Fake News - the government shutdown

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Cliff Mass runs some numbers and looks at the government shutdown and weather forecasting:

Is the U.S. Government Shutdown Hurting Weather Model Accuracy?
My phone has been ringing from media asking whether the partial government shutdown is degrading the skill of the National Weather Service model, the GFS.

What is driving this interest? First, a number of media outlets, including the well-known Washington Post Capital Weather Gang, have made the claim of worsening U.S. forecasts (see examples below).

20190116-cm01.png

20190116-cm02.png

These stories describe a situation in which important observations, the input data streams for numerical weather prediction, are not being used or are degraded because of changes in coding of data formats. As a result, the initialization (starting point) of U.S. global forecasts are degraded, lessening the skill of the predictions.

Our National Weather Service:

One of the first things I did was to check with some very well connected colleagues in NOAA and they confirmed these stories are nonsense. Yes, many NOAA/NWS employees are not working, but since the models are considering essential for national security some staff are working--monitoring the global forecast system doing whatever it takes to keep it working smoothly. Those NOAA/NWS staff are a dedicated lot!

And Cliff's conclusion:

I have looked at many other fields and the answer is the same: there is NO EVIDENCE that the initialization of the U.S. global model has been degraded as a result of the partial government shutdown.

In contrast, the predictions of the University of Washington regional prediction systems HAVE been hurt, because one of the important data streams we get from NOAA--the NOAA/NWS RAP model grids--has been cut off during the government closure. The shutdown is a disaster for weather prediction and weather research, but degradation of the U.S. global forecasts is really not an issue.

20190116-cm03.png

Sure, some localized issues but the overall big picture? Just fine. That old FAKE NEWS again...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on January 16, 2019 1:25 PM.

Back home now was the previous entry in this blog.

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