Atmospheric Scientist here at Weather Underground, with serious nerd love for tropical cyclones and climate change. Twitter: @WunderAngela
By: Angela Fritz , 9:31 PM GMT on May 10, 2012
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.
"...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."
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.
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