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.
GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Marine Incentives Programs May Replace ‘Doom And Gloom’ With Hope
Incentives that are designed to enable smarter use of the ocean while also protecting marine ecosystems can and do work, and offer significant hope to help address the multiple environmental threats facing the world’s oceans, researchers conclude in a new analysis. Whether economic or social, incentive-based solutions may be one of the best options for progress in reducing impacts from overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, researchers from Oregon State University and Princeton University say in a new report published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And positive incentives — the “carrot” — work better than negative incentives, or the “stick.”