GOP Rep forces Air Force to DESTROY a new weather satellite. Because climate change.
The good news: NASA and the US Air Force have amazing abilities to track hurricanes and other weather disasters, thanks to some of the most sophisticated technology ever devised. The bad news: It’s also useful for evaluating the science of climate change. Which is why some in the GOP have declared war on it. In the most egregious case, a GOP Congressman forced the Air Force to destroy a brand-new satellite, ready for launch, just because some of its work would have reinforced climate science.
By Jeremy Bloom
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) would literally rather have his constituents (and everyone else in the country) face greater risks from hurricanes and tornadoes than have them learn that climate change was real.
The US Air Force (USAF) has maintained a series of defense weather satellites with microwave imaging technology since the 1960’s. This microwave imaging has multiple uses for seeing water and ice that would otherwise be hidden under canopies of clouds. Images, such as the one above of hurricane Irma taken from the F-18 satellite show the structure of the core of hurricanes and tropical storms that is hidden in the visible spectrum by clouds. These images are very useful to hurricane forecasters because they reveal developing eyes and other structures that may help them forecast the intensity of storms.
The bad news: Most of those satellites are already nearing the end of their useful life.
The good news: Anticipating this, the Air Force had a replacement built at the same time as the originals, which was a much cheaper option than reinventing the process years later.
But those Air Force planners hadn’t anticipated Mike Rogers.
In order to ensure that our military couldn’t do evil things like research climate science and Arctic sea ice, Rogers – who chairs the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, took away the money for launching the new satellite.
It was already scheduled to go up. But… no go.
Then he took away the money to store it. The Air Force literally had to destroy a $518 million satellite to satisfy Mike Rogers lust for ignorance. “I presume it’s going to be made into razor blades,” he gloated.
“It’s a real loss to have had the F20 dismantled, but Congress would not give the Air Force the funds to launch that sensor even though the instrument had already been built,” Julienne Stroeve, a remote sensing expert at NSIDC, said.
More on Hurricane Irma:
- Hurricane Irma: Florida Power and Light shuttering 2 nuclear reactors to ride out the storm
- Hurricane Irma: Bad planning and climate change denial make Florida even more vulnerable
- Hurricane Irma brings involuntary urban renewal to Florida