The sun in your eyes made some of the lies worth believing

TheAlanParsonsProject-EyeintheSky I am the eye in the sky, Looking at you-o-oooh I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules, Dealing with foo-o-oools, I can cheat you blind.

At least, that's what Alan Parsons thought. But today we have Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change by the Graun (via, for example, See No Evil: Trump/GOP Trashing our Eyes in the Sky, which is my excuse for invoking the sainted Alan); well, it's on their website but it's actually the Observer, specifically Robin McKie and I'm a bit dubious about him.

The article sayeth President Trump has been accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming after it emerged that a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles faces being blocked, but articles often say that kind of thing, and in this case it undermines itself by quoting no source for these accusations. It's possible that the fling at Trump is mere ritual, because the substance, as far as I can determine it, is Republican-controlled Congress ordered destruction of vital sea-ice probe.

That does appear to be true, though exact details are murky. What is not-being-launched is DMSP-20, a replacement for DMSP-19. The wiki page on DMSP is useful, if you don't even know what they are, but of DMSP-20 it says "The failure [of DMSP-19] only left F16, F17 and F18 – all significantly past their expected 3–5 year lifespan – operational. F19's planned replacement was not carried out because in 2017 the Republican-controlled Congress ordered the destruction of the already constructed F20 probe to save money by not having to pay its storage costs." Spacenews (from March 2016) tells me "...the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, said... that while the Defense Department still expects to complete the termination of the DMSP program by Dec. 20, DMSP-20 remains properly stored in Sunnyvale... study, completed in September 2014, recommended against launching the satellite. But the Air Force said in April 2015 that it intended to launch the satellite in 2018... opted not to fund the program in a massive spending bill in December, kicking off plans to dispose of the satellite."

Inside Defence tells me that the "tear down" of DMSP-20 started in November 2016, "Based on the deputy secretary of defense and Air Force decisions and in accordance with congressional direction". So blaming that on Trump seems hard to justify (and Trump isn't responsible for all the world's evil  just because we all agree he's a bozo). https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/d/dmsp-block-5d looks like it ought to be definitive but clearly isn't, since it hasn't noticed the sad deaths of either DMSP-19 or 20.

So does anyone have the real story? Or is there no real story, other than someone having kicked McKie?

rmg says "...Comparable (better) instruments are on the JAXA-NASA AMSR-2. But it, too, is past its design life".

Update: RC now has a post which substantially says what I said above, but with more detail. Gavin is more politic, of course, writing that the "headline is not really correct", but I think it is now clear that the headline is the usual drivel you expect from headlines. RC also points at a Nature article, Ageing satellites put crucial sea-ice climate record at risk (arch), which I inexplicably missed.


Experts Ponder Why Administration Released Tough Climate Report, says EOS. Quite possibly because it would be too much trouble to censor. But that's just another way of saying they couldn't be bothered to censor it. So another spin is because the report just says what all the other reports have said - after all, it would be rather odd if it differed substantially. Obviously the Trump administration is trusted by no-one other than fools, so pretty well everything it does will meet with this kind of response: if you hate it, you'll whinge; if you like it, you'll wonder what the hidden reasons were.

Trump is the current La-Di-Di?

What is it with all this Trump-is-the-cause-of-everything stuff? Now we have the New Yorker saying With the tacit support of President Trump, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his powerful son launched an unprecedented purge of their own family over the weekend. C'mon, bullshit. The Saudi dictatorship continued to act like a dictatorship and they're quite capable of doing that all by themselves. You're wondering what "la-di-di" is, aren't you, but somewhat afraid to ask. Come on... person who sells lots of newspapers... sadly deceased... try pronouncing it as though French... that's right, it's a frog trying to say "Lady Di(ana)".

For NPR's take, you get With Saudi Arrests, Crown Prince Shows He Can Force Change. But It's Not Democracy. Um, yes. The clue is in the words "Crown" and "Prince".


Trump Wrongly Blamed for Destroying Sea Ice Satellite: November 6th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.


Russell Seitz / Bright Water said...

Watts' report of your death appears to be somewhat exaggerated.

William Connolley said...

Well, it is nice to be remembered I suppose. I'm finding it very easy to resist commenting over there.

Russell Seitz / Bright Water said...

Those failing to resist tend to be banned.