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Satellites just part of weather service’s forecasting assets

Satellites just part of forecasting assets

As a retired National Weather Service meteorologist, I appreciate your support of the agency and its parent, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [“Budget cuts will hurt forecasting,” Editorial, March 15]. But I have to take issue with some of the statements.

First, nor’easter “Stella”? That’s what the Weather Channel called it, not the National Weather Service.

Storm names should be restricted to tropical storms and hurricanes because they are nature’s severest and most unique weather events. The names focus the public’s attention on their widespread impact and relentless destruction over a multi-day period.

Second, although weather satellites are important, they do not provide the “vast majority” of information for weather forecasting. Global surface weather observations from land stations, offshore buoys, and ships at sea, and data from aircraft, balloon-borne vertical soundings, Doppler radars, and cooperative weather observers are substantial and critical data elements.

Finally, the satellite launched as part of the next generation of geostationary orbiting satellites will provide much more than lightning data. It will furnish visual and infrared imagery of far greater resolution on a more frequent schedule — a major improvement over current satellite observing capabilities.

Paul Jacobs, Huntington

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