NYSG Knauss Fellow Recounts Lift-off of NOAA's New Satellite
Education - News

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2009 - On June 27, New York Sea Grant Knauss Fellow Jay (Jeb) Berman was on-hand for the launch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) newest weather satellite.

Jeb and several other congressional staffers joined NOAA's Deputy Undersecretary Mary M. Glackin and other NOAA representatives for a briefing and tour of facilities at Kennedy Space Center prior to viewing the launch of NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-O (GOES-O) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. 

“A lot of the issues that I cover, like fisheries, marine protected areas or endangered species, are managed by the National Ocean Service or National Marine Fisheries Service, so the GOES-O launch was a really unique opportunity for me to see how a different NOAA line office operates and contributes to the agency as a whole,” says Berman. “Plus, getting to watch a rocket being shot into space was pretty amazing.”

"This GOES satellite will provide critical observations for numerical weather prediction models, including those models our group uses to couple with ocean models in order to improve wave and storm surge forecasts around New York's coastal waters," says Brian Colle, Associate Professor at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
The new GOES-O satellite lifted off at 6:51 pm (EDT) atop a Delta IV rocket and separated from the launch vehicle at 11:12 pm (EDT). Having successfully reached orbit, the satellite joins three other GOES spacecraft that help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar storms.  “Reliable satellite coverage helps us see severe weather as it develops,” said Mary E. Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. “With more than a thousand tornadoes touching down in the United States each year, and hurricanes a serious risk to residents along the Gulf and East coastlines, it’s critical GOES-O is in orbit and ready when needed.”

Jeb first became aware of the Knauss Fellowship program while working in Washington, D.C. at the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), where his frequent interactions with Knauss Fellows, Congressional staff and Members of Congress during the 109th and 110th Congress motivated him to seek out a graduate education in environmental policy. “When the Magnuson-Stevens Act was being reauthorized [during the 109th Congress], I could see that the ability to quickly, accurately and concisely convey complex marine science was critical to its successful incorporation into legislation on Capitol Hill," he says.

Berman currently works in the office of Representative Mike Thompson (CA), where he's focusing on a variety of ocean and coastal legislative issues. "Every day we get new scientific data about the economic, social and ecological importance of the ocean, so it's clear that marine scientists have a wealth of information to contribute in developing policy," he adds. "The Knauss Fellowship has been a fantastic experience that allowed me to contribute to that process by translating complicated marine science into something that is more easily understood and relevant to ongoing ocean policy debates."

Jeb holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where he focused on synthesis, analysis, and translation of scientific knowledge for public and political audiences.

The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program matches highly qualified graduate students like Jeb, who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources, with "hosts" in the legislative branch, executive branch, or appropriate associations/institutions located in the Washington, D.C. area for a one-year paid fellowship. The Knauss Fellowship meets NOAA's mission goal of "Protect, Restore and Manage the Use of Coastal and Ocean Resources Through Ecosystem-Based Management." The program is sponsored by NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program.

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