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A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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A thousand more...

http://www.tampabays10.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=25367

National weather service to offer early retirement to a thousand of its four-thousand-seven-hundred workers.

Anyone else wondering why the National Weather Service needs almost 5000 employees?
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: A thousand more...

Obviously you are from California, which doesn't have weather.
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
Anyone else wondering why the National Weather Service needs almost 5000 employees?
Well, if FEMA ignores their reports, why not cut overhead?
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
http://www.tampabays10.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=25367

Anyone else wondering why the National Weather Service needs almost 5000 employees?
CFB,

There are hundreds of local Weather Service Forecast Offices around the country. Many of these are staffed 24/7. They take local weather observations and prepare local forecast products. Weather satellites alone do not provide detailed enough observations for good local forecasts. The Weather Channel gets all of its data from the NWS. They don't do their own observations and data gathering.

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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 12:16 PM   #5
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
CFB,

The Weather Channel gets all of its data from the NWS. They don't do their own observations and data gathering.

Grumpy
Grump, wasn't it a few years ago that someone in Congress suggested cutting the national weather service because we could get weather information from the Weather Channel.
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 12:53 PM   #6
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.

Supporters say the bill wouldn't hamper the weather service or the National Hurricane Center from alerting the public to hazards in fact, it exempts forecasts meant to protect "life and property."
And yes, they do get their data from the NWS- they just don't want the NWS to be offering the same data to the general public. Nice. Taxpayers pay for the data, and the Weather Channel profits.

What AccuWeather has to say about it
Quote:
"The National Weather Service has not focused on what its core mission should be, which is protecting other people's lives and property," said Myers, whose company is based in State College, Pa. Instead, he said, "It spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year, every day, producing forecasts of 'warm and sunny.'"
To which the NOAA replies-
Quote:
"If someone claims that our core mission is just warning the public of hazardous conditions, that's really impossible unless we forecast the weather all the time," Johnson said. "You don't just plug in your clock when you want to know what time it is."
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: A thousand more...

Before I worked for NASA I worked for NOAA for 16 years (the parent agency of the National Weather Service). I seem to recall that there were numerous studies showing that the economic benefits of weather forecasts far outweighed the costs of producing them. This involved things like agricultural uses of weather information to maximize crop yields, minimize use of irrigation, protect crops from frost damage, etc. Other economic benefits were minimizing fuel costs for airlines by taking advantage of prevailing winds, protection of property from damage by severe storms (e.g. hurricanes) etc.

I agree that the NWS shouldn't compete with private enterprise in the distribution of value added weather products. However, it should be remembered that those businesses could not exist without the basic weather observations and products produced by NWS.

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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 04:26 PM   #8
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
I agree that the NWS shouldn't compete with private enterprise in the distribution of value added weather products.*
Value added sure, but shouldn't the taxpayers have access to the same "raw" data that AccuWeather/Weather Channel has?
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Re: A thousand more...
Old 02-12-2006, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: A thousand more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
Value added sure, but shouldn't the taxpayers have access to the same "raw" data that AccuWeather/Weather Channel has?
I'm pretty sure that you can access the raw weather data through some NWS web site, but what would you do with it? Unless you are trained in meteorology I don't think a set of water vapor measurments at 1000 foot intervals over your home town would tell you very much. Even an NWS weather map showing frontal boundaries and pressure gradients would not help a layman make his own forecast.

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