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Earth Space The Almighty Buck Science

Weather Satellites Lose Funding 275

ianare writes "Federal budget cuts are threatening to leave the US without some critical satellites, and that could mean less accurate warnings about events like tornadoes and blizzards. In particular, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are concerned about satellites that orbit over the earth's poles rather than remaining over a fixed spot along the equator. These satellites are 'the backbone' of any forecast beyond a couple of days, says Kathryn Sullivan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, and NOAA's deputy administrator. It was data from polar satellites that alerted forecasters to the risk of tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi back in April, Sullivan says. 'With the polar satellites currently in place we were able to give those communities five days' heads up,' she says."
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Weather Satellites Lose Funding

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  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @06:18PM (#36487218)

    If these are the satellites that I'm thinking of, this would be very bad indeed. There isn't any inherent reason why the US needs to be the only ones with satellites doing this work, but the reason it's being cut is to appease climate change skeptics. And unless the ESA or somebody else gets satellites up there to prevent a potential gap in recordings we'll largely have to start over.

    From the article, we're not the only ones with those sorts of satellites, there apparently aren't enough of them to fill the gap that we'd be leaving.

  • by DarthBart ( 640519 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:34PM (#36487902)

    Bullshit. You can receive APT images from the NOAA-N series of using a $20 homebrew turnstile antenna, a radio scanner, and a Windows/Linux box with a soundcard.

    I think I have $125 invested in my system here.

  • by DarthBart ( 640519 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:41PM (#36487942)

    If Big Weather (The Weather Channel, Intellicast, Accuweather, and a few others) start putting money into the system you know damn well that their first requirement will be to lockout anyone else.

    Accuweather tried that one a few years back by buying Rick Santorum and getting him to start legislation (see S. 786) that prohibited the NWS from providing forecasts/data/whatnot to the public if a private corporation (*cough*Accuweather*cough*) could do it instead.

  • by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @09:34PM (#36488246)

    tax revenues pretty much always increase. there's are these thing, called inflation, population growth, productivity increases.. thing is, after tax cuts, you are increasing FROM A LOWER POINT. in other words, you're collecting less than you would have otherwise.

    sound economic policy is very simple. rack up huge deficits in down times to keep the economy going. pay them down when things are going well. problem is, every republican administration since reagan has set massive record after massive record for deficit spending EVEN DURING BOOM TIMES. now when we NEED that spending, they cry about the deficit. it would be laughable if it weren't so tragic.

    the stimulus spending has saved our auto industry (and in the end cost very little) though that was a republican, of course, that started it... Kudos to him. and the stimulus very certainly helped blunt the full force of this recession. Biggest boom ever to biggest bust ever, this very easily could have been the great depression, and I can say that stimulus projects were the ONLY thing keeping many engineering and construction firms afloat for the last couple of years. And those people are the people who drive the economy. They have mortgages and car payments and kids, suppliers and workers, and the cash they get flows through the economy very rapidly. Unlike tax giveaways to people who already have enough money.

  • by yourmommycalled ( 2280728 ) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @12:47AM (#36489218)
    As a ham I and a meteorologist. MacTO and DarthBart have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. DarthBart is able to use $200 worth of equipment because NOAA/NASA spent a few million dollars extra in terms of on-board equipment and satellite weight to maintain a signal they should dropped in 1975. No it isn't as easy as buying a cheap receiver and loading some software. The reason his images are poor is because it takes a lot of tuning and just the right timing to get a decent image. Having used APT imagery in the south Atlantic and in the North Pacific on field campaigns it takes a lot of effort and expensive hardware to get a clean image. An APT image once an hour is of little use when you are trying to tell which storm is moving where to give people more than a 30 second warning. MacTO: So I guess one of the AMSAT's has both 1km visible and 4km IR imagers? I guess one of the AMSAT's is in a Geostationary orbit so I can get imagery every 3 minutes? I guess one of the AMSET's has a profiler so I can receive vertical temperature, humidity and wind profiles every 30km every 3 minutes. Guess what AMSAT's are little more than a glorified repeater Since my students have built a cube sat I know that the bulk of the work has been done by NASA not hams. Hams serve an important role in society, to open them up to ridicule with foolish garbage does more harm than good
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Sunday June 19, 2011 @02:15PM (#36492160) Journal
    We should beat the fucking shit out of the red states and make the useless conservative garbage and scum who live in them start paying their fair share of taxes. Conservatives are useless, stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing welfare parasites, look at Alaska for example, for every dollar that Alaska sends to Washington in federal taxes it receives $1.86 in federal spending. For every dollar California, a state which is home to Google, Apple and a few other companies, sends to Washington D.C. they get back 78 cents. I'll submit that the reason that red states don't contribute as much to the federal treasury as blue states do is because red states are full of conservatives and conservatives are stupid, drooling, inferior morons. Seriously,we live in a high tech world and expecting a bunch of evangelical fucktards who believe in stupid shit like the Rapture and who watch NASCAR to contribute anything of value to the US economy is ridiculous. If we could just get rid of all of the useless, good-for-nothing conservative parasites in this country we'd have plenty of money to keep monitoring these satellites.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer