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The horror!? ‘Government shutdown will interrupt critical climate change research’



Agencies conducting research on climate change will feel the effects of a shutdown. During the 17-day government shutdown in 2013, research on melting ice, rising seas, and global weather ground to a halt.

Much of climate field research requires extensive careful planning, and research sites like the polar ice caps are only accessible at certain times of the year. Stopping work in these areas proved especially disruptive for data collection: It created gaps in the record and added unexpected shutdown and restart costs.

During the 2013 shutdown, climate researchers in Antarctica funded through the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were forced to stop working and start packing. Researchers who didn’t work for the federal government but relied on data like satellite observations from federal agencies were affected too.

According to the Department of Commerce’s shutdown plan, “most research activities” at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and NOAA would stop except computer modeling for hurricanes and for flight planning.