Bill Proenza, the new director of the National Hurricane Center, has wasted no time publicizing his positions on internal weather service and NOAA affairs. Coming on the heels of his widely publicized criticism of a NOAA multi-million dollar public relations campaign coinciding with widespread science and operation budget cuts, Proenza was told to keep his mouth shut or risk being fired.
Proenza's most recent comments have been warning of the potential failure of the QuikSCAT satellite. QuikSCAT profiles mission-critical information regarding winds over the oceans where few observations are available. It is commonly accepted that if QuikSCAT were to fail, hurricane track forecast errors would increase by roughly 15%. Proenza's latest trouble came for truthfully pointing out that QuikScat is many years past its design lifetime and is already operating on its backup transmitter which could fail at any time. Fortunately for the public but unfortunately for Proenza, the media started to notice.
After trying to muzzle Proenza, NOAA has issued its latest press release telling everyone that its satellites are ready for the hurricane season! However, nowhere in the release does it mention that QuikSCAT is well passed its expected lifetime and already operating on backup systems.
Remember, citizens: Ignorance is strength!