Busalacchi discusses aging US weather satellites on FOX News

ESSIC Director and ConE Chair, Professor Antonio Busalacchi, was interviewed in a recent televised Fox news segment, regarding aging U.S weather satellites.

In the report, FOX stated that 14 of the 22 U.S. satellites currently used to monitor weather, have already reached their designed expiration dates.

Aging satellites could be particularly problematic in the near-term, given NOAA’s recent prediction of an active hurricane season. Estimates include 20 tropical weather systems this year, with perhaps as many as six becoming major hurricanes.

Failing satellites could result in an inability to accurately predict and monitor storms, both in terms of current and future hurricane seasons.

Busalacchi suggested that in a worst case failure scenario, we could see technologies revert a decade, with respect to our current weather prediction and monitoring capabilities. Busalacchi furthered that a reduction in these capabilities could have dire consequences, such as loss of life, increased property damage, and severe economic impacts.

One of two satellites NOAA uses to track East Coast weather, the GOES-13, has malfunctioned twice this year. NOAA has announced contingency plans in the way of backup satellite however, should either GOES-13 or its western seaboard counterpart encounter further difficulties.

Funding issues remain a major concern among forecasters, who fear that cuts to science and research budgets could impact the upgrade and replacement of declining weather and climate instruments.

Busalacchi has previously provided testimony before a United States Senate Committee on issues involving the state of U.S. weather and environmental satellites.