National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acting chief scientist Craig McLean, who also oversees the agency's research division, wants an investigation into a statement supporting President Donald Trump's argument that Hurricane Dorian was threatening Alabama, contradicting a tweet issued on the state level that said the state did not face a threat.
“My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political,” McLean wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post."I am pursuing the potential violations of our NOAA Administrative Order on Scientific Integrity,”
NOAA spokesperson Scott Smullen, however, said the agency wasn't going to provide further official comment and would not speculate on internal reviews.
"NOAA's policies on scientific integrity and communications are among the strongest in the federal government, and get high marks from third-party observers," said Smullen. "The agency's senior career leaders are free to express their opinions about matters of agency operations and science."
Smullen said McLean''s investigation would not be considered one that is agency-wide, but that it would still be considered an official probe.
The National Weather Service's Birmingham office originally contradicted Trump's claims that the storm would affect Alabama, but Trump pushed back, and on Wednesday was pictured with an outdated map showing a black line that had been drawn over a part of Alabama to back up his claims.
Then NOAA then backed Trump, saying that its original forecast did show impact in Alabama. It is not commenting on how their statement came about, but NWS employees are supporting their Birmingham colleagues.
“They did what any office would do to protect the public,” Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, told a gathering of meteorologists Monday, drawing applause. "They did that with one thing in mind: public safety.”
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