The Dec. 7 headline on, “U.S. Backs Away from European Weather Satellite Program,” mischaracterizes the key message the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) conveyed to the Eumetsat Council through my remarks on Nov. 29.

NOAA is not backing away from the Eumetsat Polar System — Second Generation (EPS-SG) program. NOAA has a long partnership with Eumetsat that is growing in value and importance. In the past, our commitment has been made tangible with Eumetsat, as we provided five instruments that are flying on the Metop-A satellite, and the same suite of instruments for the Metop-B and Metop-C spacecraft. Recently, both agencies worked to develop the Antarctic Data Acquisition Service, which is providing Metop data to U.S. and European weather services faster than ever before. During my speech, I emphasized that future cooperative efforts between NOAA and Eumetsat offer immense potential for even more success.

As we face tough budget realities on both sides of the Atlantic, our partnership with Eumetsat will become more important, not less. NOAA is embracing the opportunity to work with Eumetsat to look for ways to deliver high-quality, timely observations to our end users around the world. We will continue the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and EPS-SG as a joint system; NOAA and Eumetsat will continue to explore all options to ensure we will be able to fulfill the requirements of our respective user communities.

NOAA fully recognizes that data from both EPS-SG and JPSS are critical for maintaining — and strengthening — the quality of environmental monitoring and prediction upon which citizens in Europe, the United States and around the world depend.

Mary Kicza
Assistant administrator, NOAA Satellite and Information Service