Monday, February 08, 2010

New Climate Agency


Not sure how this will play here and here.

From the Washington Post:

NOAA reorganization would provide more info on global warming

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 8, 2010; 12:11 PM

The Obama administration proposed a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Service on Monday, reorganizing the agency so it can provide Americans with predictions on how global warming will affect everything from drought to sea levels.

The initiative, modeled loosely on the 140-year-old National Weather Service, will provide forecasts to farmers, regional water managers and business operators affected by changing climate conditions. But it comes at a time when climate skeptics have become increasingly effective in attacking the credibility of global warming forecasts.

NOAA, along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ranks as one of the federal government's key agencies for monitoring the climate and conducting climate research.

"We currently respond to millions of annual requests for climate information, and we expect those requests to grow exponentially," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco in an interview, adding that in light of recent scientific advances, "the models will continue to improve, and we will be able to provide more and more information."

The move does not come with a designated boost in funding, but it will bring NOAA's climate research arm together with its more consumer-oriented services so they can operate, in Lubchenco's words, "cheek by jowl."

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in an interview the service will be able to provide advice on everything from where ski operators might want to refocus their activities in light of changing snowfall patterns to what farm crops will need increased irrigation. In the same way businesses such as the Weather Channel and have taken advantage of the National Weather Service's predictions, Locke said, "You'll see much of the private sector will want to build on this one-stop shop of climate services."

The agency launched a new web portal Monday at to provide a single entry point for access to NOAA's climate information, data, products and services.

In order to formally launch the reorganization, Locke said, the House and Senate appropriations committees with jurisdiction over NOAA will have to concur with the move, which is planned for Oct. 1. "Ultimately we need to have approval from Congress, but not through legislation," he said.

Even without the reorganization, NOAA has been providing more detailed climate-related forecasts recently. The National Integrated Drought Information System, which became law in December 2006, provides drought forecasts and impacts for the West and Southwest for at least a season and up to a year. Climate models suggest both these regions will experience increasing dryness over the next 20 to 40 years, and Lubchenco said the agency will expand this system to cover the Southeast as well.

It remains unclear whether the new Climate Service will be able to answer all the questions that Americans have about global warming. Researchers are still seeking for how to best make regional climate projections, pinpoint future changes in precipitation, what cooling effects aerosols have and how best to interpret tree-ring temperature data over the past several hundred years.

Recently flaws have surfaced in some of the 2007 projections of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including one that suggested Himalayan glaciers would all melt by 2035. This has led some critics to question the value of climate computer models and predictions.

Thomas R. Karl, who directs NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., will serve as transitional director of the NOAA Climate Service.

Several key groups, including the insurance industry, ocean advocates and public health officials welcomed the initiative.

Frank W. Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, said the new service "will provide essential information to the public and private sectors" to cope with global warming..

"The insurance industry is heavily dependent on public data and information related to climate, and the creation of a NOAA Climate Service with new data services will greatly enhance the industry's analysis of climate and extreme event weather risk," Nutter said..

Vikki Spruill, president of the Ocean Conservancy, said the agency's "scientific expertise and focus on our ocean and atmosphere gives it a unique ability to gather, analyze and disseminate information about the threat of climate change."

The new Climate Service might not be able to answer all the questions that Americans have about global warming. Researchers are still searching for the best ways to make regional climate projections, pinpoint future changes in precipitation, determine what cooling effects aerosols have and how best to interpret tree-ring temperature data over the past several hundred years.

Recently flaws have surfaced in some of the 2007 projections of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including one that suggested Himalayan glaciers would all melt by 2035. This has led some critics to question the value of climate computer models and predictions.

Paul Reiter, who heads the insects and infectious disease unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said researchers need to guard against making sweeping projections given the climate system's complexity.

"People feel they can feed in a few variables and think they can explain nature," Reiter said. "Nature is very complicated."

But we have our models. "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." -- George Orwell



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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)