Report Warns of Weather Satellites’ ‘Rapid Decline’ - USATODAY.com
Predicting the weather is tricky enough. Now a new government-sponsored report warns that the USA’s ability to track tornadoes, forecast hurricanes and study climate change is about to diminish.
The number and capability of weather satellites circling the planet “is beginning a rapid decline” and tight budgets have significantly delayed or eliminated missions to replace them, says a National Research Council analysis out Wednesday.
The number of in-orbit and planned Earth observation missions by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projected to drop “precipitously” from 23 this year to only six by 2020, the report found.
That means the number of instruments monitoring Earth’s activity is expected to decline from a peak of about 110 last year to fewer than 30 by the end of the decade.