The United States government could see a big bill due to too few satellites and climate change, according to a Scientific American article. The Government Accountability Office released its biennial report on risks to government programs, listing climate change and weather satellite gaps as two of several high-cost items.
Climate change is considered high-cost because it causes multiple problems such as frequent severe weather events and rising sea levels, which threaten government property and flood insurance programs.
The report also indicated that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could be without polar orbiting satellites for at least a year, three months longer than NOAA’s original estimate. Polar orbiting satellites supply most of the data used in weather models. Any gaps in coverage could have costly national and global consequences.
Top image: Animation of polar ice concentrations, which could be affected by shifting climate zones (Credit: NASA)