Senate forces NASA to abandon new weather satellite system. And NASA’s “leadership” is no better. This comes on the heels of the failure of two current weather satellites, both of which were predicted a decade ago but no funding was ever allocated for their repair. We’ll spend billions on airport groupers to ostensibly make us safer and let hurricanes and tornados slam into us with no warning Only in D.C. could this make sense.
So what’s the cost of COSMIC-2? It’s estimated 10-year cost is $420 million, of which Taiwan would pay half. But even that’s misleading, says Cliff Mass, a University of Washington meteorologist.
The really silly thing is that Taiwan will pay for half of it, and the Air Force a quarter. So their contribution is HUGELY leveraged. The system is proven. And an expanded COSMIC network could greatly mitigate the loss of a polar orbiter. Any rational decision-maker would RUN to make this happen. But not NOAA management … very dysfunctional.
Whether NOAA’s administration is dysfunctional or not, the agency is also constrained by politics. Politico reported:
Last month NOAA proposed to use an estimated $13.7 million from monies appropriated for improved forecasting after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey last year. But this ran into resistance from the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership, and now a second NOAA effort to scrape together about $1.5 million to begin data processing work this year appears to have been lost as well to avoid any furloughs.
Mass noted that after the Moore tragedy NOAA canceled furloughs for all of its employees, when they could have simply cancelled the furloughs for the NWS forecasters, which would have saved most of the money.
A forecaster within NOAA, himself subject to a furlough, called the decision to delay participation in COSMIC-2, which might ultimately lead to its cancellation, a “major mistake.”
“Losing the second generation of that satellite is very dumb,” he said. “You have to improve both the analysis component and computer abilities to make better forecasts. No COSMIC-2 potentially hurts all global models .”