Canada-US agreement on weather and climate collaboration

Official title: Memorandum of Understanding between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Department of Commerce United States of America and the Department of the Environment Canada for Collaboration on Weather, Climate and Other Earth Systems for the Enhancement of Health, Safety and Economic Prosperity

Subject category:
Type of agreement / instrument:
Canada - United States
Memorandum of Understanding
  • Signed by Canada January 18, 2008.
  • Ratified by Canada January 18, 2008.
  • In force internationally January 21, 2008.
  • Will be reviewed every three years for relevance and will expire on January 21, 2018.
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food; Department of Fisheries and Oceans
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
Ocotober 2018
Reference #:

Plain language summary

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is important because it facilitates cooperation between Canada and the United States On matters related to the environment, and improves weather and water forecasts.


This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines the responsibilities of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Environment (ECCC) to collaborate on weather, climate and other Earth Systems for the enhancement of health, safety and prosperity.

Key elements

The MOU recognizes the long-standing cooperation between the Participants and is intended to: facilitate the exchange of information, technology, and management practices; and to supply a mechanism through which future efforts can be coordinated.

Expected results

This agreement is expected to:

  • Enhance and maximize the program capabilities of both Participants;
  • Encourage joint efforts to resolve common problems;
  • Avoid unplanned duplication of effort;
  • Promote compatibility in the collection, analysis, archival, and dissemination of data so that the data and results can be readily accessed, analyzed, integrated, compared, and pooled as desired; and
  • Contribute to Earth observations and assessments.

Canada’s involvement

This agreement is important to Canada, as it formalizes our longstanding cooperation with NOAA, with whom we need to share critical real-time data in order to produce weather forecasts and warnings for Canadians, as well as providing a means to work together to improve weather, water, climate, air quality and ice research, monitoring and products and services for citizens and institutions.

This agreement is implemented in Canada through a Cooperation Steering Committee (CSC), co-chaired by the ADM-Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) and a NOAA Director on a two-year rotating basis around their business lines (Weather service, satellite service, ocean service and research). The committee consists of senior officials from MSC and other Branches of Environment and Climate Change Canada (such as Science & Technology Branch), and other government Departments (such as Agriculture and Agri-Food) and the heads of the NOAA business lines. The CSC meets on a quarterly basis to review progress of bilateral activities, which are developed according to a two-year work plan.

Results / progress


A new work plan (2017-2018) was agreed to in January 2017. The work plan has retained the four previous thematic areas: Climate; Arctic; Marine Forecasting; and Hydrology while adding in Ecological Forecasting, Integrated Monitoring Operations and Impact-based Decision Support Services.

Discussions are also underway to explore emerging areas of importance to Canada and the U.S. such as Ocean Acidification, Grand Challenges related to World Meteorological Organization initiatives and Climate and Data Management.


The Cooperation Steering Committee produces an Accomplishments Report which documents the results of all of the projects on a bi-annual basis. For 2015- 2016; one activity was graduated; three activities were terminated; and 19 will continue to evolve. As an Annex to the full Report, each Theme articulated one or two Success Stories in greater detail:

  • Climate: Improved Warnings of Extreme Temperature and Related Health Impacts
  • Marine services: The NWS/MSC Marine Forecaster Exchange Program
  • Hydrologic services : Snow monitoring and data assimilation for water availability forecasting; and Great Lakes coordinated Water Level and water budget monitoring and modeling
  • Arctic: Focus on the planning for the upcoming Year of Polar Prediction initiatives


As noted under Activities, the cooperation under the MOU has enabled ECCC and NOAA to enhance bilateral scientific and technical collaboration, which contributes directly to societal benefits through more efficient operational programs (weather, ice and climate forecasting), and improved research related to weather, water and climate matters, enhanced coordination for trans-boundary forecasts in marine areas and the Great Lakes, and strengthened mutual participation in international fora such as the World Meteorological Organization and the Arctic Council.

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