You might think that with Congress still out of session, things are quiet around here this week. Actually, the opposite is happening.
Today, I participated on a panel at the American Meteorological Society Washington Forum regarding the status of the FY13 NOAA budget request. I was accompanied on the panel with people representing the atmospheric research, environmental, weather and satellite communities. Interestingly, we all came to the same conclusion that given the fiscal situation in the nation and NOAA’s growing satellite budgets, prioritization is inevitable, yet very difficult to achieve by a federal agency. Given NOAA’s operational mandates to provide services such as weather forecasts and fish stock assessments, the science that underpins those services will likely continue to be cut if the budget does not grow. So, with a flat or declining budget, unless NOAA can develop better and more efficient mechanisms for gathering, analyzing and disseminating earth systems science information, the products and services NOAA provides will diminish over time. Not a pretty picture, but the issue is clear. The 15 trillion dollar deficit is not going away quickly so prioritization must occur not only at NOAA, but at all the agencies that fund research and education.
We have several big events on the horizon. Next weekend (April 20-22), the 15th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl is taking place. Twenty-five high school teams from around the country will descend on Baltimore, Maryland to test their knowledge of ocean-related topics. I am delighted to be serving as the master of ceremonies through the weekend. As I have said before, this is one of my favorite events of the year; it is just so uplifting to see the nation’s brightest future scientists and leaders in action. For detailed information on the event, click here. If you want to wake up smiling on Monday morning, I strongly encourage you to attend the event.
The following weekend (April 27-29), Ocean Leadership is participating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival here in Washington. This open event aims to encourage the next generation of engineers and scientists, as well as to stimulate public awareness of the importance of science and math education. Ocean Leadership and three of our programs, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, the Ocean Observatories Initiative and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, will have an interactive exhibit together (booth #3822 in Hall A). In addition, I will be participating in a side-career event at the festival titled “Encounters with Scientists and Engineers” on Saturday. For more information, click here. I hope to see many of you there, so stop by and say hello.
And, in the middle of those two events, Ocean Leadership will have an informational table at the 5th Annual Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference, taking place from April 24-26. More information can be found here.
So, it will be a busy couple of weeks. Enjoy the warm weekend weather if you are in the DC area. If you don’t live in the Washington area, I hope spring is in full bloom for you as well.
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