Budget Axes NOAA’s Climate Service


While the EPA’s climate work survived last week’s confrontation over government funding, another area of climate research that did not. The Climate Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was killed before it even really got started. (Details of the budget cuts have been emerging pretty slowly. The full bill is here. The relevant section is on page 218.)

The vision for the NOAA climate desk was to bring a bunch of the climate work the agency already does under one umbrella in order to improve the organization and distribution of information on the subject. Climate Science Watch outlined the main goals of the service last year, and NOAA has a prototype for the division’s website over at Climate.gov that should give you a decent sense of what the division was supposed to do.

Basically, NOAA’s climate service would have provided up-to-date information about climate in order to better inform the public and policymakers. Much like the agency’s weather service, it would offer a way to share the agency’s work monitoring, modeling, and assessing data. But budget cuts now bar NOAA from using any funds to create this climate division.

The GOP hates anything that has the word “climate” attached to it, but I don’t anticipate that this cut will functionally change NOAA’s work. NOAA is already doing this work, so this is a cosmetic cut more than anything.

  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.

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