Jon White – From the President’s Office: From Data To Decisions To Decisionmakers… Making Great STRIDEs (2-10-2020)

2020-02-10T16:26:34+00:00 February 10, 2020|

I spent much of my Navy career, and I now spend much of my time at COL, trying to enhance the process of turning data into decisions, especially ocean data. This starts with the complex integration of ocean observing and monitoring to generate data and is followed by analysis, modeling, prediction, and translation, which ultimately create meaningful scientific and technical information and products. But it doesn’t stop there — a critically important step in the successful translation of data to good decisions is the communication of information and products, as well as their impacts, to decisionmakers. Given the ongoing changes to our ocean and the coastal areas that both depend upon and are encroached upon by it, I believe the ability to communicate ocean scientific information to build knowledge is crucially important to realizing my vision of a healthy, prosperous ocean that meets the needs of humanity and all other life on the planet.

I’ve always been a fan of education and training programs that focus on this type of communication, particularly to decisionmakers who are neither scientists nor scientifically educated, so I was intrigued to learn about the Science Training and Research to Inform DEcisions (STRIDE) program during a visit to Stony Brook University’s extraordinary School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) last week. I am encouraged by this and many other transdisciplinary programs of this ilk at several institutions and universities that are members of our consortium.

As I conversed with several of the graduate and undergraduate students at Stony Brook, I thought how many of them should be in positions of leadership and decision-making themselves, in both the public and private sectors and in roles (such as state legislatures and even Congress) that are not typically occupied by ocean and Earth scientists today. The thought that many of the young ocean scientists and technologists across our consortium might lead our communities, our states, our nation, and even our world in making wise decisions regarding the ocean and the environment gives me great hope and optimism. These potential leaders include many of you reading this. I encourage all of you to think about the possibilities that would come from having ocean-wise leaders at the highest levels in years to come and to consider how we might work together and take the necessary decision-making STRIDEs today to make that dream a reality.

Sea-Level Report Cards: 2019 Data Adds To Trend In Acceleration

Water levels at 25 of 32 stations rose at higher rate than in 2018. The annual update of their sea level “report cards” by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science adds evidence of an accelerating rate of sea-level rise at nearly all tidal stations along the U.S. coastline. The team’s web-based report cards project sea level to the year 2050 based on an ongoing analysis of tide-gauge records for 32 localities along the U.S. coast from Maine to Alaska. The analysis now includes 51 years of water-level observations, from January 1969 through December 2019.

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