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Panel: NOAA bowed to political pressure in Dorian dispute
Published in 17-6-2020
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration leaders violated the agency’s scientific integrity when they chastised a local weather office that had contradicted President Trump’s inaccurate comments about Hurricane Dorian, an outside panel found.

NOAA’s acting chief, Neil Jacobs, and its then-communications director, Julie Kay Roberts, twice breached the agency’s rules designed to protect scientists and their work from political interference, the National Academy of Public Administration concluded. Jacobs and Roberts released a statement that “did not follow NOAA’s normal process and appear to be the result of strong external pressure,” the group wrote in the 144-page report released late Monday.

NOAA’s science department had asked the public administration group to look into several complaints, including from its chief scientist and past administrator, after Hurricane Dorian threatened the East Coast in September.

As the storm approached the U.S., Trump tweeted that Alabama, along with the Carolinas and Georgia “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” even though the National Hurricane Center had pretty much said Dorian would not hit Alabama. He later defended his statements with a crude Sharpie-drawn addition to a forecast map.

Twenty minutes after Trump's tweet, meteorologists in the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office tweeted “Alabama will NOT see any impacts" from the storm.

After a phone call to Jacobs from his boss, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and other conversations with Commerce Department political appointees, NOAA put out the statement chastising the Birmingham weather office tweet. The statement said the Alabama office “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”



Reference: www.chron.com