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Senate passes major bill to improve weather forecasting

Posted on December 3, 2016

Senate passes major bill to improve weather forecasting

Hurricane Hermine

Sweeping bipartisan legislation to support weather research and predictions has passed the Senate.

If approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the president, it will become the first major piece of weather legislation adopted since the early 1990s.

The bill, Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2016, H.R. 1561, was approved unanimously in the Senate late Thursday.

The bill’s stated purpose is “to improve the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration’s weather research” through investments in observations, computing and modeling, as well as to expand commercial opportunities for providing weather data.

It is specifically aimed to support advances in:

  • Forecasting dangerous storms, including tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • Long-range forecasts for time periods between two weeks and two years
  • Forecast communication
  • Tsunami warnings

“From long-term forecasting that can prevent costly agricultural losses to more actionable information about severe weather, this legislation will help save lives and reduce avoidable property loss,” said Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), who championed the bill.

The legislation also reforms NOAA’s weather satellite programs, requiring the agency to consider ways to reduce costs and stay on schedule after years of cost overruns and delays. It further calls on NOAA to enter into a pilot program contract to evaluate the private sector’s capabilities in providing space-based weather data.

For more information, Click Here (Washington Post) or Alternate link (Senate)

Courtesy of the Washington Post and Jason Samenow, D.C

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