NOAA chief – agency unprepared for Arctic forecast duty

From sacbee.com

NOAA: U.S. unprepared for changes in Arctic ice

McClatchy Newspapers

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being inundated with requests for weather and ice forecasts as well as navigation information about the Arctic, but isn’t able to provide all of the information that the Coast Guard, industries and native Alaskans need, NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco said on Monday.

The NOAA chief, the commandant of the Coast Guard and the chief of naval operations spoke at a symposium about challenges ahead for the U.S. as summer Arctic sea ice declines, opening the Arctic to oil and gas extraction, fisheries, tourism and shipping.

Lubchenco, a marine ecologist, said her agency doesn’t have nearly the same capacity for Arctic weather forecasting, oceanography and navigational charting that it has in other regions.

“It’s a matter of insufficient observing, insufficient information to do the modeling and forecasting. So there’s a huge disconnect between what is expected we will be able to deliver and what we are actually able to provide,” she said.

Lubchenco said NOAA needs more funding for this work, despite current pressure to cut the federal budget.

NOAA also needs better models to be able to show how the loss of sea ice and rising ocean temperatures will affect pollock, cod, salmon and crab, as well as other species such as ice seals and whales, she said.

Lubchenco cautioned that the environmental changes in the Arctic are happening faster than elsewhere and faster than ever observed in history.

“We have relatively little understanding of the true vulnerabilities of most Arctic ecosystems to the kinds of changes that are under way now,” she said. “And there’s a very urgent need to acquire additional information to be making better decisions.” She added that development decisions should be made cautiously, “because of the potential for either irreversible changes or changes that would take a long, long time to undo.”

h/t to WUWT reader “Old Salt”

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33 Responses to NOAA chief – agency unprepared for Arctic forecast duty

  1. polistra says:

    In a different context, this action would be seen as “working to rules” or “blue flu” or “legal extortion”.

    We’re going to slow down to a crawl unless you double our wages.

  2. Owen says:

    I would be heartened by the admission that there is insufficient evidence and observation if it weren’t immediately followed by a blatant request for funding and the requisite blather about “ecological problems” requiring that we don’t develop any of the exposed resources. It started out well, then crashed and burned into the same old anti-development claptrap.

  3. John F. Hultquist says:

    “ . . .as summer Arctic sea ice declines, opening the Arctic to oil and gas extraction, . . .”

    The USA won’t allow this but it is used as justification to ask for more money. What a moral swamp we have waded into.

  4. Is this stuff on a loop tape somewhere? “need more funding”, “”need better models”, “happening faster than ever” etc etc. Just change the object and/or location and re-print or re-broadcast.

  5. theduke says:

    I suppose the question I would pose to Ms Lubchenco is this: if you don’t know what’s happening in the Arctic, why so much certitude about what is happening in the Arctic?

    Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

  6. Alexander K says:

    ‘Not enough information, send money’ is similar to the time-honoured and universal boys’ plea in their first letter home to their mothers when they were shipped off to boot camp – ‘Not enough food, send money!’

  7. FergalR says:

    It’s already been posted in Tip & Notes, but many will be interested in the first Cryosat results that have just been released.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13829785

    The ice looks a lot thicker than the TOPAZ and PIOMAS models imagine it is.

  8. JKB says:

    “Lubchenco cautioned that the environmental changes in the Arctic are happening faster than elsewhere and faster than ever observed in history.”

    Well, of course, this is faster than observed in history. The whole press release is about how we haven’t been doing enough observing.

    “Navigational charting” – Well, NOAA doesn’t have the mandate to produce nautical charts of the arctic, other than the Arctic coast of Alaska. NOAA has more than enough work, producing and updating the marine navigational charts of the US coastline where there is significant shipping. There are still white paper areas on southern Alaska charts and some with surveys 100 yrs old. The Navy may have a need for Arctic charts but then they’ve been sending submarines up there for decades so they just send ships whose draft isn’t deeper than the subs run.

    So now we see NOAA’s move for pay off on their global warmist agenda. More money for the rest of the agency to keep those scientists from questioning the “science” of the climatologists.

  9. golf charley says:

    Suggest they invest in ships with ice breaking ability

  10. higley7 says:

    NOAA certainly does not want to admit that there’s the great likelihood that the Arctic ice is not going to go away any more than usual, if not actually increase as the multiyear ice is increasing steadily since 2007.

    It would be political suicide to tell the politicians that their unfounded beliefs in global warming are wrong! There goes NOAA’s funding. If they cannot deliver on what the politicians want, what good are they?

  11. Diesel says:

    While making “forecasts” about an ice-free Arctic, they admit they are unprepared to make forecasts about the Arctic? Did he stay at a Holiday Inn last night?

  12. Douglas DC says:

    Jane just relocated NOAA’s research fleet at great expense to Newport Or. so they could give the Pork to her supporters a t Hatfield marine science center…

  13. James Sexton says:

    Interesting. Dr. Stroeve, a semi-regular at Steve Goddard’s http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/ had mentioned she had just had meetings with Coast Guard, Navy, and business people about the arctic. She just had a publishing released. But, I’m not sure it has much to do with this unabashed begging for money.

  14. Kaboom says:

    Considering the Arctic will be ice-free in the very near future, no funding should be required.

  15. Theo Goodwin says:

    The one thing that is clear is that Lubchenco does not think before issuing a press release. The sum total of the content of this press release is “Flustered.”

  16. David Falkner says:

    But, but, I thought that NOAA knew everything from the tips of the Earth’s toes to the hair on the sun’s head? How did their old slogan go?

  17. Latitude says:

    NOAA is just trying to claim a piece of the pie…..
    ….there are already agencies in place giving Arctic weather etc forecasts…………..duh
    And no one is stupid enough to use NOAA

  18. Hugh Pepper says:

    A summary of Lubchenco’s message might be: “Change is happening too quickly for us to reasonably advise regarding your requests. Research is required to provide more up-to-date advice.” Arctic ecologies are in transiton everywhere, and this fact should alert us all to increasing jeopardies ahead.It makes no sense to trivialize , or minimize, the risks of rapid ecological change.

  19. Smokey says:

    Hugh Pepper,

    I see you have arrived at your conclusion. However, there is no evidence supporting it. There is nothing unusual happening in the Arctic or anywhere else. Local climates are always in transition, it’s the way the world works. And there is no evidence that human activity has anything to do with it.

  20. earthdog says:

    polistra says:
    June 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

    In a different context, this action would be seen as “working to rules” or “blue flu” or “legal extortion”.

    We’re going to slow down to a crawl unless you double our wages.

    ######################################################

    NOAA also needs better models to be able to show how the loss of sea ice and rising ocean temperatures will affect pollock, cod, salmon and crab, as well as other species such as ice seals and whales, she said.

    It would seem it doesn’t matter, polistra. According to the second quote, NOAA has already made up their mind on how this is all going to play out. Why would they need more funding when they apparently have it all wrapped up?

  21. Wil says:

    Being unable to effective operate in the Arctic is not unusual. For instance, the Canadian Military, on land and on ice, NEVER operate in any of those areas WITHOUT having lots of Inuit Rangers to guide them and feed them in Arctic conditions such as fishing with nets, taking down land animals, etc., in ice and reading the land and direction. The Canadian Military has learned never to venture into that region without Inuit – they learned the hard way – having to get rescued by Inuit too many times. Most modern technology is quite useless in that part of the world – it is a shifting, changing world of hard brutal weather, terrain, and emptiness and total quietness that your ears ring at the stillness. Reading the wind, weather, ice, etc., is the only thing that will save your live up there. I’ve worked that part of the world on rigs and it is not for the faint of heart. The distance between civilization points is so immense anyone not familiar with that part of the world would feel as if they were lost on a foreign planet with no living humans except within their memories alone.

  22. James Sexton says:

    Hugh Pepper says:
    June 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

    A summary of Lubchenco’s message might be: “Change is happening too quickly for us to reasonably advise regarding your requests. Research is required to provide more up-to-date advice.” Arctic ecologies are in transiton everywhere, and this fact should alert us all to increasing jeopardies ahead.It makes no sense to trivialize , or minimize, the risks of rapid ecological change.
    ==========================================================

    Perhaps, but it also makes no sense to be alarmed by something that is likely to be very beneficial to humanity. Further, it makes less sense to attempt to scrap our socioeconomic system in an attempt to avoid the unavoidable which is likely beneficial. IMHO, to attempt to do so smacks of ideological opportunism.

  23. Jeff Carlson says:

    apparently they have enough funding to be definative about “loss of sea ice and rising ocean temperatures” which of course is not definative …

  24. Rob Potter says:

    Dr Lubchenko’s statement is a complete non-sequitor. She states that the NOAA is being “inundated with requests for weather and ice forecasts as well as navigation information about the Arctic,” and then asks for money to research the effect on fish stocks! Completely unrelated.

    What should we expect from a marine ecologist as the head of the (essentially) weather service?

    I suspect if they got back to the their mandate they would have plenty of funds to study the weather in the arctic and upgrade the weather monitoring stations so painfully exposed as being inadequate here on this site.

  25. Douglas DC says:

    Hugh Pepper. Jane’s “Dead Zones on the pacific coast” meme is what first turned me off of her
    alarmist ideas . If you actually look at records and data they have always been there along Oregon
    and California coasts in particular for a very long time. Ask any old crabber and fisherman..
    But, what do they know….

  26. wermet says:

    Shouldn’t Canada be providing the navigational chart for it’s own coastlines and waters?? Why does *everyone* believe that the USA has to pay to fix *all* of the world’s problems?

    By the way, what did the previous generations of explorers do without government maps and charts? Did they stay home or simply go about living their lives without expecting others to pander to their every whim. I am sick of all the whining people who don’t realize that it’s not the government holding them back, it is themselves and their fears.

  27. Billy Liar says:

    wermet says:
    June 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Shouldn’t Canada be providing…

    They do. Pick your ice chart; includes the north coast of Alaska as far as Barrow:

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/app/WsvPrdCanQry.cfm?CanID=11081&Lang=eng

  28. 1DandyTroll says:

    How hard can it be: It will be freezing your butt off in a colder ‘an cold ice-scape during the winter, and it might, maybe, be ice free during a couple of weeks or so in the summer a hundred years from now. There, do I get paid now?

  29. Theo Goodwin says:

    Here in Central Florida, we have noticed that the snowbirds have gone home. Finally. That could explain lots of weird behavior in the Arctic. On the other hand, snowbirds are coming to Florida in ever increasing numbers and staying longer and longer. I think that is probably a better measure of global temperature than anything Lubchenco can come up with.

  30. Steve Oregon says:

    http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/people/capitalcomment/11857.html

    Who Are the Wealthiest Members of the Obama Administration?

    12. Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: assets of $1,907,000 to $4,705,000.
    Another academic-turned-political-adviser, Lubchenco made $235,465 last year from Oregon State University along with speaker fees of just over $4,000 and $150,000 as recipient of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment. Who says being green doesn’t pay?

  31. RDCII says:

    “It’s a matter of insufficient observing, insufficient information to do the modeling and forecasting. So there’s a huge disconnect between what is expected we will be able to deliver and what we are actually able to provide,” she said.

    Lubchenco cautioned that the environmental changes in the Arctic are happening faster than elsewhere and faster than ever observed in history.

    In the same release. Don’t these people see how self-satirizing they’ve become?

  32. Scott says:

    Keep ‘em poor!

  33. Incredible!
    Whatever it is, it is much worst and it is happening much faster than last time we alarmed you!
    Send money! (’cause you caused it)

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