There’s an old adage that seems apropos today:
“Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger. – Wikipedia
This has to do with the latest sequester threat. Understand, it comes from Dan Sobien, the president of the union representing National Weather Service employees, so there’s a good chance he’s painting a gloomier picture to bolster his case.
Sobien says cutbacks to the National Weather Service might eliminate some of the weather balloon launches which happen twice a day around-the-world. These observations of the upper atmosphere help seed weather forecast models. Even the lauded European model uses our balloon observations.
This is crazy. Is this what we really want, a return to the significantly less reliable forecasts of decades ago?
We’ve had storms not show. Forecasting isn’t perfect (heaven knows). But when was the last time you were surprised by snow, like the Blizzard of ’78?
I can’t remember the last time!
Who in their right minds slashes a budget indiscriminately, as the sequester’s terms specify?
Bad weather forecasts cost money. Being able to plan and redeploy resources because of anticipated weather is a luxury business has today for the first time in history!
Is there fat at the Weather Service? Undoubtedly. Weather Service employee schedules are environmentally agnostic. As I understand it, there are as many employees scheduled for fair weather as foul in most offices . That seems foolishly inflexible¹.
The whole concept of a sequester is pretty foolish. We elect representatives to govern, not punt. I am flabbergasted.
¹ – I am not sure about this paragraph and welcome a correction if warranted.