House committees discuss FY 2019 NOAA budget request

Icebergs in Greeland

Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), testified at two House committee hearings about NOAA’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request. In the testimony, he stated that NOAA’s FY 2019 budget request of about $4.6 billion – a decrease of $1.3 billion or 23 percent below the FY 2018 omnibus enacted level – prioritizes investment in the core missions at NOAA. 

NOAA and NASA launch second advanced geostationary weather satellite


On March 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched the second in a new series of four highly advanced geostationary weather satellites. GOES-S was renamed GOES-17 on March 12 upon reaching its geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth, and will drift to its operational position at NOAA’s western geostationary location in late 2018. Working in tandem with the GOES-16 satellite currently operating at the eastern geostationary position since December 2017, the GOES-17 satellite will provide faster, more accurate, and more detailed data for detecting and tracking of tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, fire hot spots, and other natural hazards.

Revisit the Concepts of Weather

Linking to Weather

Explain to the students that weather describes their surroundings for a short time. Their journals will serve as an excellent record of weather conditions for a given interval of time. Climate, on the other hand, describes a more established pattern of weather conditions. Climate is the long-term average of weather. It is observed over many years and many seasons. The two most important factors in describing the climate of an area are temperature and precipitation.

How can you tell the speed of the wind?

Teaching and Learning Focus

In this investigation, your students will begin to develop their concept of how the interaction of moving air (wind) and water can affect heat transfer:

  • Water will evaporate more quickly when air is moving rapidly over its surface.
  • When water evaporates from a surface (such as your hand), heat is also removed from that surface.

Materials Needed

For each student pair:

Revisit the Concept of Clouds

Linking to Weather

After helping your students to understand the nature and composition of clouds, you can make a smooth transition to a discussion of precipitation. A thorough understanding of the physical conditions favoring various forms of precipitation is probably beyond the scope of the elementary science curriculum, but what they investigate here will provide some building blocks for this to happen at a later stage.

Here are some questions for your students to consider (with explanations in italics):

How can clouds form?

Teaching and Learning Focus

In this investigation, your students will begin to develop their concept of clouds based upon three basic observations:

  • Warm air can contain more water vapor than cold air.
  • When air loses heat, some of the water in the air turns to liquid.
  • As air loses heat, droplets of water collect and become visible on solid surfaces.

Materials Needed

For each student group:


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