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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made a major upgrade to its Global Forecast System (GFS) that experts hope will equip the agency and weather services around the world to adapt to the challenges of climate change. The upgrade will greatly improve the forecasting of extreme weather events including hurricanes and high-altitude weather systems.
Why This Matters: Hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more intense each year. But NOAA’s GFS hasn’t managed to keep up.
Among the most consequential impacts of the government shutdown are the strain and diminution of capacity to the National Weather Service (NWS) operations, upon which all public and private daily weather forecasts are based.
Why This Matters: One-third of the U.S. economy is impacted by the weather. Indeed, as The Post points out, that means many sectors such as transportation, energy, national security, agriculture, the stock market, not to mention forecasts of extreme weather — are now operating on less than the highly accurate forecasts they usually can rely upon. And imagine if we have a “billion dollar” storm such as a “snowmaggedon” while the shutdown drags on, with lives and profits at risk, which seems increasingly probable as we are now squarely in winter snow season. Offices like the one that Saha works in are down to skeleton staff — only one or two rather than dozens. This weather forecasting degradation is much riskier to the general public than any risk we face from the lack of a feckless border wall segment.
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