ACS joins Earth system science community to support weather and climate science funding

October 28, 2021

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
Chair
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson
Chair
House Committee on Science, Space
and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Chair Cantwell and Chair Johnson:

We write today as organizations representing the Earth system science community to
support the proposed weather and climate science funding included in the Build Back
Better reconciliation package. As the United States grapples with unprecedented natural
disasters, the weather and climate science funding included in the package is critical to the
United States economic, national security and public health interests.

In 2021, there have already been 18 weather or climate events with losses exceeding $1
billion in the United States. Improving weather forecasting plays a critical role in mitigating
the damage from these events by helping first responders and government decision
makers at all levels by helping them prepare for the worst. The real-world practical
applications of Earth system science, the ability to accurately forecast these events, has the
potential to save billions of dollars every year and keep Americans safe.

Scientists across the nation represented by our organizations are conducting critical
research into weather forecasting and climate science in coordination and under the
direction of the federal government and agencies. It is important that this work not only
continue but accelerate to meet our growing demand for understanding of Earth’s systems,
and how humans interact with the world in which we live.

Weather and climate science help us all understand and prepare for weather conditions that
impact every region in the United States. From rainfall predictions guiding agriculture
decisions in the American heartland to understanding the threat of wildfire in the west,
earth system science and practical applications in weather forecasting are incredibly
important tools that help us keep pace with a world that continues to change around us.

Unfortunately, the United States forecasting enterprise has started to lag behind over the
past several years, falling behind European, British and Canadian forecasting models. As a
response to this decline in forecasting capability, Congress passed the Weather Research
and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. The authorizations included in the 2017 weatherbill will help the American forecasting enterprise return to prominence but can only do so if
properly funded by Congress. It is critical that Congress follow through on its funding
commitments and right now it has the opportunity ahead of itself to do so.

We strongly support the House proposed funding levels for Weather Research and
Forecasting Innovation Act programs as part of the Build Back Better package and
encourage swift passage of the reconciliation package without delay.

Sincerely,

American Geophysical Union
American Chemical Society
American Meteorological Society
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Ecological Society of America

Geological Society of America
National Weather Service Employees Organization
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute