By Evan

By the time this is posted, I hope that the US government shutdown is old news. Though I vowed to not read the news, something this big is hard to not hear about. Plus there is the fact that pretty much every government website, include those with geophysical and geological data, are completely shut down. Recently, I have been studying the tilting of large lakes due to post-glacial rebound, and a bunch of the data are on the NOAA website. Of course, when you go to website now, you get this:

noaa_shutdown

Unfortunately, most geophysical data are not considered to be necessary to protect lives, so they are down. I am very lucky that I downloaded the data that I needed before October 1st, otherwise I would be out of luck!

Still, even if it was down, I would not be as affected as those who study Antarctica. As there is no end in sight to the shutdown (or at least there wasn’t when I wrote this on Thursday), the US Antarctic station at McMurdo Station must be evacuated before they run out of operational funds on October 14. Without guaranteed funding soon, it will not be possible to send people down to do research. I would assume it wouldn’t be a complete wash if an agreement is found soon, but in all likelihood, most activities will have to be cancelled. The shutdown affects the New Zealand and French-Italian bases, which run joint operations with the US. I’m sure that Bianca is relieved she doesn’t have to rely on the US base.

McMurdo Station - shut down
McMurdo Station – shut down

Times might also be tough for students who rely on the National Science Foundation for funding. The NSF is not paying out any funds during the shutdown:

For those already funded by NSF: NSF will make no payments for the duration of the shutdown. If a report on your research is due, you won’t be able to submit it because Research.gov will be closed. No one will be available to process no-cost extensions, so “federal funds cannot be obligated for expenses that occur beyond the expiration date.”

All I can say is that I am glad I am not a researcher in the US right now. Things will probably get really nasty if the October 17 debt ceiling is reached.