National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Read: NOAA's top scientist condemns "political" statement backing Trump

In this image, Trump looks at a NOAA map that depicts the path of Hurricane Dorian across the U.S.
Trump considers a NOAA map on Sept. 4 that appears to be altered by a black marker to extend the hurricane's range to include Alabama. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a letter released Tuesday, NOAA's acting chief scientist Craig McLean condemned an unsigned NOAA statement from last Friday that supported President Trump's incorrect claim that Hurricane Dorian would threaten Alabama.

The big picture: McLean said that NOAA's "intervention to contradict" the Birmingham office's assertion that Dorian would not impact Alabama "was not based on science" and was "simply put, political." On Monday, the New York Times reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top NOAA officials for contradicting Trump. McLean plans to investigate if the agency's statement violated its policies and ethics.

NYT: Wilbur Ross threatened NOAA firings after Trump hurricane contradiction

Wilbur Ross.
Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials following a tweet from the agency's Birmingham office that rebutted President Trump's claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama, the New York Times reports.

Context: Trump's incorrect tweet last week that Hurricane Dorian was projected to hit Alabama prompted NOAA's Birmingham office to tweet shortly after that "no impacts from Hurricane Dorian [would] be felt across Alabama." The rebuttal set off days of defensive tweets from Trump arguing that he was correct.