws in the provisions of the EC Directive 2003/98EC are considered and it is shown that the current net loss to national exchequers in terms of taxation, which could be returned from the sector, is around 100 million Euros per annum to which can be added the social costs associated with the failure to grow the employment in the sector to its full potential. Copyright © 2008 Royal Meteorological Society