Mar 7, 2017 3:07 PM

Proposed Trump budget cuts threaten NH weather, climate programs

NH1 Meteorologist

Meteorologists nationwide are still reacting to news of major cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 budget.

The impact these cuts would have on New Hampshire is starting to become clearer.

The Sea Grant program, which provides grant funds and other support for university-based efforts to strengthen coastal economies and communities, is in jeopardy of being eliminated. New Hampshire and Maine are among the 33 states involved in the program.

New Hampshire’s Sea Grant, based at UNH, funds seacoast-specific research, and hosts workshops to educate community members on local climate change impacts.

According to the Washington Post, all $73 million in Sea Grant funding would be wiped, beginning October 1, the first day of the 2018 fiscal year.

The most certain local impact of climate change is sea level rise.

In 2014 and 2015, the N.H. Sea Grant invested over $1.5 million in research to address coastal issues in the Granite State. These funds would no longer be available if the proposal goes through.

The largest cut, on the order of $513 million, proposed is to NOAA’s satellite division, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS).

While satellite programs funded by NESDIS provide climate data, which some say have made them a target under the new administration, the service’s satellites also provide critical data for research and day-to-day weather forecasting.

“Any weakening of our technological, scientific, and human capabilities related to weather and climate places American lives and property at risk,” Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia atmospheric science program and former president of the American Meteorological Society, said.

Accuracy of weather forecasts and improvements in satellite technology go hand in hand.

Ironically, the news broke about these cuts on Friday, when some of the first images from the new GOES-16 weather satellite hit social media.

The latest in satellite technology, GOES-16 provides high-resolution data, including a new instrument which detects lightning.

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