Monday July 9, 2007

What's up with Bill Proenza?

Bill Proenza I’ve worked in a government bureaucracy, and I’ve seen people lose their jobs when they publicly said stuff that made their bosses uncomfortable, so when the shit started to fly around Bill Proenza last month, I was the first to support him. Well, new shit has come to light. SotP has been following the story (and has been consistent about sticking up for Proenza, and scathing toward his critics). Not only have more then half of the staff of the National Hurricane Center that Proenza heads signed a petition against him, but it seems that the scrutiny from above came at their urging as well. I think it’s time to give this guy a closer look, not just blindly defend him.

There are two possible scenarios here: (1) Bill Proenza is all about the integrity — he puts the public’s interests first, and is not afraid to tell it like it is, even if it pisses off those around him. (2) Bill Proenza is an asshole who has pissed off those above him by grandstanding and those below him by not focusing on the job at hand, and by making their lives miserable.

Well, the main thing that Proenza has been outspoken about is QuikSCAT, claiming that if the satellite dies, “two-day forecasts would suffer by 10 percent and three-day forecasts by 16 percent.” It turns out that this claim is based on a a mis-reading of some unpublished research. Jeff Masters tracked down the same research, and de-bunks some of the errors of Proenza’s reasoning. The study looked primarily at hurricanes out at sea (when hurricanes are within 72 hours of landfall, superior information is obtained by the Hurricane Hunters). The study only used one weather model; hurricane predictions use at least five. Masters cites a much more thorough study that found “no meaningful impact of QuikSCAT data on tropical cyclone forecasts.” In other words, Proenza’s 10/16% claim is bullshit.

Let’s look more closely at the voices from inside the National Hurricane Center that have turned against Proenza. Keep in mind that this guy has been on the job for a few months, while many of the senior staff have been there decades. 23 out of 49 employees (including all the senior staff) signed a petition [PDF] calling for his removal (some others didn’t sign because they were not around). Their wording is careful, but the underlying subtext is clear: “This guy has made working here difficult. The public is not served well when our job is more difficult then it needs to be.” Calling these people cowards is obstinate — they have nothing to gain from taking a public stand against their boss. In fact, insofar as his removal is uncertain at this point, they have much to lose.

The director of an agency doesn’t do the work there — he does some management, but mainly he’s the public face of the agency. The staff do the work. Well, the staff held a press conference Friday, and Masters has a transcript. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a quote from Senior Hurricane Specialist James Franklin:

When things are really happening, we’ve got a Katrina out there or a Rita type of storms, everybody needs to stop what they’re doing and pull together and make sure our message gets out and that we’re doing the best job that we can to make the best forecast. We’ve got a lot of people pulling together to do that. That takes a certain amount of teamwork and appreciation of sense of family and he’s destroying that, he’s destroying that.

The others add a lot more specifics. I think the conclusion here is clear — Proenza is an asshole, and he’s difficult to work with. He’s wrong about QuikSCAT, but the real problem is that he’s making the situation inside the NHC difficult for the people actually doing the job of predicting the hurricanes. Those are the people we should be sticking up for, no the guy who flies around the country making wild public statements. Some of Proenza’s claims about his superiors’ priorities are probably well founded, but his job is to run the Hurricane Center, and if everyone who works there hates him enough to publicly say so, then it’s absurd not to listen. It’s absurd to accuse them of playing politics; these are scientists and they want what everybody with a serious job wants: to do a good job.

So… is Proenza going to step down? Well, Margie Kieper rounded up the news yesterday, and it seems to indicate that he will (she also has some visual demonstrations of QuikSCAT imagery, compared to imagery from other satellites). Let’s hope we get someone else in there soon enough to get the ship together before we get hit with the first storm of the season.

Update [6:25 pm]: For better or worse, Proenza’s out. Everything else aside, the way NOAA handled this stinks. “Anson Franklin, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . . . would not say whether Proenza was ordered to take leave or voluntarily left the agency. He said Proenza is still a NOAA employee, but he would not provide details about Proenza’s status, citing privacy laws.” What a crock.

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  1. Rick    Mon Jul 9, 08:57 AM #  

    It might be appropriate to change the title of this screed to “What’s Up With SotP’s Position On Bill Proenza.”

    As usual, we disagree.

    Proenza has been forecasting weather for longer than some of us have been sucking air. “On the job for a few months….?” C’mon. But then, it really shouldn’t matter anyway because, as you say so knowledgeably, “The staff do the work.”

    Your desire to make this a black or white issue ignores a third possible explanation. Perhaps Max Mayfield and Jerry Jarrell, the last two directors, and maybe others that preceded them, weren’t strong managers or, at least, subscribed to a “hands-off” management style. Proenza sounds like he may be different. If that’s the case, it could be that these employees are not used to that management style and are revolting against it.

    As far as putting a lot of weight into what Jeff Masters of “Weather Underground” has to say, well….

    Jeff lives in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area with his wife and daughter. He and his wife are active in managing a 32-acre natural area owned by their neighborhood association. They spend a lot of time killing invasive plants such as garlic mustard, glossy buckthorn, and Asian bittersweet, and planting native species to take their places. Jeff enjoys hiking, windsurfing, ultimate frisbee, and meditation. His favorite places are Havasu Canyon in the Grand Canyon and the Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park. His favorite book is Autobiography of a Yogi, and his favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He enjoys listening to Tangerine Dream, Loreena McKennitt, Anugama, and Beethoven. He occasionally picks up his trombone, but hasn’t played much since freshman year in college, when he played with the University of Michigan Marching Band. If you’re lucky, you can catch him in concert with the Straits Area Concert Band in the Mackinac City bandshell on Tuesday evenings in the summer!

    It’s “clear that Proenza is an asshole?”

    Wow.

    “Blindly,” just wow.

    .



  2. alesh    Mon Jul 9, 09:56 AM #  

    Um, no. I was re-examining my OWN position, Rick. I linked to SotP’s coverage because it stays on the internet, unlike Miami Herald articles, which disappear after a few weeks. (And not that it matters, but you seem hung up on who gets to what first, so I’ll point out that I was first on supporting Proenza.)

    Anyway, it seems that much of Proenza’s focus is directed OUTSIDE the center. In fact, many of the articles I read have him quoted from various places around the country.

    To me, this comes down to the credibility of the NHC employees that are publicly taking a stand against him. If you’re a government bureaucrat who’s out to keep his job, when shit starts flying you keep your head down and your mouth shut. As I said, by taking this stand these people are putting their jobs in jeopardy. WHY would they do that if what they’re saying isn’t true?

    Dr. Jeff Masters’ comments are relevant because he’s an expert who knows what he’s talking about, not because of where he lives. Duh?



  3. Alex    Mon Jul 9, 09:57 AM #  

    Hey, you want to include there that those brave veterans only came out against Proenza after the heat was brought down on him? Or that QickScat was only one example of underfunding he brought up, and his main targets were the renaming of the center under NOAA and a silly marketing campaign costing millions? Here’s a link

    It’s worth also to remember that after Max Mayfield stepped down, that position wasn’t easy to fill. The first candidate declined. What does that tells you. Those veterans —Franklin, Avila, etc— could have been considered and maybe they were. One way or the other they were not picked to direct the center, Proenza was. So maybe there was animosity towards teh new guy or maybe his style is harsher than Mayfield’s and he ruffled a few feathers, something that doesn’t seem hard to do with this bunch. I haven’t read anything about him being an asshole before at the NWS. In fact, the only thing I can find about his managerial style was some manager of the year commendation by the NWS Employee’s Organization.

    No thanks. I’m sticking with him.



  4. Christopher Jahn    Mon Jul 9, 10:06 AM #  

    It’s interesting that no one brings up the NHC’s position about the QuickSCAT back when it was launched nearly 10 years ago. Back then, of course, they claimed it would increase the accuracy of their forecasts as much as 16%.
    Then there’s the bait & switch going on; Franklin and others claiming that Proenza has undermined confidence in current predictions, which in fact he has NOT. He’s stated that as they lose their tools, the forecasts will become harder to process to create accurate predictions. And that is absolutely TRUE.
    The final thing that the traitorous staffers gloss over is that this isn’t about ONE satellite. It’s about ALL of them. QuickSCAT is just the one that’s about to fail. NOAA and NASA have had ten years to work on its replacement, and have not done so. Remember that this satellite was expected to die THREE YEARS AGO.

    If NOAA and NASA haven’t done any work on the satellite that was supposed to be replaced THREE YEARS AGO, how much work do you think they’ve done on the ones that aren’t due to die until the next few years?

    No, Franklin and his cronies are no friends of the taxpayers.



  5. alesh    Mon Jul 9, 10:35 AM #  

    Alex~

    The name change marketing was pretty silly. But Proenza’s criticism of it came after the fact, so . . . what good did it do, other then take up time he could have been using to do his job?

    You yourself pointed out that the review of Proenza was called for by Franklin, so it’s not true that the staff “only came out against Proenza after the heat was brought down on him.”

    So we agree that we have a staff that’s very unhappy with their recently appointed boss. We disagree whether that unhappiness is justified. If Proenza’s criticism was directed at those inside the NHC, I could believe that maybe they were just retaliating. But his criticism was directed at those ABOVE him, not below him. That lends what they say credibility, if the fact that they’ve been doing this job for so long wasn’t enough.

    Christopher~

    Again, Proenza is correct that the NOAA has made some boneheaded decisions, and that more money should be spent on hurricane-prediction technology. But if that were all there was to this case, don’t you think the NHC staff would be lining up in support of him?



  6. nonee moose    Mon Jul 9, 10:46 AM #  

    _ As I said, by taking this stand these people are putting their jobs in jeopardy. WHY would they do that if what they’re saying isn’t true?_

    Alesh, there’s a WHOLE lot of things that don’t make the paper. And maybe he IS a jerk. But trust me, it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not. This is a fairly transparent flanking maneuver by DC. I’ve seen it before.



  7. Christopher Jahn    Mon Jul 9, 11:07 AM #  

    When I read Franklin’s specific accusations, it appears to me that Franklin wanted to downplay problems with equipment and make nice to NOAA administrators, and Proenza ignored him. What I see is that the staff doesn’t understand the difference between daily weather forecasting and fighting for budget dollars.
    Franklin et al illustrate why many upper management types clean house when they take on a new job; too many long-term employees complain about the way the new guy runs things, and bog things down.

    Proenza has taken a difficult job, and he’s handling it well. He needs to clean house, and take out a few NOAA dinosaurs.

    BTW, Proenza’s NOT an asshole, according to those who have worked under him at other agencies. Most of those people are shocked that Franklin at al could make such an outlandish claim.



  8. Alex    Mon Jul 9, 11:12 AM #  

    No, I pointed out that Franklin claimed he initiated the inquiry, and I did it in response to his saying that the whole brouhaha (of which he is the main instigator) was affecting their work. Furthermore if his claim is true and he did go over Proenza’s head to his superiors, he did it in private not out in public. It wasn’t until Proenza got reprimanded and a five member commission (which omnimous HR attorney) came to investigate the Franklin felt emboldened enough to start making public declarations.

    It was clear by then Proenza was out of favor with the higher ups. Franklin and the others weren’t running any risks and if anything, they were protecting themselves. It would be next to impossible for proenza to fire Franklin now withut looking retaliatory, wouldn’t be?

    As for the criticism being after the fact: why not? It’s OK to point out that the agency has spent money in less important matters in the past when arguing for future funding. Plus at the time of the comments Proenza was still fighting to keep NOAA’s name and logo separate from the NHC, at least until after the season. It may look equally silly and territorial except that NHC is a very respected brand in the public’s eyes.



  9. CL Jahn    Mon Jul 9, 02:18 PM #  

    Frankly, your view that “since they are complaining they must be justified” is at best an irrational stance. Disgruntled employees are normal anytime there’s a management change. It would noteworthy if there weren’t disgruntled employees. That’s why most people in Proenza’s position (senior management) start off by firing everyone. I have certainly learned the necessity of clearing the decks in my field.

    I look at who’s complaining, the nature of the complaints, the record of the person they’re complaining about, and the timing of the complaints. I see what I expect to see: a labor pool that doesn’t have a clue about managing a large government agency complaining that Proenza is not doing what they want him to do.

    So why are they rebelling? They see that the Powers That Be are on a witch hunt, and that Witch Hunts take out everyone around the Witch. So the safest course of action is to Deny that they are in league with said “Witch.”

    These guys aren’t righteous. They’re a bunch of weenies who are willing to keep quiet while NOAA lets the entire machine fall apart from neglect.



  10. TheRealStory    Mon Jul 9, 02:20 PM #  

    Why do you people listen to the crap that comes from Jeff Masters and Margie someone? Take a look at their backgrounds and explain how either of them have any foundation for speaking to the subject at hand! Experts? Give me a break! More like weatherman wanna-be bloggers. Get a life people.

    As always, there is another side to the story. The research that Proenza cited about Quickscat is the only peer-reviewed study that has been done on the subject. This means that experts in that specific area of research have spent countless hours reviewing the document and ensuring that it has scientificly credible.

    Below is a quote from a real expert, someone who has spent his long career working on satellite issues, part of it related to quickscat. I think I’d believe him instead of some quickie internet research by some weatherman wanna-be blogger.

    Bob Atlas, director of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, insist that Proenza’s concerns “are very well founded. QuickScat is the most valuable forecasting tool.” Atlas says he applauds Proenza’s outspokenness, predicting it will “accelerate the effort to replace QuickScat with an even better scatterometer satellite.”

    During his years with NASA, Atlas was a principal investigator on numerous studies aimed at advancing the understanding of air-sea-land interactions through the use of satellite observations. He pioneered efforts to demonstrate the beneficial impact of satellite temperature soundings and surface winds data on weather prediction. Atlas studies the formation, movement, and intensification of hurricanes with the aid of computer models and satellite observations.



  11. Franklin    Mon Jul 9, 07:40 PM #  

    He’s outta there.



  12. alesh    Tue Jul 10, 08:06 AM #  

    nonee moose~

    “This is a fairly transparent flanking maneuver by DC”

    Um . . . how many of these flanking maneuvers have most of a guy’s staff lining up in public against him? Come on . . . normally when the feds decide to fire someone, we look at the people immediately around the individual and trust them to tell us whether they deserved to be sacked or not. Why the difference here?

    Alex~

    I agree with your sequence of events. Look . . . Proenza came into the NHC and obviously shook things up, made it clear things were going to be done his way or the highway, pissed people off, etc.

    Now, I think defenders of Proenza have to claim that this was a good thing, that the NHC needed shaking up. That seems to presuppose a belief that the center was not performing as it should. (Hurricane prediction is a tricky business, but let’s say that it’s possible to know that given more expertise or dedication or care or whatever they could have done a much better job then they have been doing.) In that situation a shake-up clearly would have been needed. But where is the evidence for that?

    If, on the other hand, you believe that the NHC was doing a good job, then somebody coming in and shaking things up is FUCKED UP. This is important stuff, and I think it’s a little more important then the integrity of one guy’s management style.

    Again, I support some of Proenza’s criticisms of those above him, but the mass mutiny from within NHC speaks to something completely different. Again: the staff of the NHC are the people actually doing the work. Why are they not the ones we should be supporting?

    CL~

    “That’s why most people in Proenza’s position (senior management) start off by firing everyone.”

    You know, it would have been a different (perhaps no less fucked up, but different) matter if Proenza HAD fired everyone. Or even a group of key people. Then we could have said “well, obviously things were not working very well over there, and he’s trying to fix it.” He didn’t.

    As for the statement that the 23 forecasters signed, you’re saying that when the shit starts flying the safest thing for a coward employee to do is to sign a public statement calling for the resignation of his boss. That’s just laughable: a coward keeps his head down.

    TRS~

    Instead of knocking Masters, you should read what he has to say. The quote from Atlas was taken out of context — he was referring to something very specific, NOT the prediction of hurricanes with respect to landfall. (What are Masters’ qualifications? Well, if the thoughtfulness of his analysis isn’t enough, there are his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D in meteorology. Then there’s this.)



  13. alesh    Tue Jul 10, 10:49 AM #  

    I was previously willing to let Proenza have it out with NOAA leadership, but now his staff has made it clear he’s fighting alone. That’s fine to do as a private citizen or as a NOAA bureaucrat, but not as the leader of NHC.

    According to their own accounts, senior NHC staff members are not sleeping, are fighting with one another, and refusing to meet with Proenza one-on-one for fear of having the conversation publicly misrepresented. One could argue that the staff has reacted like a spoiled child angry over change, but their actions should not be dismissed so casually.

    Andrew Freedman, writing before the removal. Worth reading despite a few moronic weather puns (you’d think someone with a weather blog would get tired of that crap).



  14. Christopher Jahn    Tue Jul 10, 09:17 PM #  

    “As for the statement that the 23 forecasters signed, you’re saying that when the shit starts flying the safest thing for a coward employee to do is to sign a public statement calling for the resignation of his boss. That’s just laughable: a coward keeps his head down.”

    I disagree. When you know that the Head Honcho is going to get his head handed to him, and those doing the beheading are out for blood, you want to be sure to distance yourself from said Head Honcho. ‘Keeping your head down’ is as likely to get you fired as standing up with the Honcho. So what do you do, to protect your job? You point at the persecuted head honcho and cry that the Witch Hunt is absolutely right. Those 23 staffers are cowards, weasels and scum, period.

    Now we are left with an NHC that will complacently let all its equipment fail simply to show support for inept budget oversight by NOAA. And NOAA will go on wasting precious dollars lying about when they were formed.

    No, I have lost all respect for the NHC and NOAA. And that’s a shame, as my cousin was a charter staffer of NOAA (which, despite the millions of dollars wasted saying it was 200 years ago, was actually created in 1970). The corrupting influence of the Asshole-in-Chief has seeped even further into critical agencies. Cousin Steve is probably rolling over in his grave.



  15. alesh    Tue Jul 10, 09:52 PM #  

    1. Nobody at NHC had any reason to think that the displeasure Proenza’s superiors were directing at him would rub off on them. 2. It’s obscured now, but the fact is that they had no way of knowing (insert “for sure” here if you need to) Proenza would be removed. 3. Anyone who shows disloyalty to a superior risks being seen as disloyal-in-general.

    Add that all up and I just can’t see how you come out in public against your boss unless you have some legitimate, and grave, grievances. They knew damn well that regardless of the facts many people would think like Rick and side with Proenza, and they’d be derided by a large group of people. I’m not sure how you can miss that it takes guts to take a public stand despite that.

    As I’ve said, the NOAA has made some idiot decisions, and Proenza called them out on many of them. But reports today have the revered Max Mayfield calling for a lot of the increased funding Proenza made a stink about, so BP may be the fallen soldier who wins the battle but is slain in the process.



  16. mkh    Tue Jul 10, 10:29 PM #  

    Just as a side note to all this, keep in mind that the charter of NHC is not to keep civilians safe, but to minimize disruption of trade routes (and military facilities/maneuvers). That’s why NOAA and NHC fall under the purview of the Department of Commerce. The fact that they can also save some lives is a nice bonus.

    In spite of this, the forecasters and analysts at the NHC are genuinely more concerned about saving lives. When I had a chance to talk with some of the workers there n 2005 — forgive me for not naming names, but they had asked not to be quoted — two of their biggest worries were their chronic lack of funding, and the pressure from the administration to quit giving away weather information for free.

    The first problem led to some employees actually buying their own hardware on which to run analysis, because the DoC felt their 6-7 year old PCs should hold them for a while longer. (It was weird to see, looking more like a LAN party than a governmental facility.) The second issue was brought to the fore by Rick Santorum, who lobbied the DoC and NOAA to prevent weather data collected by the government from being given away for free. See, AccuWeather is was one of Santorum’s biggest donors, and, well, Commerce is the overriding purpose of the agency. Fortunately that proposal was shot down.



  17. Jonathan    Wed Jul 11, 12:30 AM #  

    Why should taxpayers be forced to subsidize production of weather data? It’s not like forecasts can’t be sold. There are plenty of private weather services and no reason why the NHC wouldn’t be highly profitable if it were privatized. Keeping it as a govt bureaucracy amounts to a huge subsidy for TV networks, airlines, shipping companies, agribusiness and every other private interest that currently relies on govt weather data. Why subsidize big business?



  18. alesh    Wed Jul 11, 06:15 AM #  

    Once again Jonathan I fear you’ve ventured into unintentional comedy:

    “. . . and every other private interest that currently relies on govt weather data.”

    I think that includes every single person in the US w/r/t NOAA, and the substantial portion of them that live within a few miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts w/r/t NHC. Do the multiple competing private NHC’s you envision each have their own fleet of Hurricane Hunter aircraft and their own satellites? Do they each publish their own 5-day cone? Can you say with a straight face that you think that’s a good idea?



  19. Jonathan    Wed Jul 11, 07:41 AM #  

    There are lots of services that everyone in the USA benefits from that are privately run. Why is weather forecasting different?



  20. nonee moose    Wed Jul 11, 07:53 AM #  

    Alesh, you actually think the DC boys come down and poll the underlings? The only reason they were talked to at all is to create a pretext for the removal which, for PR reasons, couldn’t be the normal top-down situation. Everyone at the NHC was familiar with him and, presumably, his character flaws before the appointment. Why did it take months for these brave souls to object? If there had been some disagreement among scientists as to where the tech funding priorities should be, where is the trail of that disagreement? This planes vs. satellite issue seems to have fulminated overnight and, even so, the focus of the controversy was not a substantive one, rather one where his “jerkness” was the driving force.

    On its face, Proenza’s fight for more funding, of anything regards the NHC, would be consistent with the goals of the center, in the sense that it would leave them better prepared/equipped to do their job. Disagreement among the scientists as to the focus of that funding, alone, would have hardly registered on such emotional terms.



  21. nonee moose    Wed Jul 11, 07:58 AM #  

    Jonathan, I believe the NHC has “private” subscription services which are commercially available to shipping lines, utilities, and other businesses. I don’t know what kind of revenues those services produce.



  22. Rick    Wed Jul 11, 08:57 AM #  

    Alesh, I’m not quite sure why it’s difficult for you to understand why a “family” of employees feels the need to speak out when their new boss makes representations that are the impetus for the home office to visit and start assessing whether they can do their job.

    BP’s statements threatened their future at the NHC. BP was representing them, whether they wanted him to or not, when he made those controversial claims that pissed off DC.

    Whether they agreed with him or not, once the scientists perceived that DC was seriously reacting, they did everything they could to distance themselves from Proenza in order to save their skins and make sure that DC understood that BP did not represent them.

    .



  23. alesh    Wed Jul 11, 10:48 AM #  

    Rick~

    I’m not sure I understand the question (graf 1), but I think the reason is that the team was there pretty specifically to investigate Proenza. I refer you to the three points I mentioned at the beginning of comment #15, which lay out why I think employees would never do that under ordinary circumstances.

    I also wonder how you feel about the questions I put to Alex in #12 . . . where is the evidence that the NHC’s performance was sub-par? And absent such evidence, why wouldn’t you be supporting the people that are doing that actual work — you know, the work that’s been saving our collective asses?

    nonee moose~

    No doubt the NOAA suits are a bunch of scumbags. 200 year anniversary my ass. When a well-established group gets a blowhard new boss, even if they can tell right away he’s going to be a pain in the ass, there’s a “give him a chance” period. 6 months doesn’t seem an unlikely time frame for them to realize it just can’t work.

    On its face, Proenza’s fight for more funding . . . alone, would have hardly registered on such emotional terms.

    My point exactly.

    Jonathan~

    I’ll mull it over a bit. Off the top of my head, weather forecasting is different because the Feds would need to do it anyway, for various internal reasons. The dispute seems to be making the information public?



  24. nonee moose    Wed Jul 11, 11:34 AM #  

    Yes, Alesh, but you take your point to mean something else entirely from mine. You seem to take questions of Proenza’s management style and personality as a given, as if there could be no other motivation for the employee statements other than truth of the assertion. And I’m telling you that the assertions were made because they were the only plausible pretext under which DC could make the move they wanted and be deemed to be taking “constructive”, warm and fuzzy action, in protection of the rank-and-file. And to do that, they had to squezze some tits and make them squeal, otherwise somebody would put the lie to the play. The other alternative was to be taking someone out who was making demands for tech-funding priorities and criticizing DC-based decisions to fund PR campaigns instead. In a world where perception is political reality, which is the natural choice?



  25. Alex    Wed Jul 11, 12:39 PM #  

    I didn’t realize it was a question, but the answer is no, I don’t think NHC needed “shaking up” —and saying that’s what Proenza did is speculation. The only public statements I’ve seen Proenza make were directed at NOAA. If anything, he was looking out for NHC, not the other way around. I’m with Nonee on this, the internal complaints you take at face value were just a convenient excuse to fire a whistleblower.

    The libertarian argument: taxpayers are not “forced” to subsidize weather data, just like they are not forced to maintain an army (maybe we should privatize that too? Not that is not happening anyway). Most taxpayers are probably happy to pay for accurate free weather reports. If market forces are that mighty, they can come up with a better product to compete with NOAA and NHC.



  26. mkh    Wed Jul 11, 06:25 PM #  

    Traditional (i.e., selfish) business models are always threatened when altruistic groups compete against them in the marketplace; e.g., open source software.

    Among the specific issues AccuWeather raised was the creation of RSS/CAP feeds for NWS data, allowing anyone who felt the urge to create hardware and/or software utilizing the data. This feed actually provided an easier point of entry for start-ups

    Communities have taxpayer-funded protection via the police. Nonetheless, many people choose to employ private armies such as Wackenhut. What’s the difference between one life-saving service and another?



  27. Mark    Fri Jul 13, 04:29 PM #  

    Off topic, but you need to learn the correct usage of the words “lose” and “loose”.



  28. Robert Brookens aka Barometer Bob    Sat Jul 14, 03:18 PM #  

    Learn what QuickScat is and does first. Then decide where you stand.
    The statements made by Dr Masters about the 10% and 16% have been debuked by the man himself that has been doing the research and assisted in the development on the scatterometer for decades, Dr Robert Atlas.
    He states during the Barometer Bob Show of July 12, 2007 that the numbers are accurate. Also, that the statements made by Bill Proenza are accurate, as well as stating that the statements made by Dr Masters are inaccurate.
    So, by making these statements, and even suggesting that Bill Proenza step down as the director of the NHC is wrong.
    The QuickScat data isn’t just used for hurricane forecasting. Problem is, of the numerical forecast models used in forecasting the track and intensity of a hurricane, the data from the QuickScat is inputted into each of these models, as it is all numerical forecast models world wide. This is partially responsible for our increase in the accuracy of forecast track. So, as Dr Atlas states during the show, the numerical forecast models would not be as accurate as they are now without the data.
    So, everything that Bill Proenza states about the QuickScat is correct, and Dr Atlas states this also, when asked during the show.
    The degradation of the public wasn’t brought up until the reprimand letter from the NWS was released by a “forecaster”. This wasn’t caused by Mr Proenza. It was caused by
    1) The reprimand letter from the NWS Director.
    2) By the forecaster that leaked the information after Mr Proenza spoke to the entire staff regarding it.
    Also, the forecasters didn’t come forward till after the visit by NOAA, and also by the statements made by Dr Masters. Which by the way, he gathered some of his information during the Barometer Bob Show of June 21, 2007 when Bill Proenza was a guest on the show.
    So you decide “After” knowing all the facts who is right and who is wrong. It’s not right to judge someone without knowing the basis of his statements, nor doing an exhaustive research into why the statements were made.
    Bill Proenza does have and is gaining more support from a growing number of people and this includes the public!



  29. Paul K    Tue Aug 7, 11:01 PM #  

    I am glad to see the few who really support Proenza. I have been involved as a citizen and with a B.S. in meteorologist and a masters in Civil Engineering background fighting against NOAA for budget cuts since the 90’s. It is rediculous to see this but then think of all the issues and problems created at NHC and at NOAA.

    Remember at the science committee hearing during Proanza testimony he was asked a question…the question was …” are you a member of the corporate board..” and he stated no.. he wanted no part of it. This statement of question was in no doubt proof that NOAA was being run similar to a corporation. Now if you try to put the two together…private services from NHC and the chaos in management these things lead to a more stronger foundation to the eventual privatization plan of the NHC and even NWS.

    When NOAA asked for the NWS logo to be taken off the hurricane tracking charts Max Mayfield and as well as Bill Proenza refused!

    Does this make you think that the past directors were just going along with the ride knowing that the equipment on the hurricane hunter plane and our satellite program was in jeapordy? You bet.!

    No one had the guts to say anything until Bill Proenza came along..because the ignorance and weakness of the past directors to stand up against NOAA they let the ship stay it’s course even if it meant that it would hit an iceberg and sink!

    End of Story..it is a sobbing situation.