We are writing to express our concern about the future plans for the United States geomagnetic observatories. It is our understanding that negotiations are presently under way between NOAA (in the Department of Commerce) and the U.S. Geological Survey (in the Department of the Interior) to transfer the jurisdiction of the observatories from NOAA to USGS. Our concern primarily arises because of the great usefulness of a number of the present observatories in solar-terrestrial research and the importance of the recognition of this usefulness by a department concerned with topics of solid-earth studies.

We would like to stress that a number of the United States observatories, as presently established, contribute importantly to national and international programs in studying and monitoring solar-terrestrial phenomena. Measurements at the observatories at San Juan and Honolulu are among those from worldwide nearequatorial stations that are used to compile the extensively used geomagnetic index Dst. The observatories at Fredericksburg and Sitka are included in the worldwide network from which the Kp index is derived. The observatories at College and Barrow in Alaska are the only U.S. stations in the auroral zone. Records from these observatories are extensively used for studies, and monitoring, of magnetic storms and provide data for the auroral electrojet (AE) index.