Jon White – From the President’s Office: 12-05-16

2017-01-18T13:13:59+00:00 December 5, 2016|

Jon White, President of Ocean Leadership

As we all start to check on weather conditions that may impact our holiday season this year (such as a rather chilly Army-Navy game next weekend), it is important to remember the observations, research, models, and technology that allow for those accurate forecasts in the weather app you pull up on your phone. Improvements in weather forecasting naturally involve ocean observations, data, and monitoring. Understanding weather patterns begins with understanding the ocean.

The Senate just approved by unanimous consent a bill aiming to improve this understanding — H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.  “The bill strengthens the science to forecast severe heat and cold, storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, floods, and hurricanes so that our warnings are more timely and accurate,” according to Senator Brian Schatz (HI). Another champion of the bill, Senator John Thune (SD), opined on the economic impacts of the bill, “From long-term forecasting that can prevent costly agricultural losses to more actionable information about severe weather, this legislation will help save lives and reduce avoidable property loss.”  

I am encouraged to know that this weather legislation advocates for improvements in long-term forecasting (e.g., periods of weeks to years) that cannot be made without improved understanding and modelling of ocean dynamics (especially thermodynamics). I am also encouraged by the future research and partnership opportunities for the ocean and atmospheric science communities. We’ll be keeping an eye on this bill as it moves over to the House floor. Another bill we’ll be watching is the short-term continuing resolution funding federal agencies that runs out on Friday.


RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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