While shuttered offices may mean reduced electricity consumption for a week or so, the impending government shutdown obviously won’t stop climate change. But it could put a halt to an awful lot of climate change research. That’s because a lot of that research is conducted by government scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey, to name a few.
Simply the threat of a shutdown was enough to cause the National Research Council to postpone the release of the fifth and final volume in its America’s Climate Choices series by a full month.
And ClimateWire’s Lauren Morello reports that a shutdown would put an early end to an expedition to monitor Arctic sea ice:
For the past three weeks, NASA researchers and crew have been surveying Arctic land and sea ice using specially equipped aircraft. The work is part of a larger project, “Operation IceBridge,” designed to fill a gap between NASA’s now-defunct ICESat satellite and its replacement, which isn’t scheduled to launch until 2016.
On the bright side: while almost half of NOAA’s employees were furloughed during the last government shutdown in 1995, then-head D. James Baker says weather forecasters were kept on as essential workers and most of the agency’s climate monitoring continued uninterrupted because it’s automated.
To all you government scientists out there: do you expect to go to work on Monday? Will your ocean or climate research will be disrupted?