Thursday, November 18, 2004

Senate Passes National Ocean Exploration Program Act

Tuesday November 16th the United States Senate passed S. 2280 the National Ocean Exploration Program Act (the Act), which establishes a national ocean exploration program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in consultation with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other appropriate federal agencies. The bill was sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens and co-sponsored by Senators Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

The National Ocean Exploration Program Act creates for better coordination between NOAA and NSF. The Act expands ocean exploration to discover new marine substances that potentially have therapeutic benefits; studies unique marine ecosystems, organisms and the geology of the world's oceans; and maximizes ocean research effectiveness by integrating multiple scientific disciplines in the ocean science community.

The National Ocean Exploration Program Act also encourages NOAA to conduct archaeological and scientific voyages of shipwrecks and submerged sites. These voyages will lead to a greater discovery of maritime history. Examples of such sites include the archeological sites of the Attu battlefields and airfields, as well as parts of Kiska Harbor, the battlegrounds of the Aleutian Campaign of World War II.

And the money:
$45,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2010; and
$55,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2016.

Does this balance the cuts to NOS? Does this mean more offshore exploration and less nearshore research?

IODP drills through 55 million years

Nov. 16, Bremen, Germany--Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) scientists from ten countries gathered over the last two weeks to analyze sediment cores taken from 430 meters beneath the Arctic Ocean seafloor. Gathered by the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX) science party, the core samples are the first retrieved from the Arctic Ocean (ACEX) to reveal the past 55 million years of climate history.
According to ACEX co-chief scientists Kate Moran, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, and Jan Backman, a professor at Stockholm University, the core records indicate that the Arctic Ocean was frozen much earlier than previously thought. "We are trying to define the exact time when ice appeared, but it seems clear that perennial ice existed as early as 15 million years ago," said Professor Moran. Read full news release on IODP site.