Jane Lubchenco, head of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, criticises GOP moves to cut funding for critical satellite
«America and Europe face a “disaster in the making” because of Congress budget cuts to a critical weather satellite, one of Barack Obama’s top science officials has warned.
The satellite crosses the Earth’s poles 14 times a day, monitoring the atmosphere, clouds, ice, vegetation, and oceans. It provides 90% of the information used by the National Weather Service, UK Met Office and other European agencies to predict severe storms up to seven days in advance.
But Republican budget-cutting measures would knock out that critical capacity by delaying the launch of the next generation of polar-orbiting satellites, said Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.
“It is a disaster in the making. It’s an expression of the dysfunction in our system,” said Lubchenco, who was speaking at a dinner on the sidelines of the Society of Environmental Journalists meeting in Miami.
It would cost three to five times more to rebuild the project after a gap than to keep the funds flowing. “It’s insanity,” Lubchenco said.”»