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de-funding the National Weather Service

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Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has suggested de-funding the National Weather Service, arguing that households receive weather information from media outlets and businesses can receive subscription (paid) weather forecasts from private weather forecasting firms. Consider the externality/public good aspects of weather forecasts and argue for or against such a "privatization" of weather forecasting.

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Historically the three sectors of U.S. meteorology have had rather distinct missions.
The government, with support of taxpayers, has developed and operated observational systems such as the radiosonde network, satellites, and radars. It also has collected observational data, developed and run numerical forecast models, issued forecasts and warnings to the public, and conducted research.
The academic sector has educated future generations of scientists, forecasters, and business people. It also has carried out research, generally supported by the government, which has led to improvements in scientific understanding and observational technologies. These advances from the academic community have contributed greatly to improvements in government and private sector operations.
The private sector, again with government support, has built the observational systems, computers, and information systems required by the government in order to produce forecasts and warnings. The private sector has also taken government- produced data, forecasts, and warnings and created value-added products for the public (via mass media) or for paying customers with specialized needs.
These respective roles, once fairly ...

Solution Summary

Privatization of weather forecasting is assessed.