Federal Relations

April 23, 2009

NOAA Releases Research Update

The research update below was recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To Friends and Partners of NOAA Research:

There are several news items we would like to share with you today.


On March 11, the President signed the FY 2009 omnibus spending bill into law. The final bill provides a total of $4.37B for NOAA, an increase of $457M or 10% over the FY 2008 appropriation. It includes $408M for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which is $10.6M above the FY 2008 enacted amount. Attached is an updated table that shows the FY 2009 appropriations for OAR.

NOAA has submitted its spend plan for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to Congress. The Act provides $830M for NOAA, including a $170M increase in Procurement, Acquisitions, and Construction (PAC) for High Performance Computing (HPC) for Climate Modeling and Data. NOAA plans to procure and utilize two computing systems in separate locations that will improve the accuracy of seasonal climate and global climate change assessments. The two HPC sites will be selected by a competitive process and create jobs in manufacturing, construction, and software engineering.

NOAA press release on the ARRA spend plan

The FY 2010 President’s budget request will be released in early May. We will send an e-mail with FY 2010 budget information at that time.


Dr. Jane Lubchenco was officially sworn in March 20 as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.
Dr. Lubchenco’s entire career has been devoted to science, service, and stewardship – the core principles of NOAA’s mission. Under her leadership, NOAA will continue to strengthen its role as scientific leader and trusted steward of ocean and coastal resources.

On March 26, Governor Gary Locke was sworn in as the 36th United States Secretary of Commerce. He was the former governor of Washington, serving from 1997-2005. Governor Locke is a strong leader who advance NOAA’s efforts to predict changes in Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs.


On March 30, the President signed HR 146, the omnibus bill called the Public Land Management Act of 2009, into law. NOAA Administrator Dr.
Jane Lubchenco was present with President Obama at the White House for the bill signing ceremony. The measure includes over 160 land, water, and resources bills, and includes several provisions that affect NOAA.

NOAA-related pieces within the legislation include:

  • Ocean exploration – directs the establishment of an ocean exploration program within NOAA that promotes collaboration and coordination within the Federal government.
  • NOAA Undersea Research Program Act of 2009 – directs the establishment and maintenance of an undersea research program with a designated Director.
  • Ocean and Coastal Mapping Integration Act – calls for the coordination of a Federal ocean and coastal mapping plan for the Great Lakes and coastal state waters, the territorial sea, and the exclusive economic zone.
  • Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 – establishes a national integrated system of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing systems to address regional and national needs for ocean information, gather specific data on key coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes variables, and to ensure timely and sustained dissemination and availability of these data.
  • Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 – establishes an ocean acidification program within NOAA, directs NSF and NASA to continue research activities on ocean acidification, provides for the development and coordination of an interagency ocean acidification plan (to be sent to Congress not later than 2 years after enactment), calls for an assessment of impacts from increased ocean acidification, and authorizes research on marine ecosystem adaptation to increased ocean acidification.
  • Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELP) – amends the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 by authorizing the Secretary of Commerce to create a coastal and estuarine land conservation program.
  • SECURE Water Act – authorizes and facilitates the improvement of water management by the Bureau of Reclamation to require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy to increase the acquisition and analysis of water resources for irrigation, hydroelectric power, municipal, and environmental uses, and for other purposes. In addition, the bill directs the Secretary of Interior to coordinate with NOAA and its programs (i.e. RISA) to ensure that DOI has access to the best available scientific information regarding presently observed and projected future impacts of climate change on water resources.


Many briefings and hearings are already underway in the 1st Session of the 111th Congress.

In March, OAR’s Deputy Assistant Administrators Dr. Alexander MacDonald and Craig McLean gave several new Member briefings to introduce new Senators and Representatives to NOAA’s portfolio and to inform them of specific OAR projects in their state or district. Briefings included Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rep. Tonko (D-NY-21).

March 17-18 – Dr. Susan Solomon of the Earth System Research Laboratory
(ESRL) testified before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (Chair, Representative Alan Mollohan, D WV-3; Ranking Member Wolf, R-10-VA) on the current state of climate science. On March 18, the Director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and NOAA’s lead for climate services, Dr. Tom Karl, testified before the same committee on satellites and climate data records. The Committee also heard from Dr.
Antonio Busalcchi, Director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland; Dr. Richard Anthes, President of UCAR; Dr. Berrien Moore, Director of Climate Central; and NASA scientists Dr. Compton Tucker and Dr. Robert Bindschadle.

March 25 – Dr. Tom Karl testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Chair, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA-30; Ranking Member, Rep. Joe Barton, R-TX-6) on NOAA’s role in climate adaptation and recent efforts in helping the U.S. adapt to climate change. Discussion focused on the role of adaptation and mitigation.

March 31 – The House Committee on Natural Resources (Chair, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV-3; Ranking Member, Doc Hastings R-WA-4) held a hearing on the drought in California and actions taken by Federal and state agencies to address the effects on natural resources and resource users.
NOAA’s Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Mary Glackin, testified. NOAA presented testimony on efforts that NOAA’s National Weather Service, OAR, and National Marine Fisheries Service are taking to better predict drought conditions; to provide services for resource managers and the general public to prepare for and address drought conditions, (e.g., National Integrated Drought Information System activities, Hydrometeorological Testbed); and to stem the effects on ailing salmon populations.

April 22 – Later this month, OAR’s Deputy Assistant Administrator Dr.
Sandy MacDonald will testify before the House Committee on Science and Technology (Chair, Rep. Bart Gordon, D-TN-6; Ranking Member, Ralph Hall,
R-TX-4) on NOAA’s greenhouse gas and aerosol monitoring and research efforts.


On May 20th, NOAA will be hosting its 3rd annual NOAA Day on the Hill.
This year, the theme “NOAA Knows Climate” was chosen. NOAA Day on the Hill features displays and exhibits from all of the NOAA line offices, and is geared toward educating Members of Congress and their staff about how NOAA touches the lives of Americans every day. Last year over 250 people attended the event throughout the day, including over 200 Congressional staffers from the Senate and House. If you or your constituent partners are in town, you are welcome to attend the event.
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Location: The Foyer – Rayburn House Office Building
Time: 11:00-4:00 PM
Additional event planning is still underway.