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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published February 20 2013

Weather Talk: Federal budget cuts could affect weather forecasting

The March 1 automatic federal budget cuts, known in political circles as sequestration, could have an impact on weather forecasts. If Congress is unable to overcome its gridlock and pass a new spending plan, the law requires an approximate 8.2 percent cut from federal agencies across the board, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which includes the National Weather Service.

Of primary concern is the possible delay in the development of the replacement Polar Orbiter Satellite. The current satellite will be getting quite old by 2017, when the replacement is scheduled for launch. If NOAA’s budget is cut and a reasonable workaround is not found, there could be a significant reduction in satellite data used by the computer models we use to forecast weather.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com/.