So, I was scouring the web this morning in search of a dish-able (ok, that’s not a word in Webster’s Dictionary but since this is The Daily Dish, I’m going to use it) topic, one that would insight commentary. I flipped over to my local ABC station’s site (http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd) and in the National News section there was this story that caught my eye. It’s a story that might catch the eye of anyone living within a hurricane-prone area.
The AP reports that an aging satellite, QuikScat, that accurately predicts both the intensity and path of hurricanes, is quickly losing its juice. In other words, it’s failing. Adding insult to injury, plans to launch a replacement satellite have been pushed back to 2016. Ummm…it’s currently 2007. So, if my math is correct, that’s another 9 years. That’s a problem. Or is it?
Personally, I find it hard to believe that one single satellite is the end-all for all accurate forecasting of such a major weather event as a hurricane. The article even goes on to mention other types of satellites and instruments (such as buoys and weather aircraft) that can help with the prediction of these storms but the problem is they aren’t considered to be as accurate.
So, what does this mean for you and me? All kinds of issues.
First off, are you familiar with the “cone” that weather forecasters outline for the projected path of an on-coming hurricane? Now, according to NOAA, if this satellite fails, the cone gets wider. How does that affect the citizens that live in the “cone” area? Well, it depends. It depends on all kinds of factors but probably the most significant one has to do with the protection of life. Usually, when an intense hurricane is projected to follow a certain path, emergency crews are mobilized, hospital patients need to be moved, citizens are told to evacuate, etc. Now, if the “cone” widens, then that means that MORE emergency crews will be mobilized, MORE hospitals will have to move their patients, and then of course MORE people will need to be evacuated…and that’s another problem. Where do you draw the evacuation line? Add to this the cost expenditures to keep everyone safe and secure, and the problems exacerbate.
In an age when technology is supposed to be the most advanced as it ever has, in an age where the US is releasing satellite upon satellite into space, you can’t tell me there isn’t enough technology available to off-set the failure of this particular satellite. Maybe the question should be, what satellites have we been launching into space? Are we “spreading the wealth”?
Then, there’s the issue of Global Warming and its impact on our environment, specifically the increase in number of named hurricanes each year AND the number of violent storms as well. Some skeptics believe that Global Warming isn’t as much of an issue as scientists claim. I’m no scientist but I beg to differ. It seems the more we let that issue go, the larger the impact on our weather each year. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out.
Look, all I know is that I am in a hurricane-prone state. I’d like to feel secure in knowing that the forecasters that I watch on a daily basis CAN accurately predict and report on potentially damaging weather in my area, at least as best as they humanly can with the use of technology.
There’s more to the article but I think I’ll let you read it for yourself. See the link below. In the meantime, please feel free to comment. I’m dying to know what YOU think!