April 9, 2014 | Last week the House passed by voice vote HR 2413, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, which was introduced by Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) last summer and which the House Science Committee approved by bipartisan voice vote last fall. UCAR, along with the Weather Coalition and the National Academy of Sciences, worked with House Science, Space and Technology Committee staff to craft a bill that better reflected the interests of the broad weather enterprise. The legislation includes the extramural community at the table for decision making and consultation in nearly every relevant section, and calls on NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) to make available extramural funds for collaboration with the research community.
Chairman of the House Science Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX) stated, “Severe weather routinely affects large portions of the United States. This past year has been no different. Our leadership has slipped in severe weather forecasting. European weather models routinely predict America’s weather better than we can. We need to make up for lost ground. The enhanced prediction of major storms is of great importance to protecting the public from injury and loss of property.”
The Senate is expected to offer a comparable bill, and UCAR and its partners will closely monitor and provide input as needed.
For more detail on the bill, see this December 12, 2013 post to Washington Update.