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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson December 8, 2009

Stimulus funding advances climate change research, monitoring

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "lean forward to deploy a global climate change research and monitoring system that will work for decades to come. The recommendations in the recent National Research Council decadal survey on Earth observations from space will guide his priorities in this regard."
"Lean forward to deploy" is Washington-speak for supporting something by providing money. The administration did this when it signed the economic stimulus package in February.
The bill included funding for Earth observation and climate science programs -- specifically, $170 million for construction and repair of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "facilities, ships and equipment, to improve weather forecasting and to support satellite development," with a focus on addressing "critical gaps in climate modeling and establish(ing) climate data records for continuing research into the cause, effects and ways to mitigate climate change." In addition, a share of $400 million for NASA being spent in the stimulus bill under the heading "science" would go toward Earth observation satellites.
Separately, in his fiscal year 2010 budget request for NASA, Obama sought increases for the agency's Earth science program to support climate change research and monitoring. The increases would amount to $25 million in 2010, $95 million in 2011 and $50 million each following year through 2014. The projects would benefit a variety of missions, including efforts to study aerosols, ocean salinity, soil moisture and ice. Congress has not yet finalized the appropriations bill that would fund these increases, however.
It will take years to fully deploy some of the systems being funded by the bill, but the administration has indeed "lean(ed) forward to deploy" them. We rate this a Promise Kept.

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