The US has a very different model for met data than Europe. Centrally funded agencies produce forecasts, which are seen as essential for the country’s infrastructure. This data can then be made available for free. This encourages innovation, as other specialists then take that data, build funky interfaces, derive new variables. A whole bunch of weather forecasts online derive ultimately from free GFS data.
Europe actually has higher quality met data available courtesy of ECMWF. However, it will cost you an arm and two legs to access it. I recently asked two persons relatively senior at ECMWF and the UK Met Office whether they would like to see a open data model in Europe. They both responded very positively. It isn’t due to the people who work in these institutions wanting to keep things secret, it’s because they are required by governments to try and recoup some of their costs by maximising revenue. However, this revenue recouped is relatively small in relation to their total funding. With a small change of funding structure, I’m sure they would embrace this approach.
Many of the models too, can be released as open source, allowing a much larger community of active users and developers. The success of WRF is dragging many of the European met agencies into the open data 21st century. The Open Meteo Forecast is a forecast to run WRF at a decent resolution over Europe, and make the data publicly available. It is exactly this approach, showing that it can be done, and that it encourages innovation in the use of data which will help the European met agencies change their model to the much more productive open source, open data model.
I’m hoping to get involved in the project, if work time allows. Support it!