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More hurricanes, less federal research

This has been a truly amazing hurricane season – and it isn't over yet. With more than three weeks to go, we have almost gone through all the names set out for this season. (Trivia: The next storm would be Wilma. After that, we will start using the Greek alphabet.)

Poynter's Al Tompkins notes this story from the Miami Herald:

As Need for Hurricane Research Grows, Feds Deny Funding

The Miami Herald investigates how cuts in research hurt hurricane forecasting. The story says:

While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been warning the nation about the rise in dangerous hurricanes, the agency has denied requests from its hurricane researchers for more scientists, modern equipment and backing for breakthrough projects, a Herald investigation found.

Since 1995, NOAA's Hurricane Research Division lost 11 scientists and has replaced just four, leaving 31 people and a base budget that hasn't topped $3.5 million in more than two decades.

A former director and two senior researchers say they've pleaded for 10 years for an increase of at least 50 percent, but NOAA has granted only incremental bumps that barely kept pace with inflation -- or no increases at all.

'"Our requests were dead on arrival,'' said former Hurricane Research Division Director Hugh Willoughby, who quit the post in 2002 after seven years of denials. "Basically, it was a fool's errand."

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 11, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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