May 29, 2024

AGU sends joint letter with 27 other organizations urging sustained funding for NOAA

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

On 16 March, AGU sent a letter with 27 other organizations urging sustained funding for various NOAA offices, including NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the National Ocean Service (NOS), as well as the various accounts that fund the Cooperative Institutes (CIs) in FY2025.


We, the undersigned members of the research, innovation, and environmental services community, write to urge strong sustained funding for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the National Ocean Service (NOS), as well as the various accounts that fund the Cooperative Institutes (CIs) in FY2025. These line offices and the CIs—which fund and represent a significant portion of NOAA’s collaborative activities with external partners—are critical sources for climate and ocean-related research, technology development, and the current and future weather- and climate-related workforce that directly benefit localities, states, and the nation on an everyday basis. We greatly appreciate the support you were able to provide these programs under a very difficult budget circumstance in FY 2024. However, the decrease in funding is already impacting NOAA’s ability to fulfill its mission, and further cuts as proposed by the budget request would mean devastating losses to NOAA research and its partner communities.


Programs and activities funded by OAR and NOS impact countless numbers of communities daily. For example, each state’s Sea Grant program works with its local coastal and Great Lakes stakeholders to address unique challenges. The Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) works to monitor and study the ocean conditions of each region of the country to the benefit of the entire nation. Simply put, research and engagement programs funded by OAR and NOS provide reliable and actionable science and data that protect lives and property while producing cutting-edge technologies to advance decisionmaking.


Most Cooperative Institutes are based at universities and are critical to producing actionable and policyrelevant science that benefits our country and its economy. CIs are part of the NOAA infrastructure and comprise a significant portion of the workforce at NOAA labs around the country. They are funded through a range of accounts and budget lines, and many of the NOAA labs would be seriously hindered in their missions without the CI synergies.


From predicting and gathering data on hurricanes to exploring marine ecosystems, anticipating droughts and modeling atmospheric rivers and other scientific endeavors in between, these lifesaving activities would not be possible without NOAA’s external partners, so many of which are supported by OAR and NOS.


The proposed Administration budget for OAR, NOS, and the CIs would result in canceled research, curtailed outreach and engagement, loss of current and future workforce, and a significant reduction in NOAA’s ability to carry out its mission. These long-established efforts cannot easily bounce back if faced with significant cuts — for even a single year — as so many ongoing research projects and educational programs cannot be restarted once they are interrupted.


Examples of categories of activities that are supported by OAR, NOS, and the CIs include: • Ocean exploration and mapping research, provides critical information from mapping seafloor and mineral resources, marine ecosystems, and hazards to supply chains in addition to the development of new advanced ocean robotics and observational technologies.

    • Weather and atmospheric monitoring, advanced modeling and computing, and preparedness for severe weather events.
    • Ocean observing to ensure safety, predictability, and ecosystem health for the world’s oceans. This also includes monitoring and management of coastal zones for reef and marine ecosystem health, which is also essential to food security.
    • Climate research including a wide array of impact monitoring and feedback efforts such as ocean acidification, Harmful Algal Blooms, increased hazardous weather events, and impacts to industry.
    • Working with coastal communities and enhancing resilience, including addressing sea level rise, improving community planning, and preparing for future blue economy investments such as offshore wind, aquaculture, and sustainable fisheries.


We thank you for your consideration and ongoing support for these essential NOAA programs.