NOAA head poo-poos private weather companies

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At a congressional hearing on Wednesday the head of NOAA expressed serious doubts about the ability of private companies to provide worthwhile weather data.

At a hearing of the environment subcommittee of the House Science Committee on NOAA’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said it was still too soon to determine if commercial sources of weather data, most notably GPS radio occultation systems, could augment or replace existing data sources. “In the weather domain, we believe it is a promising but still quite nascent prospect to actually have data flows from private sector satellites,” Sullivan said. “There have been a number of claims, there’s some hardware in orbit from at least one company that I’m aware of, but really nothing proven to the level that we require for ingesting something into the National Weather Service.”

This so much reminds me of past NASA administrators who repeatedly told us that private companies really couldn’t do the job of supplying ISS or launching humans into space, and that we really needed to leave that job to the government, which really knew better.

As it turns out, those past NASA administrators were wrong. Not only has private space done a very effective job at supplying ISS, they made it happen fast for relatively little money. And they are about to do the same in launching humans into space as well. NASA meanwhile has been twiddling its thumbs for decades in its efforts to replace the space shuttle while spending ungodly amounts of money and accomplishing little with it.

I have no doubt the same will be true with the weather. Allow private companies to compete for profits in providing the world with good weather data, and they will quickly do a far better job than NOAA. And the data will likely not be tampered with for political ends by global warming advocates in the government!


  • Wayne

    Anyone know the background of NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan?
    –Is she a lawyer? Science degree of some sort? or just an appointed political hack, with a no-growth, eco-Marxist, agenda?

    Space-based weather forecasting is way out of my bailiwick, but I do know private meteorology & forecasting is already a large business, on the order of $1.8 Billion/year just a few years ago.


    And, as Mr. Z alluded to– Private providers & end-users have infinitely less incentives to manipulate data for purely political ends.
    If their forecasting is “garbage,” they don’t get paid.

  • Kathryn Sullivan is a former NASA astronaut, with all the academic credentials and training that goes with that.

  • Wayne

    I stand enlightened Mr. Z.
    –Glad she is not a complete, total-hack… she is an Obama political-appointee, no.?

    –I would put forth the proposition however: not everyone who is well-educated or an Astronaut, necessarily has the best interests of the Country at heart.

    (we have “guilt-by-association” & “appeals-to-authority,” in-play simultaneously!)


  • “And the data will likely not be tampered with for political ends by global warming advocates in the government!”

    Which is exactly what NOAA fears the most. Once private data starts getting compared to government data, certain, um, discrepancies will become glaringly apparent. Then, NOAA and the Neo-Pagans will have a whole lot of ‘splainin to do.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Given the present regime’s penchant for cronyism, don’t expect privatization to stop “political weatherization.” Remember Solyndra?

  • Wayne

    D K Rögnvald Williams—
    Good point!

    Outside of Holland, Michigan, the Feds blew $200+ million on a “high-tech battery” factory, that promptly went bankrupt, after the owner’s (allegedly) did the golden-parachute thing—-I believe the chi-coms own it now.

    Does anyone remember all that “infra-structure” cash that was never spent on roads, schools, sewage plants, etc., etc.? “POOF”
    Pure shovel-ready cronyism, from the Federal Credit Card, straight to Obama’s favorite donor’s. (allegedly)

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