Spanish Meteo Restarts Charging for Data
In a surprising move the Spanish Meteo service AEMET has decided on 25 October to start charging for meteo-data that until now was provided free of charge. As of 30 October the FTP service providing access to AEMET data has been shut down. A document announcing the decision that was originally available has been removed from the AEMET website, and currently no mention of the change in policy is being made by AEMET on their website.
The FTP access to AEMET's data was popular, and a year ago AEMET itself boasted the 190.000 daily FTP downloads it handled.
A petition has been started at Change.org to protest the decision and has been signed by over 2300 people thusfar. UPDATE 5 November: 3485 signatures.
Fernando Belda, AEMET's director for production and infrastructures stated that the decision needed to conform to a 2006 ministerial order on public prices, as a report of the State Audit Office apparently said last July. Other government sources deny that the quoted text can force AEMET to charge for the raw data, as it only affects products. The World Meteorological Organization has called upon its members to freely publish raw information to facilitate research.
In November 2010 AEMET had introduced its new data policy, providing free FPT access to diverse data as hourly data of solar radiation, ozone daily information, radar images, numerical models, historical records (which in some stations reached back to 1920), total ozone data, weekly ozone measurements etc. AEMET at the time noted that "the policy of increasing liberalization of meteorological data has also been recommended by the Oslo Declaration, signed in 2009 by 25 European Meteorological Services", among which was AEMET itself.
Apparently in 2010 the 2006 decree AEMET now cites as motivation was not a barrier. AEMET does face budget cuts currently.
The decision will affect academic research until now using freely available data, as well as mobile applications such as RainAlarm, and others.