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GOP Cuts to NOAA Will Impair Storm Forecasting

March 26, 2011

When I first read about House Republicans seriously proposing to cut funding for NOAA, I was taken aback. This, is light of what is going on in Japan. The NOAA performs many critical functions that serves the best interests of Americans as regards their safety.

Climate Progress has an excellent article on the issue. Click here

EXCERPT:

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Association released new data yesterday showing precisely how the loss of environmental monitoring satellites would affect our ability to forecast extreme weather events. NOAA used the example of the “Snowmageddon” storm that dumped massive precipitation from the Gulf of Mexico to New England on February 5-6, 2010.

We here at CAPAF and Climate Progress have been keeping close tabs on House Republicans’ efforts to make the country more vulnerable to extreme weather events. If Congress refuses to fund new environmental monitoring satellites to replace aging spacecraft that could fail at any time, it will undoubtedly expose Americans to increased risk from storms, floods, blizzards, and hurricanes. Meanwhile, more and more science is emerging that strengthens the link between unprecedented weather phenomena and human-caused global climate change.

Without the satellite data, NOAA’s forecasts lose as much as 50 percent of their accuracy, underforecasting snowfall in Washington, D.C. by almost a foot, and rainfall in the Gulf by up to an inch. The resulting failure to prepare for flash floods, roadside strandings, air traffic delays, and transit interruptions could halt all commerce. Even worse, failing to maintain our satellite network, according to NOAA, would reduce future flood preparedness time from days to mere hours, putting human lives at risk.

The GOP-controlled Congress took steps to eliminate $700 million in funding for NOAA’s satellite program in its bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year (until October 2011). Though that bill is still being negotiated, the three-week continuing resolution that keeps the government open until April 8 also contained cuts to NOAA’s vital satellites.

Contact your representative to oppose cuts to NOAA.

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