Trump’s nomination of Barry Myers to head NOAA is a mistake

From the White House:

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Key Personnel to his Administration

If confirmed, Barry Myers of Pennsylvania will serve as Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce.  Mr. Myers has served as CEO of AccuWeather since 2007, and since then the company has experienced its highest grossing years, and its largest global web and mobile audience growth.  He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of weather information.  He has given remarks at the World Meteorological Organization, World Federation of Scientists, American Meteorological Society (AMS), and many other organizations.  For two decades, he served as a member of the nationally recognized Smeal College of Business.  Mr. Myers is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He graduated from the Smeal College of Business at Penn State and received a J.D. from Boston University Law School.  He and his wife Holly have five children.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/11/president-donald-j-trump-announces-key-additions-his-administration

I’m sure this nomination is a not good idea. Here’s why:

1.  Barry Myers is a businessman and a lawyer. He has no meteorology training or science training of any kind. His brother, Dr. Joel Myers, does.

2. There will be, that I perceive, a conflict of Interest. His company, AccuWeather, makes heavy use of NOAA products. Given my personal dealings with him in the past at AccuWeather, I am concerned there will be temptation to monopolize access to this publicly available data. This is probably the only time in history I’ll ever agree with the Union of Concerned Scientists who say:

He has been a strong advocate against NOAA having the capability to provide such products directly to the public, hence the rather boring form of NOAA forecasts which is interpreted and commoditized by companies like AccuWeather and many others.

 

3. AccuWeather’s Meyers has tried to restrict NOAA’s dissemination of public data in the past:

AccuWeather has been active in efforts to undercut the role of NOAA. In 2005, AccuWeather, under the leadership of Myers’ brother Dr. Joel Myers, worked with Senator Rick Santorum on a bill to severely restrict the National Weather Service’s ability to provide weather forecasts to the public. The company donated to Santorum’s then Senate campaign and has been vocal about their interest in downsizing NOAA in the interest of privatizing weather forecasting.

Source: http://blog.ucsusa.org/andrew-rosenberg/conflicts-of-interest-noaas-nominees-accuweather-ceo-barry-myers-and-dr-neil-jacobs-of-panasonic

Not a good nomination, not good at all.

Note: about 15 minutes after publication, a correction to Barry Myers name was made to remove an extra “e” in both the title and body of the text.

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78 thoughts on “Trump’s nomination of Barry Myers to head NOAA is a mistake

    • The US auto industry went through that phase (i.e., lawyers as top level management) several decades ago. I think it was after the the ‘accountants as top level management’ phase. I remember a lot of discussions on how, between them, they almost destroyed the US auto industry, making room for the Japanese takeover.

  1. I use NOAA weather exclusively; the hourly graphs of wind speed and direction is very important for aviation activities. I frequently examine the satellite photos of cloud cover and animations to make my own personal forecasts.

  2. Dr. Judith A. Curry, would have been an excellent choice, Ph.D. in geophysical sciences former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. research interests include hurricanes, air-sea interactions, atmospheric modeling, polar climate etc

    • She’s said she won’t take an administrative job (and implied she was offered one), but would take an advisory one.

  3. I can think of one site who’s name I probably can’t type here who may well Endorse this guy based upon your reaction to him. But only because it would be their typical Stupid response. Hot-something-or-other….

  4. “AccuWeather, I am concerned there will be temptation to monopolize access to this publicly available data”

    I read his testimoney on data the other day

    Anthony we agre 100%

    There is already enough data that NOAA and NWS do not release

    One dataset is a Urban data set that could help us understand the ins and outs of UHI

    restricted.

    Other datasets include data fed into the NWS forecasting models ( and thus re analysis) also restricted.

    other countries do the same.. India has large datasets, Korea, etc

    • Most useful would be true temperature data, if available, from the Soviet era.
      Soviets knew there are large oil and other natural resources available in Siberia, but they needed manpower to develop it. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, some of the largest construction and industrial projects in Russian and world history were undertaken in Siberia.
      Using gulag labourers was not a solution, skilled people needed to be prompted not only by better earnings but the temperature data may have been doctored to present Siberia a bit less inhospitable, possibly the practice continued in the following decades.
      Raising Siberia’s temperatures for few degrees wouldn’t appear outrages thing to do in order to entice skilled labour, but since the Soviet Union covered approximately one sixth of the earth’s land surface (two and a half times the size of the United States) it did wonders for the global temperatures.

      This temperature anomaly map was copied from https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps.html but not available any longer.

      • Global land temperatures

        ‘took off’ with the sudden USSR warming in early 1970 (see above map) . Remember that was time when Hansen and co were predicting sliding towards new Ice Age. It was not inciting prospect for people to move to Siberia was it, so in contrast to the rest of the globe Siberia suddenly, within couple of years, warmed up by up to 4 degrees, just what was wanted for expanding oil explorations there, and world forgot about the Ice Age.
        In 1973 there was quadrupling of oil prices (OPEC boycott after Yom-Kippur war), this made Siberia oil exploration highly profitable business, which supported Russian economy ever since.

        If Berkeley Earth climate research unit is to calculate global land temperatures excluding those for the area shown bright red (+2 to +4 degrees) area, appearing only in the USSR at the time, then we might get closer to what actually was going on with the global temperatures in 1970s and onwards.
        Come on Steven, have a go at it.
        .

    • “true”?

      all you have a record. you dont have anything else and no reason to trust any source.

      I thought you guys were skeptics

  5. For all I know, this may be a very unwise nomination but reason number one surely cannot stand. Otherwise only members or former members of the armed forces could serve as Secretary of Defense, only medical personnel could be put in charge of heath, only farmers could be put in charge of agriculture, etc, etc.

    • When I was young that’s how I thought it worked. The Minister of Transportation was an expert on transportation. The Minister of Agriculture was an expert on agriculture, and so on. It always puzzled me when I’d hear on the TV or radio that there had been a cabinet shuffle and the guy who had been Minister of Transportation was now the Minister of Agriculture. “How can that be?” I’d think.

      I don’t know if such a system would be a good or bad idea, but I kind of miss the days when I thought the people in charge of various things were actually knowledgeable about the things they were in charge of.

      • I have long maintained that someone cannot manage a technological company well, unless they understand the technology. During my career, I have personally witnessed CEOs bring companies to their knees because the board of directors that hired them thought that managing a company that made Dixie Cups was no different from managing a company that made personal computers.

      • Well, there is a certain logic to it, isn’t there? I’ve felt the same about advertising companies, which I naively feel should be run by advertising men — not conglomerates. And I’m pretty sure that many of our nation’s roads and bridges would be in better condition if the ministry overseeing them was headed by someone with a background in math and engineering rather than someone with a background in getting votes.

      • Dontcha know that we live in the age of the mystical manager? Through the magical powers of more with less, moving forward, Lean and various other magical incantations, initiates into the secret cabal of managers do not need to know a single thing about that which they manage. As an example of how well it works, just look at the great job that governments do!!!!

      • Clyde,
        greed – but to be positive, there can be large, comparative benefits when the skills of the Chief are a good match to the corporate product. Had some spectacular results – world class gains – in a mining company whose Chairman was an experienced mining engineer, with an exploration subsidiary headed by an eminent field geologist. Geoff.

      • I guess I’ve seen both sides. I have seen excellent companies run by sharp engineers and later destroyed by non-engineering management. I have also seen other companies, started by engineers, that later failed due to the original (engineering) management never being able to adjust.

        I haven’t followed it lately but 20 or 30 years ago there use to be a size limit, somewhere around $10 million gross for most entrepreneurial engineer-managers, and maybe up to $1 billion gross for very exceptional engineer-managers, above which the company faltered. It either quit growing or slowly slid toward Chapter 11, usually either for lack of new, updated products or just plain bad management decisions. The original engineering founders could grow the business up to those levels but became totally lost when the company reached those levels.

  6. I am overall glad that The Donald was elected. On the other hand, I am sure that he and his buddies will make out like bandits. If he can end the suffering of the former industrial middle class, it’s still a good deal. The Democrats and many Republicans haven’t got the message. You can’t throw the majority of the electorate under the bus. That’s why we have democracy.

    Having said the above, I agree with Anthony, the appointment is a giant conflict of interest.

    • Personally, I hope that like every other President of the USA, Trump does make out like a bandit, assuming he gets the country up off its knees.

      So far, he’s the only President or Prime Minister I can recall since Churchill (under very different circumstances of course) who has immediately implemented campaign promises e.g. withdrawing from the Paris Accord.

      If he does get the USA firing on all cylinders again it will stimulate many $Trillions of dollars of business around the globe much f which is persistently stymied by non confrontational, liberal, politically correct wets who would rather do nothing and fail than do something and run the risk of succeeding.

      The time is long overdue that Iran is called out for what it really is, the manipulative centre of the global terror network. The times also long overdue that N. Korea is given a metaphoric slap, that the climate change scam is overturned; that the true values of Capitalism, peaceful and profitable free trade, are promoted and left wing violent, coercive socialism, exposed for the evil it really is.

      The true division between Capitalism and socialism has never been presented as starkly as by Trump. Although Jeremy Corbyn (the UK’s opposition leader) and his communist loving sidekick have gone a long way to reveal the unsavoury underbelly of their ideology.

      I have everything crossed in the hope that people begin to realise that everything good in the world today is almost entirely thanks to Capitalism. The 20th Century was an exhibition of left wing cruelty, state sponsored murder, and genocide. Facts persistently ignored, and often denied, by the socialist acolytes.

      Here’s hoping the 21st Century is one of peaceful free trade and global prosperity and along with President Trump, we all make out like bandits.

      “Empirical evidence that free markets make people nicer”

      http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/free-markets-and-free-trade/

  7. Every government bureaucrat has an inherent conflict of interest. The Government career bureaucrat is evaluated for promotion based on regulations he has written or implemented, the number of employees supervised, the size of budget he has managed. His interests are skewed heavily towards the expansion of Government. That appointed office holders have a conflict that opposes this does not bother me. It is a counter to the conflict of interest of the entrenched bureaucracy.

    To have no conflict of interest by the appointed office holders would leave the inherent tendencies of the bureaucracy unopposed.

  8. Not to mention that AccuWeather is completely sold out to the CAGW cause. I remember when they made the switch and Bastardi left and some other guy came in and started doing a CAGW blog.

    So if Myers is CAGW then his appointment to the NOAA means more of the same. Only worse, because we wont be able to access the info used to lie to us.

    What is Trump thinking?

  9. Not to mention Accuwx routinely spouts the CAGW party line. Not stoked to have a person with that history in charge of NOAA

  10. I’m not all that concerned about the lack of scientific training, or the potential business conflict issues.

    What I am concerned about is the connection to people that are heavily invested in whipping up fear of climate disaster in the populace. The issue is not so much whether the NOAA data will continue to be available – but whether it will actually be data. There is too much thumb work going on now, and that is not at all likely to change with this appointment.

    • Perhaps he just gets jerked around by the incumbent – and now it’s Trump’s turn as puppet master. I mean, would you want to take on that role with the current administration and immediately start cranking out cagw bs?

      • Vuc says:”If Berkeley Earth climate research unit is to calculate global land temperatures …”

        Mosh says:”You get the same answers if you compare NOAA data to Non NOAA data.”

        I was always taught (and teach) that data are measured and recorded, not calculated. Hence the huge problem with homogenization of data, which turns data into mighty tasty sausages to your taste, but the sausage hardly resembles the starting ingredients.

        To paraphrase Sgt. Friday, ‘Just the data, Ma’am.’

  11. In a WUWT post yesterday on the Top Fears of 2017, were:

    1) Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015 and 2016) At 74%, was the clear winner.

    I guess I need say no more…but some days I weep for America.

  12. Aren’t NOAA and NWS public funded? On what grounds do they have for withholding ANY information? National security?

    • No, it’s far simpler than that:
      “They do not have to say anything but anything they do say may be given in evidence.”

  13. According to this article, he seems to have a reasonable approach wrt the subject of climate change in the context of running a business…

    “Myers has rarely said much about global warming, and AccuWeather, unlike its rival The Weather Company, has not taken up the cause of climate change. The company did not seek to stifle commentary, but neither did it foster it, Myers has said. “We have said to our scientists, if you have special skills in climate, if you want to voice your professional opinion, our platforms are open to you,” Myers told The Wall Street Journal in 2014. “We do not want people getting involved in the political aspect of this debate.” ”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/10/accuweather-s-barry-myers-nominated-lead-noaa

  14. Did Barry support Lubchenco’s mendacious “National Climate Service” idea?

    ..”In transmitting
    these comments, the SAB would like to highlight the need for the National Weather
    Services and the new NOAA Climate Service to interact and coordinate their activities
    closely.”.
    EISWG Members:
    Philip Ardanuy Ronald McPherson Peter Neilley Warren Qualley
    Helen Brohl Eric Grimit Rebecca Morss Eugene Stallings
    Jeffrey Lazo Barry Myers Kelly Redmond Joel Widder
    John Toohey-Morales Julie Winkler Robert Winokur

    ftp://ftp.oar.noaa.gov/SAB/sab/reports/2010/NWSstratplancommentsTransLetter10-1-10FinaltoNOAA.pdf

  15. Tend to disagree. NOAA provides a ‘product’, as has AccuWeather. Forcing NOAA to come up to commercial standards is a huge plus. This nominee has that expertise.

    • “Forcing NOAA to come up to commercial standards is a huge plus. This nominee has that expertise.”

      And a MASSIVE job in front of him. !

      • Andy,

        GISS was originally created to support space exploration.That is what it should be returned to,leave the climate stuff with the NOAA,which has been doing it much longer.

  16. Given this spewing I have to lean towards approval of the appointment.
    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2017/06/08/433823/trumps-war-oceans/

    Lubchenco was (and is) a despicable liar and conniving political operative.
    The position is clearly one that carries great political weight and muscle.
    The director needs to be an aggressive advocate for reeling in the agency to refocus it’s work on authentic science and genuine needs.
    There are plenty of scientists at NOAA to handle the PhD science function and duties.

  17. I’m hoping that what he means is not to restrict access to data, but to public forcasting (which is punditry best left to others that suckers will pay for and believe)… Raw data should definitely be available – especially to weather prediction companies – and more of it hopefully… I’m hoping that Barry would use this as a way to access more data, with less modification/alteration/corruption, so they can provide a more accurate forecasting service – and stop the NOAA being a competitor forecaster for Joe public.

  18. As somebody that uses NOAA products all day, almost every day and also pays a small fee to AccuWeather for a few things that NOAA does not have, like the European Model Ensembles, I agree.

  19. Barry Myers is a businessman and a lawyer. He has no meteorology training or science training of any kind. His brother, Dr. Joel Myers, does.

    but maybe he is a good manager

  20. President Trump needs a Bureaucrat with skills, stamina and talent for fighting against entrenched Obama Regime Vietcong Bureaucracy, not Science, not a Scientist. And President Trump wants Results and Quick! Good choice.

  21. I wonder if Myers was hired with the understanding that he would upgrade NOAA data to AcuWeather friendliness. That would make sense, if he’d go for it. He might—he may have all the moolah he needs.

  22. Excerpted critiques:

    I’m sure this nomination is a not good idea. Here’s why:

    3. AccuWeather’s Meyers has tried to restrict NOAA’s dissemination of public data in the past:

    Given the fact that Mr. Barry Myers served as CEO of AccuWeather, …… a privately owned “for profit” business, …… it was his duty and obligation as being CEO to increase the sale of weather information to any and all potential customers, …… and to do that, …… it would have been in both his and AccuWeather’s best interest to prevent NOAA from distributing said “weather information” free of charge to anyone requesting it.

    Iffen you are in the business of “selling hotdogs for profit”, ……. you sure as heck can’t compete with someone who is “giving away hotdogs for free

  23. And the revolving door between gov and biz continues.. like anyone is surprised.

    “Drain the swamp, then flood it again with my kind of swamp water”

  24. I use NWS forecasts and updates exclusively for ski racing due to their topographical predictions. This is terrible news ! I hope this nomination is derailed, and people can reach him to lobby for an anti-AGW scientist !

  25. I use NWS forecasts and radar extensively for all my outdoor activities including bicycling, sailing, tennis, hiking, skiing and running.

  26. Nominating Barry Myers to oversee NOAA is not just a conflict of interest. It is nominating the fox to guard the henhouse.

    I have always thought that the NWS was one government run organization were ‘The People’ actually got their bang for the buck. It is a great service for the price. Barry Myers has made it clear that he wants to do away with that service and have everyone pay AccuWeather for the same thing (or something similar to that).

    NO THANK YOU!

  27. As a former NOAA employee who has deeply criticized the NWS specifically and NOAA overall (to my professional and personal detriment), it is absolutely ludicrous to put Myers the fox (either one) in charge of the henhouse. NOAA and AccuWeather forecasts can be useful, with NWS forecasts probably somewhat superior overall in my opinion. But, the REAL purpose of the NWS is to issue advance watches and warnings for public safety. If the fox gets in charge of the henhouse, how can we be assured that there are no conflicts of interest? How much will we have to eventually pay to receive warnings, and indeed other important weather information that is now no cost? The Myerses and former Senator Santorum tried to privatize the NWS years ago for their own aggrandizement, including warnings. I can think of no worse outcome for public service. There are FAR better choices within the operational and academic atmospheric science community for a NOAA director, and ones who also do not subscribe to the CAGW / Disastrous Climate Change nonsense, who would guard the public service aspect that NOAA is supposed to fulfill. Any AccuWeather person would automatically be an exceedingly poor choice (except ex-AccuWeather person Joe Bastardi) in my opinion. The conflict of interest issue alone is enough to negate any AccuWeather person as a choice to lead the NWS or NOAA. We can all argue over the pros and cons of privatized government service, but in my view defense and public safety agencies by their very nature ought to remain neutral and in the public domain. There are only 2 or 3 things I have not liked that Trump has done since taking office, which is a VERY small percentage of all the things he has done (or tried to do); this would be the worst by far, though. In any case, a science director should, in my opinion, have extensive expertise as a scientist. Remember what Shakespeare said about the lawyers!

    • If, … if, … if, … IF, … Barry Myers is pro-choice, ……. prefers golf rather than football, …….. would rather watch paint dry rather than watch a Pro-baseball game ……. and doesn’t falsely claim to go to Church every Sunday ……. then fer shur he shouldn’t have been appointed to head a government Agency no matter how damn good his “past performance” track-record is ……. or how smart and competent he is.

  28. Joe Bastardi, and his colleagues at WeatherBell, including my friend and co-author Joe d’Aleo, have the best predictive track record in the weather forecasting field.

    For several years, the long-range Winter weather forecasts of the NWS were completely wrong.

    Here is a recent example:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/13/new-butt-covering-end-of-snow-prediction/comment-page-1/#comment-2397292

    A little recent history about Winter weather forecasts:

    The National Weather Service (NWS) of the USA forecast a warm winter for 2014-15 and my friend Joe d’Aleo told me in October 2014 that the NWS forecast was seriously incorrect, and that the next winter would be particularly cold and snowy, especially in the populous Northeast. This was the second consecutive year that the NWS has made a very poor (excessively warm) Winter forecast, in Joe’s opinion – and he and his colleagues at WeatherBell have a great track record of accurate forecasts.

    Joe and I had been working together on a paper on Excess Winter Mortality, and I suggested to Joe that this false “warm winter” NWS forecast was dangerous, especially if the country and its people were unprepared. Joe agreed, but did not know how to tackle the problem.

    I proposed an approach, and we prepared a presentation for my friend at the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Joe then prepared his own monthly Winter Forecast by region for the EIA, who re-ran their winter energy demand calculations. Using Joe’s forecast, the EIA projected 11% more winter energy required for the USA than the “warm” NWS forecast had projected.

    After that brutally cold and snowy winter, a back-analysis showed that the actual energy used was 10% more than the NWS forecast projection, and just 1% less than Joe’s forecast projection.
    (Note: all numbers are from memory.)

    So I think we did a good deed.

    Regards to all, Allan

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