New $50 million hurricane research center: a bad idea

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:28 PM GMT on July 01, 2009

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Hurricane track forecasts have improved by about 50% over the past twenty years, which has undoubtedly saved many lives and billions of dollars. These forecast improvements have primarily resulted from the investment made in hurricane research, which has been funded at approximately $50 million per year over that period. To me, it is unfathomable that our nation spends so little on scientific research that provides such an incredible value. The President's National Science Board, which makes budget recommendations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), agrees, and recommended a six-fold increase in hurricane research spending to $300 million per year in a 2007 report. But exactly how much "bang for the buck" are we getting from hurricane research? The answer is murky, making it difficult to excite the kind of attention and political appeal needed to give hurricane research funding the big shot in the arm it deserves. However, recent moves by the Obama administration show that they are taking notice of the need to spend more money on hurricane research. But, a recent proposal by Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, to build a new $50 million hurricane research center in Orlando, is the wrong way to boost hurricane research.


Figure 1. A science team led by NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (HRD) prepares for a mission into Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Image credit: NOAA/HRD.

How current hurricane research is funded
In 2008, about $50 million was spent by the U.S. government on hurricane research, with about 25% of this total going to maintain the facilities that do the research. The $50 million funded 228 person-years of research. About 35% of this was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the rest of the money coming from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and NASA. An additional $4 million was earmarked by Congress in 2008 to fund NOAA's promising new effort to improve hurricane intensity forecasts--the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP).

Where future funding increases should go: HFIP and JHT
The President's proposed FY 2010 budget continues the roughly $50 million dollars the hurricane research community traditionally gets, but adds $13 million in funding for the HFIP effort. To me, this is a great way to channel new hurricane research funding, as the HFIP effort is heavily focused on improving hurricane intensity forecasts, which have not improved at all over the past twenty years. Specific advancements outlined in the HFIP plan include:

1) Improving hurricane track forecast accuracy by 50% out to 5 days by 2018.
2) Improving hurricane intensity forecast accuracy by 50% out to 5 days by 2018.
3) Extending the lead time for hurricane forecasts out to 7 days.
4) Reducing the false alarm rate for rapid intensity forecasts.
5) Increasing the probability of detection of rapid intensification.

Another great way to boost hurricane research funding would be to put more money into NOAA's Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT) project. This $1 million per year program has funded 50 separate hurricane research efforts over since 2001, 30 of which have been adopted operationally by the National Hurricane Center. Examples of successful JHT projects include the successful integration of the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) surface wind measurement instrument into NHC operations; improvements to the GFDL and HWRF computer models; and improving techniques to make a "consensus" forecast based on the output of our four best computer models. However, no new money for JHT has been proposed in the FY 2010 budget, though some of the money earmarked for HFIP may flow into JHT.

A new $50 million hurricane research center proposed
Instead, a new proposal for hurricane research funding has been championed by Representative Alan Grayson, D-Florida. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Grayson is pushing for a new $50 million hurricane research center to be built in Orlando. He demanded that such a hurricane research center be built in exchange for his vote for the controversial climate change bill passed Friday by the U.S. House, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. There is no language in the actual bill authorizing funds for such a center--Grayson merely has the word of democratic lawmakers, including President Obama, that such a center would be built. "I think it's a very worthwhile project. I look forward to working on it and making it a priority as the legislative process moves along," said U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who sponsored the bill, in the Orlando Sentinel article. The center could be constructed with funds aimed at helping states "study and adapt to climate change," money that would not be available until 2012 at the earliest. The hurricane center is "among the type of activities that would be eligible to receive funding," Waxman said. "We've never had anything [like this] come into this district before, ever," said Grayson, a freshman lawmaker. "This will be the world-leading facility for hurricane research. This will draw people from all over the world."

Well, I have championed efforts to give more funding to hurricane research over the years, and I think the $300 million per year in funding for the National Hurricane Research Initiative proposed in 2007 by the President's National Science Board is what is needed. However, I think Grayson's proposed new hurricane center is a bad idea. Florida already has a world-leading facility for hurricane research, NOAA's Hurricane Research Division on Virginia Key, and does not need another. The U.S. hurricane research community has an infrastructure in place that works, and the best way to foster hurricane research is to pump money into this existing infrastructure. I talked with a number of senior hurricane research scientists about the idea of a new hurricane research center, and none of them supported it. It's great that Rep. Grayson's wants to put new much-needed funding into hurricane research, but he didn't consult with the experts to see if a new research center was a good way to do this. It isn't. Where are all of the scientists needed to staff such a center going to come from? Presumably, they will be drawn from existing successful research teams, leading to the disruption of these proven research efforts. Adding a new national research center with a new bureaucracy with new management needing on-the-job training will dilute and distract from current hurricane research efforts, and is not a good way to spend $50 million. Several senior hurricane research scientists are going to be reaching out to Rep. Grayson over the next few months to make him more aware of the abilities and needs of the hurricane research community. Hopefully, these efforts will result in a more productive way for the Congressman to boost hurricane research. If you live in Rep. Grayson's district, I recommend you contact him to express your desire to see him champion a more effective way to boost hurricane research than with his proposed $50 million hurricane research center. Putting the $50 million into the National Hurricane Research Initiative (HFIP) effort would be a better use of the funds. To his credit, Rep. Grayson is a co-sponsor of the National Hurricane Research Initiative of 2009 (H.R. 327), a bill introduced into the House of Representatives on January 8, 2009. This bill is a lesser ($150 million per year) version of the $300 million per year National Hurricane Research Initiative proposed in 2007 by the President's National Science Board.

Good links for HFIP information are at:

http://www.nrc.noaa.gov/HFIPDraftPlan.html
http://www.dtcenter.org/plots/hrh_test/workshop20 09/presentations/1_Gall_HRH%20HFIP%20presentation. pdf

Some summaries of recent HFIP activities in the last year are at:

http://www.dtcenter.org/plots/hrh_test/index.php
http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/research/tropical _cyclones/hfip/workshop_2009/

My next post will be Friday, when I'll have the first half of July hurricane outlook.

Jeff Masters

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Good Morning.
There is only one thing to say this day..
SAL rules.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


You have a better spot to highlight?
Its the only game in town right now.

If you want to follow thunderstorms and rainfall.
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Well, off to work; everyone have a great day and a Happy Safe 4th of July....WW
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Thanks; I normally hit Donna's on the corner of 441 and Broward Blvd when I am down there..
Never made it to Donna's.
I was on a job down there for almost three years. Too many places, too little time. Rosey Baby was my fav hangout. Good people,music and good Cajun food.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Your obviously not married... if I had any space... trust me.. she would use it to hang her spare outfits.


70*F in Macon, Ga this morning headed to 97*F.
Orca, my area is the 3 car garage, it holds my Escape, her Camry, my Harley, and my lawn tractor, what space is left I filled up with a work bench, tool cases, and various lawn equipment, I keep them dirty and dusty, and allow lots of spiders to build webs all over the place. The little guys take care of all the insects that somehow manage to get into the garage, but not only that, they keep her out of my garage! :)
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Quoting theshepherd:
I can't get any decent Oxtails up here:)


There's a decent Jamaican joint on University in Plantation near Rosie Baby. Sure to have what you crave there ;>)


Thanks; I normally hit Donna's on the corner of 441 and Broward Blvd when I am down there..
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Good morning all 8-)
Member Since: September 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
I can't get any decent Oxtails up here:)


There's a decent Jamaican joint on University in Plantation near Rosie Baby. Sure to have what you crave there ;>)
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Big weekend coming Folks.
Stop by my blog, check the rules, grab the kids and go. If ya don't have a kid in the house, consider borrowing a neighbor's.
It's for a good cause. Woo Hoo !!!
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723. Weather456 7:07 AM EDT on July 02, 2009
Good Morning;
Looking At African Dust


Good Morning Bro.....Nice analysis on the rotation with the wave interacting with the SAL.....The Wife and kids are down in South Florida visiting the Family and coming back on Saturday to Tallahassee..Told them to bring me some Cuban and Carribean food; I can't get any decent Oxtails up here:)
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Good Morning;

Looking At African Dust
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT THU JUL 2 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.


Good Morning.......Sheer is dropping a bit around Florida and Northern Gulf (but nothing on the short-term horizon out there) and remains hostile elsewhere. Don't see anything happening with the ULL south of Cuba making a beeline towards the Yucatan and very dry and stable air between the Antilles and Africa. Most interesting thing out there as noted by NHC is the wave emerging off of Africa, embedded in the ITCZ, which shows some low level rotation but which will probably dissipate on down the road. Basically, Zilch for now.
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Hail stones like eggs could be seen yesterday in Vitoria and a supercell storm was chased over La Rioja, both places in the northern Iberian Peninsula. If you want to see some photographs, please visit our website: http://www.cazatormentas.net/
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Quoting gator23:


Well then No,it doesn't matter that directly funding scientific research by the Federal government is unconstitutional. Anyways you used the term implies which a synonym for assumes. A quick google search revealed that the supreme court has upheld public funding for science as constitutional several times.


What search terms are you using because I can't find anything regarding the Supreme Court's opinion of federal funding in regards to that clause? Still, the Supreme Court isn't always right, and decisions are constantly revised and reversed as additional points are made regarding a particular topic.

Nonetheless, I disagree with your point about "implying" meaning the same as "assuming". If you give someone a task without stating how, then you leave it up to the person. If you give someone a task and then tell them how to do it, then you are excluding all other methods of performing the task.

I did find a great argument against public funding of scientific research. It's a little long, but a good read.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa022.html
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Orca: I at least hope that she looks good in those outifits.
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*****VOTE*****

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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
That's funny. If you can't find an area, there is always space.


Your obviously not married... if I had any space... trust me.. she would use it to hang her spare outfits.
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9 out of 10 Americans think the gov spends too much money. How many actually vote? Basicaly half would rather complain than do anything.

Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections • V.A.P. = Voting Age Population
(from 1972 includes citizens 18 years of age)
• REG = Registered to Vote
1824 - 2004

Year Total V.A.P. Total REG* % REG of V.A.P * Turnout % TO of V.A.P.
1824 26.9%
1828 57.6%
1832 55.4%
1836 57.8%
1840 80.2%
1844 78.9%
1848 72.7%
1852 69.6%
1856 78.9%
1860 81.2%
1864 73.8%
1868 78.1%
1872 71.3%
1876 81.8%
1880 79.4%
1884 77.5%
1888 79.3%
1892 74.7%
1896 79.3%
1900 73.2%
1904 65.2%
1908 65.4%
1912 58.8%
1916 61.6%
1920 49.2%
1924 48.9%
1928 56.9%
1932 56.9%
1936 61.0%
1940 62.5%
1944 55.9%
1948 53.0%
1952 63.3%
1956 60.6%
1960 109,672,000 63,854,789 * 58.22% 68,838,204 62.77%
1964 114,090,000 73,715,818 * 64.61% 70,644,592 61.92%
1968 120,328,186 81,658,180 * 67.86% 73,211,875 60.84%
1972 140,776,000 97,283,541 * 69.11% 77,718,554 55.21%
1976 152,309,190 105,024,916 * 68.96% 81,555,789 53.55%
1980 164,597,000 113,036,958 * 68.67% 86,515,221 52.56%
1984 174,468,000 124,184,647 * 71.18% 92,652,680 53.11%
1988 182,630,000 126,381,202 * 69.20% 91,594,693 50.15%
1992 189,044,500 133,821,178 * 70.79% 104,405,155 55.23%
1996 196,511,000 146,211,960 * 74.40% 96,456,345 49.08%
2000 205,815,000 156,421,311 * 76.00% 105,586,274 51.30%
2004 221,256,931 174,800,000 * 79.00% 122,295,345 55.27%
2008 231,229,580 TBD TBD 125-137 million TBD
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That's funny. If you can't find an area, there is always space.
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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
709 Orca.
You have a better spot to highlight?
Its the only game in town right now.


I didn't mean your areas. You have areas?



I'm not allowed to have my own area.. I'm married :(
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709 Orca.
You have a better spot to highlight?
Its the only game in town right now.


I didn't mean your areas. You have areas?

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Quoting Orcasystems:
I have no idea why you guys are still talking about the $50M. Its very simple... one of your politicians held the rest of them hostage on a vote, until the rest of the country paid him off so he could get re-elected. Down there you call in Pork Barrel Funding.... up here we call it misuse of public funds.


It hasnt happened yet.
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I have no idea why you guys are still talking about the $50M. Its very simple... one of your politicians held the rest of them hostage on a vote, until the rest of the country paid him off so he could get re-elected. Down there you call in Pork Barrel Funding.... up here we call it misuse of public funds.

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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
AOI = Area On Ignore
LOL


You have a better spot to highlight?
Its the only game in town right now.

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http://www.einsteinalive.com/articles/problem-solve-like-einstein.htm

A hurricane research facility in Orlando? I like it! (No strings)
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Quoting GordoNBrooke:
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall have the power . . . "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

The fact that the Founding Fathers specifically stated how Congress shall support the progress of science implies the exclusion of other means of supporting, including direct funding.

The reason they did this is because if a government wishes to gain power over the people, it can do so by directly funding scientists and scientific research that will lead to conclusions which will help the government convince the people that they need to give more power to government to "protect" them.

Additionally, since the government has a virtually unlimited ability to fund scientific research and exclude scientists who don't agree with the current regime's opinions from getting the money, scientists will be prone to skewing their results to match the results desired by the people in power. Scientists funded by private research are accused of doing this all the time; yet publically-funded researchers are treated as immune.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against funding scientists or scientific research. However, the Founding Fathers knew what they were talking about, and it is much safer to privately fund scientific research than to leave it to a government constantly seeking to use the research to expand its inherent power.



Well then No,it doesn't matter that directly funding scientific research by the Federal government is unconstitutional. Anyways you used the term implies which a synonym for assumes. A quick google search revealed that the supreme court has upheld public funding for science as constitutional several times.
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AOI = Area On Ignore
LOL
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Quoting GordoNBrooke:
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall have the power . . . "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

The fact that the Founding Fathers specifically stated how Congress shall support the progress of science implies the exclusion of other means of supporting, including direct funding.

The reason they did this is because if a government wishes to gain power over the people, it can do so by directly funding scientists and scientific research that will lead to conclusions which will help the government convince the people that they need to give more power to government to "protect" them.

Additionally, since the government has a virtually unlimited ability to fund scientific research and exclude scientists who don't agree with the current regime's opinions from getting the money, scientists will be prone to skewing their results to match the results desired by the people in power. Scientists funded by private research are accused of doing this all the time; yet publically-funded researchers are treated as immune.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against funding scientists or scientific research. However, the Founding Fathers knew what they were talking about, and it is much safer to privately fund scientific research than to leave it to a government constantly seeking to use the research to expand its inherent power.



Amen! We already have Govt. funded scientific research through military channels alone. Not to mention the quasi-govt. orgs. No strings attatched funding would be great, if that was possible
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Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, which now also includes Weather456, daily updates


AOI

AOI
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702. Gordonbrook

Would you let someone patent public safety?
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Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall have the power . . . "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

The fact that the Founding Fathers specifically stated how Congress shall support the progress of science implies the exclusion of other means of supporting, including direct funding.

The reason they did this is because if a government wishes to gain power over the people, it can do so by directly funding scientists and scientific research that will lead to conclusions which will help the government convince the people that they need to give more power to government to "protect" them.

Additionally, since the government has a virtually unlimited ability to fund scientific research and exclude scientists who don't agree with the current regime's opinions from getting the money, scientists will be prone to skewing their results to match the results desired by the people in power. Scientists funded by private research are accused of doing this all the time; yet publically-funded researchers are treated as immune.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against funding scientists or scientific research. However, the Founding Fathers knew what they were talking about, and it is much safer to privately fund scientific research than to leave it to a government constantly seeking to use the research to expand its inherent power.

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Quoting sporteguy03:
Klystron 9 looks good though


1.25 millon watts - yes, I use it to make coffee in the mornings, 100 miles away. I just set the cup on a WEST facing windowsill...
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Quoting StormFreakyisher:
WOW this rain is missing me entirely in Boca Raton.It was moving south and somehow all the storms are in Broward and we didn't get a drop here as it came from north to south.
It's because the rain isn't moving north to south. Each individual cell is moving from SSW to NNE...
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3634
good night press

later all iam out to catch some zzzzz
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.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....
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Evening all! Models show nothing at all for the next 7-10 days. That can change but, enjoy the 4th of July weekend!
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Quoting presslord:
I'm goin' to bed...somebody tell me a bedtime story...


Ask Adam Sandler, but don't ask for too much
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Quoting GordoNBrooke:
Does it even matter that directly funding scientific research by the Federal government is unconstitutional?


How so?
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Does it even matter that directly funding scientific research by the Federal government is unconstitutional?
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Quoting hurricane2009:


I think you misread it, the other option was being away from your family during a hurricane

To me that is much worse

It happened to me twice. Katrina and Wilma. It was brutal. No communication for a while.
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WOW this rain is missing me entirely in Boca Raton.It was moving south and somehow all the storms are in Broward and we didn't get a drop here as it came from north to south.
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I'm goin' to bed...somebody tell me a bedtime story...
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Quoting stormpetrol:
That wave that just came off Africa last night/this morning has one potent circulation, I think this one bears watching, JMO.


But look at the SAL:

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That wave that just came off Africa last night/this morning has one potent circulation, I think this one bears watching, JMO.
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The 18Z WRF model is quite interesting. IT shows a tropical wave entering the caribbean over the next couple days. The wave has pronounced inverted troughing, and some shower activity. Nevertheless, wind shear will be high, which I think, will inhibit coalescence.

Link
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Quoting CaneWarning:


I can't remember, but I think I predicted a pretty active season.


Click my handle and see what you picked. Its that easy and as refereced, there is only 16.91% of the season gone. LoL too many stats for me for one day :) ---- out!
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
It looks like at NRL they are bored!

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14915
Quoting Ossqss:


Remember, the first date of a named storm was only the tie-breaker. I am sure you didi't win at Halo everytime, I know I did not :)

Be well all, L8R


I can't remember, but I think I predicted a pretty active season.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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