Government Shutdown's Latest Victim: a Global Weather Conference

(Bloomberg) -- In January, more than 4,000 weather forecasters and researchers from around the world are scheduled to descend upon Phoenix for the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting. That is, if the U.S. government is open.

The meeting is going to end up with a much smaller crowd and a thinned-out agenda should the government remain partially closed, according to Keith Seitter, the society’s executive director. “Over 700 are government employees currently affected by the partial shutdown,’’ Seitter said by email. “They are conference chairs, session organizers and presenters whose contributions to the meeting are very significant.’’

The annual meeting is a clearinghouse for the latest research on weather and climate as well as the impacts on industries such as energy, transportation and agriculture. Academic, government and commercial scientists use it to trade tips on tackling problems facing all forecasters. The National Weather Service and other federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency typically send people.

“The impact will be large, for all of us, if the partial shutdown prohibits the government folks from attending the meeting,’’ Seitter said.

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