On Friday, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which will fund the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. While there are a few areas of concern, overall, this is a victory for the science and technology community. Just a few weeks ago, the administration proposed reducing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 non-defense discretionary spending by $18 billion to accommodate a $30 billion supplemental funding request for the Department of Defense, which would have resulted in catastrophic cuts to scientific research, infrastructure, and education programs. This proposal was not accepted, and instead, funding for research and development (particularly in ocean science and technology, as well as the broader geosciences), is maintained or increased. NSF and NASA see increases for FY 2017, as does the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the DOD’s Science and Technology program. While NOAA funding is decreased by 1.6%, several programs will see bumps, such as the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The Sea Grant program also remains funded, even though it has been targeted for potential elimination in the president’s FY 2018 initial budget recommendations or “skinny budget.” I applaud the collective efforts of the science community to share the value of federally-funded science with congressional leaders over the past year. Now we must redouble our efforts to support ocean science and research (to include important programs like Sea Grant) as FY 2018 appropriations bills are developed in Congress.
On another note, the Ocean Observatories Initiative is proud to be compiling information for a special issue of Oceanography Magazine centered around the OOI and research conducted using its data. If you’re part of the OOI user community, please consider contributing to this special issue.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Scientists Solve Mystery Of Antarctica’s Blood Falls
Scientists have long been puzzled by the origins of the mysterious, blood-red waterfall that streams down Taylor Glacier in Antarctica. First discovered by geoscientist Griffith Taylor in 1911, the source of the Blood Falls’ eerie red ooze finally has an explanation, thanks to new research out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College. The falls are fed by a large source of salty water trapped beneath the glacier for possibly more than one million years, the research team explained in a study published in the Journal of Galciology.