In FY16 NOAA’s Planet Stewards Education Project (PSEP) grew to 950 formal and informal educators and engaged over 2,230 educators in monthly webinars and seven face-to-face workshops held in Boulder, CO, New Orleans, LA, Salt Lake City, UT, Detroit, MI, Charleston, SC, Long Beach, CA, and at the National Science Teachers Association national conference in Nashville, TN. These in-service opportunities focused on the regional impacts of climate change, hands-on education activities, and exploration of technologies and innovations in Earth-system science. Webinars and workshops were given by nationally recognized climate scientists, educators and communicators, and attendees learned about sea level rise, impacts to fisheries and habitats, using models to teach climate change, framing conversations about climate change, severe weather, coastal resilience, water resources, and climate games. Post webinar and workshop evaluations showed that 98% of all attendees learned from their experiences and 94% planned to use what they learned in their work over the next year, sharing the information and resources they received with over 82,645 colleagues, youth and adults.
As part of the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative (OSTP) NOS sponsored two National Climate Game Jams in FY16 through a network of federal agencies, universities, schools and informal institutions. Students in grades 5-16 and adults were challenged to develop game prototypes related to the impacts of climate change. Kickoff events at the White House and at the California Academy of Science on October 2 challenged the participants at 11 locations to develop engaging digital and analog games for many ages. 30 games were developed over the 48-hour time period and submitted for judging by game and climate experts. Winners were invited to the National Museum of Natural History to showcase and playtest their designs. Prototype ideas included a role-playing game that put the player in the position of a coral farmer working to restore a damaged coral reef, a board game that challenges players to manage resources, and a habitat game about how migration forced by climate change affects territorial interactions of owls. A second game jam was held April 16 - 24, 2016 at 9 sites, resulting in17 game submissions focused on the unique challenges climate will bring to water resources. Game jams offer students and adults opportunities to interact with climate and game experts to learn about the impacts of climate change and resilience through science-based experiences.
Ocean Today teamed up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to create the widely-successful 15-minute video, “Trash Talk”, which explains what marine debris is, how it affects our ocean, and what people can do to prevent it. Nominated by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the video received a Regional Emmy® in the category of Informational/Instructional Program or Special. This is exciting recognition of outstanding work and an important acknowledgment of the value of increasing public awareness about the issue of marine debris.
NOS priorities depend on rapid access to essential information. In support of all NOS priorities, NOS IT has committed to an enterprise cloud strategy and presence. Cloud computing promotes faster product delivery and access to data at a more efficient cost. ORR has hosted ERMA and DIVER in the cloud since 2014 for ensured access and availability. In FY15 and FY16, NGS improved response time by over 50% and achieved annual cost savings of $40,000 by delivering emergency response imagery from the cloud.
NOS further established its cloud presence in FY16: NCCOS migrated scientific information and tools, and is processing proto-type scientific data models in hours compared to the months consumed by traditional computing resources. OCS migrated its IOCM website for improved content management and availability. CO-OPS deployed a Continuity of Operations development site, with plans to establish improved failover resilience capability. OCM is moving 50TB of data to back up production level geospatial data. ONMS cloud plans will move them away from geographically at-risk localized hardware-based solutions. IMO sponsors resources for cloud coordination and administration and is extending on-premises infrastructure to support secure cloud operations. NOS led the effort to deploy the first ever NOAA-wide cloud-based GIS helpdesk system.
NOS uses its online presence to reach the ocean-interested public. Traffic to the NOS website increased 38% during FY 2016 compared to FY 2015; monthly website traffic peaked at an all-time high 2.4 million visits in May, 2016. The number of Facebook “likes” grew more than 57% (from 64,413 to 101,262) and the number of Twitter followers grew more than 13% (from 129,480 to 146,820). During its 30-day National Ocean Month campaign, NOS reached more than 1.4 million users on Facebook. Also in FY 2016, NOS completed several Reddit 'Ask Us Anything' sessions featuring NOS scientists. The AUA on Harmful Algal Blooms reached an estimated 10.36 million people and included more than 180 questions. NOS launched its Instagram in June 2015, which closed out FY 2016 with 13,060 followers.