Congress Blocks Creation of National Climate Service

By:  Brian Koenig
11/22/2011
       
Congress Blocks Creation of National Climate Service

In contesting a federal effort to propel Washington’s environmental agenda, House Republicans nixed a congressional proposal to establish a new government program called the National Climate Service. Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and akin to the agency’s National Weather Service (NWS), the proposed division has been hailed by congressional Democrats as an essential federal service that would help inform farmers, insurance companies, and the general public of projected weather patterns. The central idea, Democrats and NOAA officials note, is that while the NWS provides short-term weather conditions, the National Climate Service would concurrently provide long-term projections of future climate-related events.

While Democrats contend that the service will require no new funding, a House Appropriations Committee news release indicated that Congress had saved $322 million in fiscal year 2012 by blocking the initiative.

The National Weather Service is one of six scientific agencies serving the NOAA and is tasked with offering to the public "weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." The NWS, formerly known as the Weather Bureau, draws from 122 local weather forecast offices and various national and regional centers to forecast temperature, humidity, probability of precipitation, wind direction and speed, and other weather-related data.

In contesting a federal effort to propel Washington’s environmental agenda, House Republicans nixed a congressional proposal to establish a new government program called the National Climate Service. Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and akin to the agency’s National Weather Service (NWS), the proposed division has been hailed by congressional Democrats as an essential federal service that would help inform farmers, insurance companies, and the general public of projected weather patterns. The central idea, Democrats and NOAA officials note, is that while the NWS provides short-term weather conditions, the National Climate Service would concurrently provide long-term projections of future climate-related events.

While Democrats contend that the service will require no new funding, a House Appropriations Committee news release indicated that Congress had saved $322 million in fiscal year 2012 by blocking the initiative.

The National Weather Service is one of six scientific agencies serving the NOAA and is tasked with offering to the public "weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy." The NWS, formerly known as the Weather Bureau, draws from 122 local weather forecast offices and various national and regional centers to forecast temperature, humidity, probability of precipitation, wind direction and speed, and other weather-related data.

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NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco (pictured)

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