NASA officials laid out plans Wednesday to boost spending on climate research substantially over the next five years, to make up for cutbacks during the Bush administration, Marc Kaufman reports in The Washington Post.
Edward Weiler, the agency’s associate administrator for science, said that NASA’s Earth Science budget will get a $2.4 billion, or 62 percent, increase through 2015. By that point, the program will have launched as many as 10 new missions, collecting information about ocean temperatures, ice coverage, ozone depletion and the central question of how much carbon dioxide is being released through human activities.
The budget increase reflects both a campaign promise by President Obama to focus far more on the threat of climate change and what NASA officials called a “philosophical shift” on the issue. From now on, they said, the agency will place a higher priority on collecting a broad range of interrelated climate data and to make sure it is done in a long-term, continuous way.
“The key to Earth system science is to make multiple measurements more or less simultaneously of many different quantities — that’s the only way we can understand how the various processes that define Earth system interact,” said Michael Freilich, Earth Science Division director.