Folks Are Hearing Our National Weather Service Warnings

Posted on July 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Wednesday, Washington Post columnist Stephen Stromberg warned federal lawmakers against “gutting” the National Weather Service in their cost-cutting frenzy.

Stromberg is just the latest voice to join the rising choir sounding the alarm that Congressional budget cutting is putting us all in danger by hindering a crucial weather satellite project—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)—which tracks killer hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather events.

“Without money to replace the satellite soon, weather prediction across the globe would suffer,” wrote Stromberg. He noted that if the satellite hadn’t been in orbit it would have made it extremely difficult to predict last year’s “Snow-mageddon” storm that battered Washington, D.C. or provide warnings to thousands of Americans hit by the devastating Mississippi River floods this year.

We, at TurnerGPA, have been working closely with the American Geophysical Union and its executive director, Christine W. McEntee, to protect federal funding for JPSS and other crucial science-related projects by telling anyone and everyone who will listen: “Yes, we need to reduce the national debt, but not by sacrificing programs that protect public safety and national security, and support global competitiveness.”

As several reporters and columnists have previously noted, budget cuts have already delayed by 18 months the launch of a new weather satellite, which was to go up into space in 2016. According to USA Today the “threat during that gap is that National Weather Service forecasts will become fuzzier, with the paths of hurricanes and tornadoes even less predictable.”

Just this Wednesday, President Obama speaking about the deficit during a White House news conference said—“we can’t get to the $4 trillion in savings that we need by just cutting the 12 percent of the budget that pays for things like medical research and education funding and food inspectors and the Weather Service.”

As Stromberg pointed out in his editorial, allowing funding for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) to fall victim to political debate will negatively impact our forecasting abilities.

“The biggest danger on debt is that our leaders don’t do enough to balance America’s books. The next biggest is that, whether guided by ideology, ignorance or desperation, our leaders decide to shortchange the cost-effective investments that will sustain my generation’s standard of living, relegating us to crumbling infrastructure, poor education, pathetic government services — and, perhaps, sloppy weather reports,” wrote Stromberg.


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The biggest danger on debt is that our leaders don’t do enough to balance America’s books.


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