Weather Channel on NOAA, Climate Cuts, and Congressional Denial
March 10, 2017
Weather Channel kicking butt, taking names, in defense of science.
The alternative to “Alternative Facts” is, facts.
The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a major U.S. weather and climate-science agency, is also said to face possible major cuts, to the tune of $990 million, reports the Washington Post. At 2016 levels, that 17-percent reduction would run the U.S. Department of Defense for just under 15 hours—and could hamper U.S. weather forecasting and monitoring of natural disasters, not to mention studies of climate change, say weather and climate experts.
“If you rely on TV weather forecasts, use a weather app, eat fish, enjoy boating, or claim your status as an Earthling, these cuts potentially have implications for you,” Marshall Shepherd, a University of Georgia meteorology professor and former president of the American Meteorological Society, wrote for Forbes.
“It’s like giving a 15-year-old kid a whole bunch of coffee, and then giving them a machete and asking them to do surgery,” says David Titley, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral and Penn State University meteorology professor. “There’s a lot of a hacking and slashing.”
The passback reportedly nixes a planned $83-million NOAA ship that would have been used for widespread ocean surveys, as well as cuts the agency’s $400-million Polar Follow-On program, a pair of polar-orbiting weather satellites scheduled to launch in 2024 and 2026. Another $100 million in unspecified cuts to the agency’s satellite service could come at the expense of the agency’s climate data centers.
“It does not mean that satellites will fall out of the sky… [but] they’re really attacking NOAA’s future capability, frankly, without a plan to replace it,” says Titley, who served as NOAA’s chief operating officer starting in 2012. “It’s take-the-money-and-run.”
What’s more, the passback proposes a dizzying array of cuts to programs that maintain and protect the country’s waterways, such as the National Ocean Service, which continually recharts the nation’s ever-shifting coastlines, and a 26-percent cut to NOAA’s research budget. It also proposes eliminating Sea Grant, a popular $73-million program that supports pragmatic research on the nation’s bodies of water.
Here’s the Weather Channel’s reaction to new EPA Chief Pruitt’s denial of the basic, well understood physics of Greenhouse gases.
And finally, if you didn’t know the lead up to the Trump administration’s hostility to science, see my history of the Congressional Science committee, and it’s long term hostility to fact.