U.S. Weather and Environmental Satellites: Ready for the 21st Century? Hearing Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, July 11, 2007 [open pdf - 2MB]
From the opening statement of Bill Nelson: "We're here to discuss an issue that has captured the imagination of a lot of Americans, particularly at this time of year, as we come into the hurricane season. Thus far, we have been mercifully spared. It didn't seem that way, because on the very first day of hurricane season, a hurricane started brewing that actually got close to 75 miles per hour before hitting, fortunately; an unpopulated part of the Florida Coast. But a lot of the issues that we're going to discuss today have to do with the Nation's weather satellites and also the satellites that have to do with the delicate measurements of the climate. Naturally, we take for granted all our detailed, real-time pieces of information about the weather. We take that for granted 365 days a year. Since the first weather satellite was launched, in 1960, we've planned our daily lives informed by weather forecasts derived, in large part, from satellite data. Farmers, mariners, pilots, and countless others depend on this accurate and timely weather information. Naturally, residents, particularly in coastal areas, well understand the importance of weather satellite data. Fifty percent of the U.S. population now lives within 50 miles of the coastline. Hurricane losses averaged $36 billion in each of the last 5 years. The cost to the Federal Government on Katrina alone has been in excess of $100 billion. By comparison, we spend less than a billion dollars each year on weather satellites and hurricane research. Uninterrupted data from our weather satellites is vital to protect the lives, property, and the commerce of our country. And yet, these major satellite weather programs are undergoing major changes and experiencing some serious problems. We're going to dig into those problems today." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Maria Cantwell, Bill Nelson, John E. Sununu, Antonio J. Busalacchi, Michael H. Freilich, Gerg J. Holland, Mary Ellen Kicza, Ron Klein, David A. Powner, Daniel K. Inouye, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Olympia J. Snowe.
S. Hrg. 110-1129; Senate Hearing 110-1129
U.S. Government Printing Office, Federal Digital System: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/