Out of $1.4 billion on table, House cuts $542,000 for NOAA climate website

By: Angela Fritz , 09:31 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012

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NOAA's budget has been in the news quite a bit recently. NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce (brief insight into why it's under Commerce here). On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on, among other things, NOAA's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. Jason Samenow writes about this cut today in the Capital Weather Gang blog:

Of a possible $1.4 billion dollars in proposed spending cuts in the Departments of Commerce and Justice for 2013, the U.S. House Representatives voted to approve none of them. None of them except a piddly $542,000 for a NOAA climate website. The amendment was approved 219-189 Tuesday evening TheHill.com reported.

The website - currently in a prototype stage - provides a rich set of climate information, tools, and data resources. With a little investment, it has the potential to provide tremendous benefits to decisionmakers. One wonders, then, why the 56 percent funding increase for this website proposed by the President was the low-hanging fruit snipped off the vine.




So far, this has only passed through the House. The Senate will also need to accept the changes that the House made to the budget. However, even if the cut does pass through the Senate, the website (climate.gov) will stay intact, since it's the proposed budget increase that's being cut.

Congressman Andrew Harris, a Republican for the state of Maryland's 1st district, proposed the amendment on these grounds:

"...I want to read, as you click on some of these topics, what the science is at this port. I am going to read from an article just published on the Web site on May 2. It talks about farming.

'The rain was as loud as pennies falling on the roof of the truck's cab.' Later on in the paragraph, 'We had been watching Johnson work in his field until the fat drops of rain sent us racing for cover.' Next paragraph, 'The machine behind the tractor makes it easier than ever for him to roll the grass into submission, thousands of stalks pointing accusingly at the device that just pancaked them.'

Madam Chairman, that's not a scientific article. That's something I read to my children at bedtime. But this is what NOAA is advancing as a scientific Web site to share scientific information and is asking for a 56 percent increase in their funding."


The Congressman pulled that quote from an article illustrating farmers' needs for climate forecasts to improve farming techniques (ie. reduce risk from climate change-related weather disasters, droughts, floods, and therefore save the American people money when they're at the grocery). This article was likely added to the front page to highlight the need both within the public and private sectors for improved decision-making capabilities related to climate change. And this is not the first time Harris has opposed the Climate Services Portal. When it was first proposed he opposed it saying, "the climate services could become little propaganda sources instead of a science source." So it's hard to tell whether this amendment was about $542,000, or if it was about continuing to deny the American public the facts on climate change.

NOAA describes the future of the Climate Services Portal (NCS Portal) on its website:

At this time, the NCS Portal prototype only scratches the surface of the many climate datasets, products, and services available across NOAA. This effort will gradually transition from a prototype to an operational status over the next year. Our plan is to actively gather user feedback through focus groups, usability studies, and informal communications. Over the next several years, we will expand the NCS Portal's scope and functionality in a user-driven manner to greatly enhance the accessibility and usefulness of NOAA's climate resources. As this effort continues to expand in future years, partners from outside of NOAA will become involved in this effort. The NCS Portal will be a central component of NOAA's commitment to enhancing the access to and extensibility of climate data and services, timely articles and information, education resources, and tools for engagement and decision-making.


Angela

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30. guygee
11:43 AM GMT on Svibanj 16, 2012
Hey Angela - Good post, it should be emphasized that it is not too late for people to act if everyone calls or writes their Senators.

In the long run, however, it is my belief that NOAA/NWS will survive only if it is deemed to benefit the majority of corporations more than the existence of private weather and climate forecasters. Think of the demise of the former National Bureau of Standards (leaving NIST as its pathetic skeleton) and the massive relative defunding of the USGS as templates for government funding cuts and privatization of organizations that formerly benefited science and the general public welfare.
Member Since: Rujan 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3059
29. theshepherd
12:31 PM GMT on Svibanj 13, 2012

They probably weren't happy when told "You can come along for the ride, but you'll have to sit in the back of the bus".











Member Since: Rujan 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
28. 1911maker
10:48 PM GMT on Svibanj 12, 2012
Quoting presslord:
An Inconvenient Lawsuit: Teenagers Take Global Warming to the CourtsLink


Interesting.

I scanned the comments after the article, lots of ignorance, lies and more "hate" then anything else. I do wonder how much of it is "paid for" hate.
Member Since: Veljača 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 474
26. presslord
11:55 AM GMT on Svibanj 12, 2012
An Inconvenient Lawsuit: Teenagers Take Global Warming to the CourtsLink
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
25. OldLeatherneck
07:52 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Ms. Fritz this is very scary. I don't understand how scientific investigation and accepted scientific facts have become so contentious in a partisan way.


I think that there are a number of reasons for this becoming a partisan issue, among them being:

1. Reducing CO2 emissions would impact the bottom line for the petrochemical industry, which heavily subsidizes GOP candidates.

2. The libertarian wing of the GOP doesn't even believe in governance at a federal level and hypes the fears that global collaboration on climate issues will result in a world-wide socialist government and loss of sovereignty.

3. The xenophobic wing (Tea Party) doesn't understand or care about the 95% of the world's population that doesn't live in the U.S.

4. Certain Evangelical Fundamentalists who also believe in Creationism believe that since their GOD put the oil in the ground 6000 years ago, it must be good for us.

Please do not consider these comments to be a blanket condemnation of all Republicans or all Christians, many of whom value scientific discovery and the betterment of humanity across the globe.

Member Since: Svibanj 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 180
24. Daisyworld
07:16 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
$542,000? Hmm. That's a rather selective choice by the House to eliminate an informational program. NOAA collects and analyzes the data using taxpayer dollars, yet they're not going to be allowed to make that information available to those who paid the bill? Isn't that a bit like paying for a weather satellite, but not funding the communications network required to download the telemetry?
Member Since: Siječanj 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 787
23. presslord
07:09 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting angelafritz:
Har har.


you'll be glad to know: my nephew is going there this Fall...I'm really trying to be supportive...but have considered mercy killing...
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
22. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
06:52 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Har har.
21. presslord
06:30 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting presslord:
we may very well see careers and reputations of legitimate scientists destroyed...much like the Hollywood blacklists of the 50's....I just don't see how that's much of a step at all from comparing scientists to psychopathic killers....and there is precious little aptitude within the science community for communicating a response...nor is there much framework from which to execute a response...


perhaps this begs for a little clarification....traditionally, scientists just aren't great communicators....it's not a criticism...it's just the way it is...and I'll bet big money most scientists would agree...there are, of course, notable anecdotal exceptions...including Jeff Masters...and Angela...who, in spite of her Georgia Tech education, does quite well ;-)
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
20. BaltimoreBrian
06:28 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
How about asking the far right bloggers in wunderground if they renounce McCarthyite tactics against scientists and posting their responses here?
Member Since: Kolovoz 9, 2011 Posts: 25 Comments: 8067
19. presslord
06:23 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
we may very well see careers and reputations of legitimate scientists destroyed...much like the Hollywood blacklists of the 50's....I just don't see how that's much of a step at all from comparing scientists to psychopathic killers....and there is precious little aptitude within the science community for communicating a response...nor is there much framework from which to execute a response...
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
18. BaltimoreBrian
05:41 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Ms. Fritz this is very scary. I don't understand how scientific investigation and accepted scientific facts have become so contentious in a partisan way.

I don't think scientists are in as much danger as presslord suggests but I don't doubt that if Republicans gain full control of the government they would defund most environmental research that would serve to disprove their preconceived notions. The whole ostrich in the sand--if Republicans defund environmental research in general and climate research in particular they can say there is no research showing global warming is a danger.

I am no liberal and my voting record is 5-1 for Republican presidents. Unfortunately Republicans have left me and have chosen extremists to set their agenda.
Member Since: Kolovoz 9, 2011 Posts: 25 Comments: 8067
17. Some1Has2BtheRookie
01:58 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting presslord:
We are this close () to a scientific McCarthyism...Christopher is correct: this Fall will tell the story....if the Flat Earth crowd does well, I expect to see Sen. Inhofe waving a handful of papers and screaming "Ladies and gentlemen...I have here a list of over 100 known proponents of climate change working within the Federal government!!!!!!!!" and this time, y'all....I'm not kidding....we are this close ()


+1000

I have not ever heard this comparison before. I cannot think of any better way to describe this. Excellent post, presslord!
Member Since: Kolovoz 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
16. originalLT
01:23 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Very scary what might happen this Nov.
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15. OldLeatherneck
12:53 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
When it comes to climate science, the GOP is just as demonstrably wrong as it is about so many other things:.....
Quoting presslord:
We are this close () to a scientific McCarthyism...


When elected officials, such as Jim Inhofe, claim that "Climate Change is a Hoax" they are commiting crimes against humanity.
Member Since: Svibanj 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 180
14. presslord
12:50 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Look....I know this may sound shrill....but I truly believe two groups in this country are very close to being in serious danger: legitimate scientists and gay people...I'd like to see the scientific community follow the example of the gay community....and begin to organize and fund a meaningful resistance....

and by 'danger' I mean exactly that: imminent threat of real harm....
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
13. Neapolitan
12:44 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting presslord:
We are this close () to a scientific McCarthyism...Christopher is correct: this Fall will tell the story....if the Flat Earth crowd does well, I expect to see Sen. Inhofe waving a handful of papers and screaming "Ladies and gentlemen...I have here a list of over 100 known proponents of climate change working within the Federal government!!!!!!!!" and this time, y'all....I'm not kidding....we are this close ()
Funny you'd mention Inhofe. Did you see his latest howler?

James Inhofe's worst idea ever?

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), champion of climate denial in the world's most dysfunctional legislative body, has a lot of terrible ideas. But this one may be the worst ever: He wants to require Senate confirmation for all of EPA's 10 regional administrators.

...

That law, and Inhofe's proposal, are not, contra conservative rhetoric, about "accountability" They are about the fact that Republicans want more ways to hobble the administration and prevent it from accomplishing anything. Just imagine if this Republican Party got the power to block the appointment of all 10 regional EPA administrators. It would cripple the agency.

And that's just what Inhofe wants.
Member Since: Studeni 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13295
12. presslord
12:33 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
We are this close () to a scientific McCarthyism...Christopher is correct: this Fall will tell the story....if the Flat Earth crowd does well, I expect to see Sen. Inhofe waving a handful of papers and screaming "Ladies and gentlemen...I have here a list of over 100 known proponents of climate change working within the Federal government!!!!!!!!" and this time, y'all....I'm not kidding....we are this close ()
Member Since: Kolovoz 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
11. Neapolitan
12:25 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
When it comes to climate science, the GOP is just as demonstrably wrong as it is about so many other things: women's rights, say, or crime, or guns, or education, or jobs, or the economy, or pretty much anything else. And its position is just as intractable; once they've stubbornly dug in their heels, there's no chance of moving them with any facts, stats, studies, common sense, reason, logic, historical precedent, or sense of decency.

I am this morning at a client's office. A handful of us were standing around sipping coffee a short while ago, and talk invariably turned to the upcoming election. We weren't thirty seconds into that topic before someone mentioned how, if reelected, Obama was going to raise gas prices "to over $8 a gallon" as a way of "shoving global warming down our throats", something I'd heard the group discuss before. I was going to argue, but a) they know where I stand, and b) they wouldn't have been able to hear me over "Fox & Friends" blaring from the TV in the break room. The point being: much as we believers in and followers of the science have truth on our side, there is a huge chunk of the population happily feasting on a nonstop diet of bad, dis, and mis-information. And in large part because of that, folks like Maryland's Congressman Harris are emboldened to spout their incessant streams of nonsensical blather. To put it bluntly: it's what the simpletons want.
Member Since: Studeni 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13295
10. presslord
12:00 PM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Quoting weatherhistorian:
Another excellent post Angela!

It is really becoming a bit scary when we consider what might happen next fall if the flat earth (i.e. anti-science) types take over Congress.

Thanks.


it frustrates me that I'm only allowed to 'like' this comment once....
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9. OldLeatherneck
10:27 AM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Thanks Angela for another informative and timely post. It's a very sad commentary on the state of the U.S. Congress when one political party has allowed itself to be co-opted by fear and ignorance. Apparently they do not understand that the laws of physics can not be legislated....or ignored.
Member Since: Svibanj 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 180
8. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
05:26 AM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
Another excellent post Angela!

It is really becoming a bit scary when we consider what might happen next fall if the flat earth (i.e. anti-science) types take over Congress.

Thanks.
Member Since: Veljača 15, 2006 Posts: 267 Comments: 249
7. presslord
02:06 AM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
well...the good news here is that the Senate is not dominated by the Flat Earth Party...
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6. LowerCal
12:57 AM GMT on Svibanj 11, 2012
5. originalLT
10:31 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012
Angela, your answer to my comment on your previous blog was spot-on!
Member Since: Siječanj 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7075
4. originalLT
10:29 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012
It's ashame, nice North Korea analogy, post #1!
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3. auburn (Mod)
09:55 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012
nice Post..thanks!
Member Since: Kolovoz 27, 2006 Posts: 546 Comments: 50244
2. Patrap
09:50 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012
...But the Billions of Dollar's in Tax cuts for the Industries responsible for the Co2 Rise and Warmth Globally, shall continue unabated.

This is no way to run a Planet.

Member Since: Srpanj 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125681
1. Some1Has2BtheRookie
09:50 PM GMT on Svibanj 10, 2012
Looks like the vote was straight down party lines. Now I know why they say the science is too political. They made it political and not about the science. ... They flip the switch and we are back to the dark ages. The days were superstition and ignorance would dwell deep within the minds of the people. ... The easiest way to control the minds of the people is to keep them uneducated. ... North Korea ring any bells?
Member Since: Kolovoz 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728

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About angelafritz

Atmospheric Scientist here at Weather Underground, with serious nerd love for tropical cyclones and climate change. Twitter: @WunderAngela

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