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SPOTLIGHT

2. SCIENCE

Sequestration could shut off or delay climate and weather data

For Jesslyn Brown, sequestration could not come at a worse time of the year. Brown, a geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Interior Department, heads the Remote Sensing Phenology project, an effort to track changes in vegetation. Springtime is critical for Brown and her colleagues, as plants and crops exit their winter dormancy. But this April, Brown, along with thousands of federal employees, is awaiting furloughs as the sequester triggers an automatic $1.2 trillion budget cut over 10 years across almost all federal agencies Friday. Across the administration's scientific agencies, the sequester's deep cuts are threatening the output of important data for weather outlooks, wildfire risks, drought forecasts and the long-term understanding of climate change.

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