President Obama’s FY 2015 discretionary budget request for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, totals $5.5 billion. This is $174 million over the 2014 enacted budget, an increase of 3.2 percent.
The proposed budget will enhance public safety and community resiliency to weather and climate disasters. It also makes smart investments in critical infrastructure and innovative science to better position NOAA for the future and continues efforts to strengthen the agency’s oceanic and coastal programs, its internal and extramural programs, all while maintaining strong fiscal discipline. The budget proposal supports vital NOAA missions and environmental priorities under the Commerce Department’s Open for Business Agenda.
“NOAA is one of the most valuable service agencies in the U.S. government,” said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We make science matter for millions of Americans thanks to the environmental intelligence from our network of earth observations, weather and climate forecasts, and assessments of marine life. We live on an ever changing planet, and our products and services help people live well and safely.”
The 2015 budget focuses on three areas:
– Investing in mission critical infrastructure: NOAA is the only federal agency with the responsibility to provide timely and accurate weather, water, ocean, climate, and ecosystem forecasts. Accordingly, this budget includes an additional $222.7 million to launch new polar and geostationary satellites and ensure essential information technology and physical infrastructure is in place to support NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation initiative and atmospheric and coastal monitoring programs.
– Strengthening scientific innovation: Developing the latest technological advancements and promoting an understanding of our planet is essential to keep NOAA products and services viable and invaluable to the American public. An increase of $40.6 million is proposed to advance electronic monitoring and next generation fisheries stock assessments, continue improvements to our weather products, and fund research and development related to drought, sea level rise, extreme heat, and climate impacts on living marine resources.
– Providing services to enhance community resilience: Last year, seven weather and climate related events caused more than $1 billion in damages. NOAA’s environmental intelligence is vital in preparing communities for the next disaster. This budget includes an additional $47.2 million to promote public safety and marine ecosystem health, enable sustainable economic activity, and strengthen coastal communities. Improvements include the expansion of coastal inundation tools that will enable better flood warnings and improved ecological forecasting for better detection of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.
Budget requests for NOAA’s five offices include:
– National Ocean Service (NOS),
– National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS),
– Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR),
– National Weather Service (NWS),
– National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).
In addition to its discretionary budget submission, NOAA includes investments in the Administration’s Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative ($180 million) as well as in its Climate Resiliency Fund ($75 million). More specifically, NOAA seeks funds to sustain observations and data gathering capabilities by constructing a NOAA ocean survey vessel; improve climate models and predictions so that scientists can better anticipate the impacts of future climate variability and change; and provide competitive grants to communities to improve coastal resilience to severe weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.
NOAA, March 14, 2014; Image: NOAA