The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was told Wednesday by a congressional committee to focus on improving weather forecasting instead of hyping climate change.
During a hearing on NOAA’s fiscal year 2017 budget, Science, Space and Technology committee chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said NOAA needs to prioritize forecasting over global warming studies.
Smith has been in a tug-of-war with NOAA over internal emails pertaining to a study released last year that said a previously believed “break” in global warming never occurred. Smith believes the study was released prematurely using untested methods to readjust historical temperature data upward.
“This administration continues to prioritize climate funding over weather research,” Smith said in a statement. “Unfortunately, climate alarmism often takes priority at NOAA.”
NOAA is asking for $5.9 billion for its fiscal year 2017 budget, a $77 million increase over the previous year.
NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan told the committee that forecasts are constantly improving including for long-range issues such as drought, coastal inundation, sea level rise and seasonal events including El Ninos and La Ninas.
But demand goes beyond just daily forecasts and monitoring extreme weather, she noted. NOAA provides tide and currents information for the nation’s marine industry, works to rebuild fishing stocks, measures arctic ice spans, helps expand national marine sanctuaries and monitors freshwater toxic algal blooms.
“NOAA is a vital component of the U.S. Government, helping to maximize U.S. competitiveness, enable economic growth, foster science and technological leadreship and promote environmental stewardhship,” Sullivan said. “Americans – civilians, the military, and businesses – rely upon the services NOAA provides every single day.”