Congress moves to require NOAA to use private weather satellites

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The competition heats up: The House Science Committee has approved a bill that would require NOAA to begin using private satellites to gather weather data.

NOAA officials, most recently at a Feb. 12 hearing of the House Science environment subcommittee, have long said the agency is open to buying space-based weather data from aspiring commercial providers, so long as the companies can certify their data are up to NOAA standards. Currently this is impossible because NOAA has published no standards.

That would change if the Weather Research and Forecast Innovation Act of 2015 (H.R. 1561) becomes law. The measure sets a legal timetable for NOAA to publish the standards and competitively select at least one provider to sell the agency data to determine whether it can be easily folded into the National Weather Service’s forecasting models.

Watch what they do, not what they say. NOAA might claim it would use private providers, but without providing those standards it has given itself an easy way to reject everyone, which is exactly what they have done for years. This bill would force the issue.



  • John M. Egan

    Interesting development, but as a meteorologist I am adamant that satellite data must not be compromised. If that be the unfortunate outcome, our forecasting models’ accuracy would be taking a drastic step backwards.

  • Jwing

    How pathetic we have become in this 21st century. Can we not even take objective, scientific weather data without injecting politics and agenda driven ideology into the fray? Must everything be political??? The weather…really??!!

    NOAA is a disgrace and a sorry excuse for all climate science and meterrology.

  • PeterF

    Considering how accurate they have been predicting global warm.. uh, climate change, how much you want to bet that after they publish standards that they will have trouble meeting them?

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