Traditionally, the new year is a time to set new goals and expectations and plan for a successful year (which often includes finishing up unfinished business from the last). Some of the top items on the president and Congress’ to-do list must be to finalize the nominations and confirmations of leadership positions in our nation’s scientific agencies. From an ocean perspective, the most pressing item on the checklist is NOAA. The United States’ ability to advance important ocean and atmospheric issues, including scientific research, is limited without a full leadership team in place at the agency whose very mission is to understand, predict, and share information about changes in weather, ocean, climate, and coasts while managing and conserving our nation’s vast coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.
Last fall, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Tim Gallaudet became NOAA’s deputy administrator, and the nominations for the agency’s administrator and environmental observation and prediction lead (Barry Myers and Neil Jacobs, respectively) passed through congressional committee. However, neither were confirmed by the Senate. In past conversations with Mr. Myers and during his confirmation hearing, I was impressed with his comments in regard to ocean topics, climate change, and the value of peer-reviewed research and its dissemination. I was also pleased to hear of his willingness to divest his for-profit weather forecasting company (AccuWeather) to serve our nation and the global earth science community. Together with RDML Gallaudet, Dr. Jacobs, the full NOAA leadership team, and the dedicated rank-and-file employees, I believe Mr. Myers will keep the agency on a successful course regarding ocean matters that impact our nation’s safety, security, and prosperity. Thus, I strongly encourage our leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill to take the necessary steps to nominate, confirm, and commission NOAA’s full leadership team ASAP.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
There’s a new way to measure the average temperature of the ocean thanks to researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. In an article published in the Jan. 4, 2018, issue of the journal Nature, geoscientist Jeff Severinghaus and colleagues at Scripps Oceanography and institutions in Switzerland and Japan detailed their ground-breaking approach.
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