CAPE CORAL, Fla — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed the $750 billion health care, tax, and climate bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, into law. $3.3 billion of the new legislation has been earmarked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration over the next 5 years.
NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad says “This Act’s significant investment in NOAA will allow us to address the growing demand for information and facilitate new products and services.”
“These funds are critical for maintaining what we have but also advancing to the next step; advancing all the science; advancing all of our products and services,” said Dr. Sarah Kipnick, NOAA’s Chief Scientist.
The Inflation Reduction Act is the second of two funding legislations that NOAA received in the last year. The first came from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last November, in the form of $2.9 billion Funds from both legislations are going to improve supercomputing, which will improve forecast models.
“To be able to get those calculations quickly and be able to build our models to be a higher resolution to get more local scale processes in the physics, but also local scale where people actually live,” said Dr. Kipnick.
The new law also sets aside $100 million dollars for NOAA to acquire a new Hurricane Hunter Aircraft. NOAA says the investment will help sustain its ability to provide hurricane observations in the future. NOAA currently operates 3 hurricane hunter aircraft out of Lakeland, Florida, 2 with the ability to fly into the eye of the storm.
“With Hurricane Hunter going into the actual storms and capturing the information of what is happening in the storms at a small scale,” said Dr. Kipnick. “We can get the physics and the microphysics, at a really tiny cloud scale. It all combines to make the models better for our forecasts, for our predictions, and our projections.”
Dr. Kapnick says improving our data collection and observation as well as our modeling will not only help science but also improve the lifesaving and property protection mission of NOAA.
The full breakdown of the funding includes:
- $2.6 billion for NOAA to assist coastal states, the District of Columbia, Tribal Governments, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education to become more prepared and resilient to changes in climate.
- $150 million for NOAA to accelerate advances and improvements in research, observation systems, modeling, forecasting, assessments, and dissemination of climate information to the public.
- $50 million for NOAA to administer climate research grants to address climate challenges such as impacts of extreme events; water availability and quality; impacts of changing ocean conditions on marine life; improved greenhouse gas and ocean carbon monitoring; coastal resilience and sea level rise.
- $190 million for high-performance computing capacity and research for weather, oceans, and climate.
- $20 million for NOAA to conduct more efficient, accurate, and timely reviews for planning, permitting, and approval processes.
- $150 million to replace aging facilities and construct new ones, including piers, marine operations facilities, and fisheries labs.
- $50 million to construct NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuary facilities that will enhance and expand National Marine Sanctuaries facilities.
- $100 million for NOAA to acquire a new Hurricane Hunter aircraft.