Energy & Environment

Trump administration closes climate data webpage, citing shutdown

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The public can no longer access the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate data because of the partial government shutdown, now in its second month.

Visitors to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) website are redirected to a page that says, “Access is not available at this time due to a lapse in appropriation.”

“ and specific NOAA websites necessary to protect lives and property are operational and will be maintained during this partial closure of the U.S. Government,” the page reads.

The NCDC site provides archived meteorological data from ships that are at sea and moored, as well as drifting buoys. It also provides real-time access to weather model forecast data and access to multiple climate datasets. A key tenant of the center is public access.

Other NOAA sites are also being redirected to the same landing page — — during the shutdown.

“A number of the NOAA websites are not maintained during the lapse in appropriations and are redirected to the page you reference. I am unable to comment on the number of pages across the agency that are currently redirected,” a NOAA spokesperson told The Hill.

{mosads}The spokesperson did not comment on why the NCDC site was pulled down in its entirety instead of leaving up archived data. Weather data is still being collected and shared under NOAA’s National Weather Service, as that work is considered critical.

“The issue is under further review,” the spokesperson said.

A national global temperature report typically released mid-January by NOAA and NASA is also being delayed because of a lack of access to the data, The New York Times reported last week. The information is key to climate scientists who study temperature trends.

In the midst of the shutdown, President Trump last week renominated for the third time his controversial pick to head NOAA, Barry Lee Myers. Myers previously served as CEO of Accuweather, a company founded by his brother, that advocates for the privatization of weather modeling.

Since his first nomination by Trump in October 2017, Myers has met major pushback due to Accuweather’s heavy lobbying for private companies to be able to use and monetize the weather reporting gathered through NASA satellites and data gathered through NOAA.

Myers on Jan. 1 formally stepped down from his role at Accuweather and sold off all his holdings, signaling a commitment to the forthcoming renomination. Myers previously made a pledge to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and in his Senate testimony to fully divest himself of Accuweather.

Accuweather last week made headlines after it published an article calling into question the “limitations” of government weather modeling during the shutdown and touting itself as an alternative weather forecasting source.

Accuweather derives its core weather data from the National Weather Service.

The company later issued an apology and correction.

“We sincerely apologize to our colleagues at the @NWS for a story we ran earlier. It was not our intent to imply any disrespect,” the statement on Twitter read.

Tags Accuweather Climate change Donald Trump Global warming Meteorology National Climatic Data Center National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Person Career Quotation
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