The Importance of NOAA

Left – Artist conception of NOAA GOES 13 Satellite; Right – Composite image of Earth Radiation measurements made with instruments aboard a NOAA GOES satellite.

During one period of my career at NASA’s Langley Research Center, I worked closely with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and I can attest to the importance of the work that NOAA did in monitoring our climate and weather. Back then NOAA didn’t receive the funding they deserved or the front-page glory and credit that NASA did, and yet I know firsthand what a dedicated outfit they were, even as they operated on a shoestring budget and a less-than ideal work environment. I always found the organization willing to accommodate NASA instruments on their Earth satellites, and NASA instruments on the NOAA-9 and NOAA-10 satellites provided years of important data to NASA’s study of the Earth’s heat exchange with space and the atmosphere (aka Earth Radiation Budget). It is reported that the current administration has proposed a budget with a 16% cut in funding to the Department of Commerce, much of which would directly target NOAA’s funding. This comes as the hurricane season approaches and as cuts to EPA funding by the administration will be taking its toll on that agency’s ability to provide resources needed to protect America’s portion of our planet, especially the most vulnerable areas near the nation’s coastlines. I encourage you to contact your US congressmen and senators and to urge them to vote against significant reductions in funding for NOAA and other agencies whose purpose it is to protect us from the ravages of weather and climate.

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