Sea Technology

JAN 2019

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12 ST | January 2019 www.sea-technology.com and have better maps of Mars' surface than our seafloor. It's time for that to change. Sen. Murkowski and I are currently developing the BLUE GLOBE Act (Bolstering Long-term Understand- ing and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Oceans, Bays, and Estuaries Act) to give our oceans the attention and investment they deserve. This bill will improve coordi- nation among our ocean-facing agencies, allowing for better data collection, integration and access. The BLUE GLOBE Act will also drive innovation in ocean research and technology and help build a new blue tech work- force. In addition to my work within the Senate Oceans Cau- cus, I'm working hard to support coastal resiliency and readiness. Though we still have a chance to stave off the worst consequences of climate change, we can no lon- ger pretend we are immune to sea level rise, increased storm surge and other coastal threats driven by changing oceans. To help coastal communities prepare for these changes, the first grants from my National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund were announced in November. This fund, co-managed by the National Fish and Wild- life Foundation and NOAA, is a dedicated resource for hardening coastal infrastructure, building community re- siliency, investing in restoration, and supporting ocean and coastal research. Congress approved $30 million for the fund in fiscal year 2018, and I will be pushing to keep this significant new source of funds going. Life first emerged in our oceans eons ago, and we have a responsibility to protect the ocean for our future generations. I'm working diligently with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give our oceans the protec- tions they deserve. I have big goals for 2019, and hope you will join us in making it the year of ocean action. ST Review&Forecast Congress Must Back NOAA's Groundbreaking Efforts By Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) Chair U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology A s 2018 comes to a close, another devastating hurricane season concludes with it. Thousands of people have been affected by this year's series of ca- lamitous storms, which brought record wind speeds and rainfall to our coastal commu- nities. The ability to alert the public well before these dangerous weather events is vital to preserv- ing American life and property and is a task that falls to NOAA. From operating unmanned systems on the ocean floor to satellites in space, NOAA provides a number of essential services in weather forecasting, satellite opera- tion and coastal restoration to expand the development, innovation and efficiency of weather-forecasting technol- ogy. Housed under NOAA, the National Weather Service (NWS) provides each American's local weather station with the crucial data informing daily weather forecasts. NWS receives the data used in its models from satellites and buoys operated by other divisions within NOAA. For example, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) operates and coordinates NOAA satellites in partnership with NASA. In space, these satellites collect data daily to feed forecast models and provide the essential services that inform weather watches and warnings. Given the complexity and cost- liness of the advanced technology that drives NESDIS, robust government support is critical to the success of the program. In addition to weather forecasting, NOAA supports the nation's coastal communities and the ocean econ- omy through the National Ocean Service (NOS). NOS works to ensure safe and efficient transportation and ocean commerce, provides expertise in responding to oil and chemical spills, and manages marine sanctuar- ies and protected areas. The detailed information they provide safeguards our coastal economy and marine re- sources; without NOS, the valuable resources contained in our oceans could be badly damaged. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are one such threat to our marine and costal ecosystems, and they have prolif- erated in the last few decades. During an algal bloom, algae grows rapidly and in large quantities, blocking sunlight and increasing the oxygen content of the wa- ter. Higher oxygen content can suffocate fish and other marine species, like coral reefs. Moreover, some species of algae emit toxins that are harmful not only to marine life but also to humans. Currently, Florida is fighting off a bloom that has resulted in deaths of more than 100 manatees and 200 Kemp's ridley sea turtles. In order to address this toxic concern, the NOS has a number of pro- grams dedicated to monitoring, preventing, controlling and mitigating HABs. NOS provides public access to early-warning systems, allowing the public to see where blooms are located and where they might spread in the future. NOS collects bloom data using satellite imagery, buoy data, field observations and public health reports. By supporting this important office, NOS will be able to more accurately predict these events and track a variety of other threats to the health of our oceans. In addition to algal blooms, marine and coastal eco- systems face a number of dangers, including marine de- bris. Scientists estimate that every year approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean, posing risk of ingestion and entanglement to marine life. The Marine Debris Program (MDP) is NOAA's response to our mammoth ocean plastics problem. MDP's mission is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris. I am looking forward to working with NOAA and

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