DeWayne Cecil, PhD (Salt Lake City, UT), Western Region Climate Services Director NOAA-NCDC. “Is the Weather Getting Worse?”
Dr. Cecil continues to express deep concern about government funding for Earth and atmospheric observation satellites and data collection. He cites a meeting of the Western Governors Association in which the imperative importance of observing weather changes was high on the agenda. NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has agreed to supply more timely weather information and place the organization at the disposal of the Western Governors.
Weather is a very serious business, affecting health and economics, both long and short term. Every state has a different climate and its own State Climatologist. Despite their obvious importance, many states have eliminated their weather observation networks because of funding problems. Meanwhile, NASA has eliminated the Space Shuttle, making data collection even more difficult.
Dr. Cecil was especially concerned that the US government recently slashed one-billion dollars from the Joint Polar Satellite System, run by NOAA and the Department of Defense. This will create a two year data gap that will set weather forecasting back 20 years.
Weather must be studied every day! To achieve even a three-day forecast, there must be a global weather observation system in place. And every dollar cut today, will cost three to five dollars to reinstate. Satellites are also critical in emergency generating timely emergency responses to floods, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, etc.
Senator John Glenn is concerned about the cutback in the space shuttle and earth observation. The Western Governors sent a letter to Congress, as did the American Meteorological Society. Here is the AMS letter: http://www.ametsoc.org/sss/documents/AMS_Letter_Obs_14Jun2011.pdf
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