To know the sea, we must go to the sea. As someone who’s spent a bit of time at sea, I can attest first hand to the value of ships in helping us understand the ocean and the dynamic undersea world. As ocean technological advances proliferate in areas such as autonomy, miniaturization, sensor development, and artificial intelligence, research ships remain crucial to ensure optimal utilization of advancing technologies. Last week, the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) annual meeting was held locally. Dozens of attendees representing federal agencies and academic institutions involved in UNOLS ship programs met to review the previous year’s accomplishments and to plan future operations and activities of our vital federal oceanographic research fleet. These ships have enabled many of the advances in ocean and Earth sciences we have experienced over the past several decades, and they will be essential to our ability to harness new technology as we enhance our understanding of our changing ocean in years ahead.
I’ve been saying, “to know the sea, you must go to the sea,” for several years, but a crucial supplementary phrase might be, “it’s the scientists who go to sea who really make us see.” While ships are critical to ocean research, even more important are the trained scientists who analyze, interpret, and report on the data collected. Passage of tax reform legislation has dominated headlines over the weekend, and work will soon begin by a conference committee to reconcile differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills. The House provision that would tax graduate tuition waivers as income is of grave concern, not only for the impact on individual graduate students but also for the effect discouraging graduate education will have on the STEM workforce. Last week, I was joined by Dr. Brad Moran, dean of the University of Alaska Fairbank’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, in meetings with the Alaska congressional delegation to discuss just this topic (among others). We’ll continue engagement on Capitol Hill to keep this language out of the final bill. Have you contacted your delegation to advocate for the removal of this provision in the final tax reform bill? It will take all of our voices.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Learning From The Past: What The Ice Age Can Teach Us About The Future Of Our Coastlines
About 14,000 years ago, planet Earth was defrosting. Expansive ice sheets that covered most of continents were melting fast, signaling the end of the Ice Age. Temperatures climbed and more meltwater poured into the ocean. The transition between glacial and interglacial periods was swift, but the rate at which the ice sheets shrank during the swing has been somewhat of a mystery in the modern world. Recently, an international team of researchers set out to decode that piece of history. John Gosse, a University Killam Professor in Dalhousie University’s Department of Earth Sciences, joined Brian Menounos at the University of Northern British Columbia and 12 additional experts.