It’s Earth Science Week and Congress is still debating the budget for this fiscal year. That means that science funding is still on the line. The American Geophysical Union is running a campaign encouraging members to speak up for NASA’s Earth Science division which faced steep cuts in the White House budget proposal. Follow the link here to send a letter to your senators and representative. (You don’t have to be an AGU member to take part.) If you need some inspiration, here’s the letter I wrote to my representatives.
Dear Senators Portman and Brown and Representative Ryan,
In honor of Earth Science Week (8-14 October 2017), I’m writing to urge you to provide robust support for NASA’s Earth Science Division, which is invaluable to our nation and our local community.
As recent hurricanes and wildfires have vividly demonstrated, millions of Americans depend on NASA’s eyes in the sky to keep them informed and safe. Our economy also benefits massively from being able to prepare in advance for weather disruptions.
Closer to home, NASA satellites are providing important data on the harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and our inland lakes. These satellite images are giving us important clues as to how lake conditions, river contributions, and weather interact to produce these toxic blooms.
As a hydrology professor at Kent State University, I use NASA products in my research and teaching every week. The new soil moisture active passive (SMAP) mission will be hugely valuable for understanding how changes in land use and climate conditions influence flooding and drought. The GRACE mission, which recently came to an end, was an important tool for understanding large scale groundwater declines and ice sheet changes. As there is now a gap until a replacement satellite can be launched, we are losing critical data on our changing planet.
It’s important to keep continuous and robust funding for NASA’s Earth Science division in order to keep NASA missions on track, so that we don’t fly blind in the face of severe weather, algae blooms, droughts, and all of dynamics of our home planet.
Thank you for your leadership and continued support of science.