WASHINGTON (AP) — Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez announced a restructuring of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) will be undertaken by NOAA Chief Administrative Officer William F. Broglie, who will be responsible for said restructuring, which includes reallocating fund from the National Weather Service (NWS) to the National Park Service. The NWS will – as of 1 May 2007 – be under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Park Service, and will focus on forecasting exclusively for Visitor’s Centers at all United States National Parks. Mary Bomar, Director of the National Park Service, has promised that the transition will be undertaken with the minimum disruption possible, and the public should not even notice the change.
With the transition, responsibilities for meteorological forecasts will be the purview of local media. Grants will be made available from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) to fund media outlets so they may be able to acquire materiel and personnel needed to make weather predictions.
Michael Stromsen, broadcast meteorologist for KRWM FM in Rawlings, Colorado is pleased with the change. “For many years we have been able to know what has been going on locally with much more confidence than the National Weather Service, so why shouldn’t we be in charge of local weather forecasts. The local weather people can easily tell at least 8 to 14 days out whether a local event should take place, because we are familiar with the area. No more ‘long-range forecasts’ that have to be changed all the time because they are not accurate.”
Richard A. Anthes, President of the American Meteorological Society, believes this will spur not only advances in technological research, but also in growth and educational opportunities. “The National Weather Service has to work under the constraints of a budget given them by Congress, whereas local media outlets are more readily able to spend the funds needed for research, training, and equipment by utilizing money from their parent corporations. These corporations are not hamstrung by the necessities of laws and regulations.”
Full reorganization and transfer of NWS responsibilities will be completed by February 2008.