Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005  (NOAA satellite image, public domain)

If you hate science, you’re really going to hate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA, pronounced “Noah”). It’s an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that’s all about bringing that department, and others, the scientific information they need to make beneficial policies. Its mission: “To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.” Have a look at their nine focus areas, such as fisheries, marine and aviation, weather, climate: science out the wazoo!

You probably know NOAA’s work best from reading winter storm warnings, hurricane warnings, and the like. Or if fishing or boating are important to you, they’ll tell you how high the spring tides are likely to be and provide nautical charts, updated weekly. But not for long, because NOAA has run afoul of various politicians and corporations for reporting some facts that have been called “inconvenient”:

U.S. had 2nd warmest February and 6th warmest winter on record

2016 was 2nd warmest year on record for U.S.

2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe

Uh oh. When we encounter facts we wish were not so, we have basically two choices: change what’s causing them to happen, or shut out the facts. Children do the latter by sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “lalalalalalaIcan’tHEARyou.” The political equivalent is cutting an agency’s budget. The reasoning is that if information about a problem can’t be collected and reported, the problem no longer exists. Or maybe they just don’t want evidence that will then be used to suggest policy changes.

So the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget is going to be cut 17%. The most expensive part of the program, which will almost certainly have to go, is the fleet of monitoring satellites that report all of the above information. If you would like us to have this information and deal with it in an adult way, tell your senators and representative not to accept funding cuts to NOAA. It’s especially important if they are on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (members listed here) or the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (members listed here).