The melting of sea ice in Antarctica has global impacts. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Antarctica: More Than Penguins

Most homebuyers don’t think about Antarctica when buying beachfront property. But maybe they should. The 5.4 million-square-mile Antarctic ice sheet is melting, and scientists estimate that if it disappeared completely, sea level would rise by 200 feet. While no one expects complete melting to happen in the immediate future, competing pressures are increasing the rate of ice melt, whose impacts will be felt in varying ways around the globe – and could even affect that beachfront buy sooner rather than later. In addition to Antarctica’s globally significant role in sea level rise, ocean and atmospheric circulation, and carbon cycling, it has a unique ecosystem that offers myriad opportunities for scientific research. Last week, at a congressional briefing hosted by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), scientists discussed the changing Antarctic and research opportunities in light of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s strategic vision for NSF-supported research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over the next ten years.

Committee members highlight importance of geosciences, funding, and correct statistics on scientific integrity from previous hearing.

Updated NSF Policies & Procedures Guide

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published an updated version of its Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide. Part I of the guide consists of proposal preparation and submission guidelines, while Part II is comprised of award, administration, and monitoring guidelines.

Southwest view of the Pentagon with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in background (1998). (Credit: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force/ Wikimedia Commons)

Carter Creates New Department of Defense Post: Chief Innovation Officer

With only a few months left before his tenure as Defense secretary expires, Ashton Carter took one more step to drive home his oft-repeated point that the the Pentagon needs more “innovation” in its bloodstream, in case anyone has failed to take notice so far. On Friday, Carter ordered the establishment a new senior office within the Pentagon: the DoD Chief Innovation Officer. Its creation was first suggested by members of the Defense Innovation Board he created earlier this year, preceded by his standup of the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental(DIUx).

The Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology is asking for input on its 10-year ocean research plan.

Subcommittee On Ocean Science And Technology Requesting Written Input On Ocean Research Plan

The Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), is requesting written input on the structure and content of its upcoming 10-year ocean research plan (tentatively titled “Ocean Research in the Coming Decade”). This new Plan will supersede the NSTC’s “Charting the Course for Ocean Science in the United States for the Next Decade: An Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy,” that was published in 2007 and updated in 2013.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on reducing regulatory burdens. (Credit: Kris Krüg/WikiCommons)

Six Years After The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, the Gulf of Mexico and the lives and livelihoods of those dependent on it changed after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sent oil gushing from the sea floor for 87 days. Efforts are still being made to understand how the 3.1 million barrels of oil and 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersant (used to break the oil into smaller droplets) have and will affect life in the Gulf of Mexico – both aquatic and human – and the ecosystem itself. At a congressional briefing sponsored by retiring Representative Sam Farr (CA-20), experts came together to discuss the state of understanding of the effects of the spill and direction for the future.

An aerial view of Norfolk Naval Station, the largest naval base in the world. (Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher B. Stoltz/Released)

Creating A Game Plan For Resiliency Against Rising Seas

Imagine Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world, complete with fourteen piers and eleven aircraft hangars, submerged by seawater. That scenario is not far from reality — Norfolk is located in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, which has seen the highest rates of sea level rise along the eastern coast of the U.S. Its vulnerable location and vital importance to the nation made the area an ideal pilot project, born out of President Obama’s 2013 executive order for the U.S. to prepare for the impacts of climate change. The two-year Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Project (IPP) was launched in 2014 and headed by Old Dominion University.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has released a new report. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Another Star for NASA: An Accomplished New Associate Administrator

Have you ever wondered what the formation of a galaxy far, far away has to do with climatic changes on Earth? If you answered “no,” rest assured that you’re not the only one. But the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) focuses on the interconnectedness of science and examines how discoveries in one discipline affect other areas of study.