Trump NOAA chief touts AI, private weather data at hearing

By Rob Hotakainen | 03/07/2024 06:43 AM EST

Neil Jacobs told lawmakers the commercial weather data industry is “hugely beneficial.” He also boosted artificial intelligence.

Neil Jacobs.

Former NOAA head Neil Jacobs on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. House Science, Space and Technology Committee

The quality of U.S. weather forecasts could be improved by artificial intelligence and better use of data collected by private companies, NOAA’s former acting administrator told a House Science, Space and Technology panel Wednesday.

“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for AI all across numerical weather prediction, even down to potentially replicating the entire modeling system,” said Neil Jacobs, who led the agency for two years under former President Donald Trump.

Testifying before the Subcommittee on Environment, Jacobs also called the U.S. commercial weather data industry “hugely beneficial.”


“It’s really, really valuable,” said Jacobs, who left NOAA in 2021. “There’s more out there that can be acquired — a lot of these companies are producing data at a rate faster than NOAA can acquire it.”