Bush Wants to Beef Up Earth Monitoring


AP – February 4, 2008

The new budget for the US Bush Administration has additional scientific vehicles to better understand and monitor the world and its climate. While these improvements are good, I have repeatedly called for better efforts in computer modeling and analysis and these still did not receive the attention that they deserved.

One of the problems with the models employed is the sparseness of the data that they use and computing shortcuts that are employed. We need more points of data in the models that cover multiple distances off the planet and we need larger, faster, and more advanced computing power so that these data points can be left discrete for the entirety of the computing effort.

While I commend the Bush Administration in following the tide of political sentiment to these budget proposals, more needs to be done. We are making changes in our economy based on the interpretation of computer models. We need to spend more on these models and make them more complete!

The president’s 2009 budget provides money for six new NASA satellites to watch Earth’s changes, costing at least $910 million over the next five years. It also calls for an increase of more than $200 million for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather satellites and climate monitoring, including restoration of key instruments that had been cut from a troubled and delayed weather satellite.

A critical report last year by the National Academy of Sciences contended the government was unprepared for collecting vital information about global warming. It noted that NASA’s Earth sciences research budget had been effectively cut by 30 percent since 2000 and the report prompted changes in the government’s Earth observing plans, officials said.

On the energy emissions that cause global warming, the president’s proposed budget would cut spending on energy efficiency and renewable energy by $500 million, but would increase spending on “clean coal” technologies for power plants and nuclear power.

You can read the entire news report here.

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