I just returned to DC from New Orleans where I attended the Ocean Sciences 2016 meeting, which ran concurrently with the Underwater Intervention meeting – a great idea given the amount of cross-over between the two events regarding ocean technology and science. I spent a lot of time with Ocean Leadership members and partners (both academic and industry organizations) and I continue to be impressed by the ongoing ocean research and innovation across our community – individually and collectively
The severe weather that occurred in and around New Orleans this last week (and elsewhere around the U.S.) was a sobering reminder of the importance of ocean science toward better understanding of the ocean-atmosphere-climate nexus as it influences our safety and security. Many presentations and posters at Ocean Sciences 2016 involved methods and systems to more accurately observe, model, predict, and communicate impacts of our changing world at all temporal and spatial scales. While we have our work cut out for us to better coalesce the myriad ocean observing systems and networks across the globe, I am encouraged by the ongoing progress and commitment. The Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) we manage under NSF is one example of the excellent progress being made to this end, and I was happy to see the great interest in OOI at the meeting.
The role of industry in the ocean science and technology community, and the willingness to partner with them was also encouraging to see. I look forward to a (near) future when statements like “we need sensors in this region in addition to the ones industry has” move to “we have partnered with industry to expand and coalesce the sensing capabilities in this region.”
These meetings have renewed my appreciation for the important role Ocean Leadership plays as a vehicle and voice for the ocean science and technology community in Washington, DC and beyond. Through events and initiatives, such as the upcoming Public Policy Forum in 12 days and the Industry Forum we are planning for this fall, we continue to embrace our critical role in convening and advocating for the community.
(Note to our friends in the National Weather Service and atmospheric science community: While it is easy to jokingly blame you for severe weather events that seem to target large gatherings of ocean scientists, I commend you for the accuracy of your forecasts and warning of severe weather this week. They led directly to numerous correct and timely decisions across our weather-ready nation that preserved lives and livelihoods. Very well done!)
Jonathan W. White, RADM, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership