Federal shutdown weakens weather and climate enterprise

Much of the National Weather Service is still functioning, but that does not mean all is well in the world of weather and climate with much of the Federal government closed for business.


Most weather and climate-related activities not directly tied to the protection of life and property are on hold.

This means atmospheric research conducted not just at NOAA, but also at NASA, EPA, and the Department of Interior among others has stopped.

“A staggering 97 percent of NASA employees have been furloughed“, writes Phil Plait at the Bad Astronomy blog.

“The EPA is taking one of the biggest hits of any federal agency — about 96 percent of the agency’s staff aren’t coming to work,” notes Katie Valentine at Climate Progress.

Products and services that educate, enrich and help us make decisions each day are blacked out.

Vital research to better predict and understand hurricanes is taking a time-out.


Climate data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center is inaccessible.


We’re denied NASA’s dazzling array of visuals showing off the wonders of the Earth and the Universe.


And efforts to help individuals and decisionmakers better understand the challenges posed by climate change won’t be furthered.


These are just a few examples of the damage that shutdown does to federal weather and climate initiatives and how they affect us.

Correction, 10:00 a.m. Wednesday: The original version of this post said atmospheric research at the Department of Energy had stopped.  The Department of Energy, for the time being, is continuing to operate.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · October 1, 2013

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