Friday, March 11, 2011

Doppler Radar, The Best Investment the Federal Government Has Ever Made

In Warnings, I make the case that Doppler radar is the best investment the federal government has ever made. Now, there is independent confirmation.  An article in today's USA Today quotes Texas economist Kevin Simmons as stating that since Doppler was installed in the early to mid-1990's, the death rate has dropped 40%. The economic value of those deaths and injuries, according to Simmons, is $3 billion. Doppler cost less than $2 billion.

Here is the best part: The radars are largely paid for (there are maintenance and upgrade costs ongoing) so that return on investment will only grow over time.

In Warnings, I show how the total tornado death rate, since tornado warnings started in the 1950's, has decreased by more than 95% -- a tremendous accomplishment for weather science.

And, speaking of Warnings, here is a new review posted yesterday:

5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there were more than 5 stars to give this book!March 10, 2011
Fedoradude "Fedoradude" (The Paris of the Prairie) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather (Hardcover)

This is an excellent book! I loved EVERY page and EVERY minute reading it because I haven't come across a book as good as this in awhile. It's written purposefully to not read like a technical science or boring history book and is a quick, very enjoyable read.

The book reads more like a suspense thriller or mystery novel as Smith keeps the reader ever eager to hear more throughout his story-telling method of advancing the history of meteorology. Along the way the reader learns a tremendous amount of very interesting things - but the secret is they're presented almost as sidebars to the main story of a given storm.

Not only does Smith advance the history of weather forecasting, but also mixes in the psyche of the individuals drawn to the profession of weather forecaster, a bit of his own biography and a whole host of interesting weather facts. And the most clever part of it all is how much one learns reading this book almost without realizing it.

I hated to put it down and would highly recommend this book to readers of all interests - even those with the remotest interest in weather. 

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