As the weather warms here in D.C. (reaching ~80°F today for the first time this year), the “Weather Bill” has also become a hot topic (again). Contrary to my expectation last December, the bill fell just short of passing both chambers before the 114th Congress drew to a close. The 115th Congress didn’t waste any time in picking back up a slightly modified version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R. 353). The bill, which is the first major piece of weather legislation since the 1990s, would improve NOAA’s seasonal weather predictions, from two weeks to two years out. H.R. 353 also includes provisions similar to those in the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act (H.R. 312), which would strengthen tsunami detection and warning systems – better protecting coastal communities from these threats. I’m pleased to see Congress quickly pick up and pass this important legislation (and hope the president will play his part in making H.R. 353 law); benefits will impact those whose lives depend on receiving timely warnings of severe weather, as well as farmers who require accurate predictions to grow their crops and business leaders competing in the global economy. As we all know, the ocean drives our weather, and if we want more accurate and timely predictions, we must increase our understanding of the ocean and our ability to predict it as well.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Rare Sighting Of Giant Octopus Reveals A Surprise
This week journal Scientific Reports revealed that a seven-armed octopus was observed clutching an unusual type of prey: an egg-yolk jellyfish, Phacellophora camtschatica. Jellyfish is generally thought to be not particularly nutritious, but the octopus had eaten most of the tissue hanging down from the bell. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scientists think she might have been using the remaining parts of the jellyfish, the bell and the stinging tentacles, for defense or for catching a tastier meal.