United States Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science & Transportation
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Statement of Daniel K. Inouye
Hearing: U.S. Weather and Environmental Satellites: Ready for the 21st Century?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Observations from our weather and environmental satellites are critically important for the Nation’s weather forecasting and research, as well as climate change science.  I come from a state that is surrounded by the ocean, and my constituents rely on these eyes in the sky to provide accurate and timely information.
Both the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu and the National Hurricane Center in Miami rely on satellite data to improve storm watches and warnings.  Hawaii is at risk for hurricanes, and while storm frequency seems to be reduced when compared to the Atlantic, it only takes one major storm to wreak havoc on an island.
These two centers track these devastating storms from start to finish and issue warnings for all our coastal communities that are at risk from landfall.
Weather and environmental satellite observations also contribute to our increased understanding of the impacts of climate change – another topic of critical importance to the nation. 
In Hawaii, satellite-derived measurements of sea surface temperature, for example, can be used to predict the health of coral reefs – particularly coral bleaching events. 
The scientific community is concerned that the United States is losing key satellite observing capabilities, particularly for climate research and accurate weather forecasts.  A number of satellite programs have experienced difficulties, including cost overruns and schedule delays. 
We need to be proactive in addressing these problems and employing the technologies necessary to ensure accuracy in forecasting and research.  The citizens of Hawaii and other coastal states deserve no less.

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