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NOAA: Earth Had 13th-Warmest March on Record

Graphic of March temperatures

The Earth experienced the 13th-warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, as the climate phenomenon La Niña continued to be a significant factor. The annual maximum Arctic sea ice extent was reached on March 7 and tied with 2006 as the smallest annual maximum extent since record keeping began in 1979. The monthly analysis is from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. 

Scientists, researchers and leaders in government and industry use NOAA’s monthly analyses to help track trends and other changes in the world's climate. This climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.  Read more of today's report

NIST Zeroes In On Energy Consumption of Ice Makers

Image of refrigerator freezer

In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds.

With only one-fourth of the extra energy actually used to cool and freeze water, "there are substantial opportunities for efficiency improvements merely by optimizing the operations of the heaters associated with the ice makers" or by introducing a more efficient alternative technology, report NIST mechanical engineer David Yashar and guest researcher Ki-Jung Park.

Since refrigerators account for 8 percent of the total energy consumed by 111 million U.S. households according to the Department of Energy (DOE), the potential savings are significant.  Read more

Secretary Locke Tours Rexnord Industries and Addresses Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

Secretary Locke Inspects a Rexnord Industries Product

Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Milwaukee, Wisc., today and delivered the keynote address to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, discussing the Obama administration’s strategy to spur job creation, promote innovation and energy independence, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.

Earlier in the day, Locke toured Rexnord Industries, a leading manufacturer of process and motion control and water management products with operations and associates worldwide, and highlighted the importance of exports to strengthening the economic recovery.  He also hosted a roundtable discussion with local small- and medium-sized businesses to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing and their ideas to encourage the recovery.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Locke at today’s events.

Secretary Gary Locke Takes Nationwide New Markets, New Jobs Tour to New Orleans to Help Small Businesses Export

Locke, Van de Werken and Landrieu

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to New Orleans, La. today for the third stop of New Markets, New Jobs: The National Export Initiative Small Business Outreach Tour. Locke was joined by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Export-Import Bank Board Member Diane Farrell.

Locke delivered keynote remarks at the event, where he spoke about the administration’s efforts to support President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports in five years in support of several million new jobs. The NEI enhances the U.S. government’s trade promotion efforts, increases credit to businesses looking to export, and continues to improve efforts to remove trade barriers for U.S. companies in foreign markets.

Locke also announced the department’s CommerceConnect Gulf Coast initiative to support economic development following the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and highlighted a forthcoming announcement from the Department’s Economic Development Administration of grants to the region totaling $1.85 million. Cross-trained CommerceConnect staff – in collaboration with state and local partners – can assist Gulf Coast businesses no matter where they are in their life cycle, whether just getting off the ground or looking to expand into overseas markets, providing a one-stop connection to business assistance that can help firms compete in the global economy. 

Commerce Department Wraps Up Trade & Investment Program to Hannover, Germany with Promising Business Leads for Participating Economic Development Organizations

Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

I’m excited to report that it was a very productive and successful five days for the 21 organizations that joined the U.S. Department of Commerce last week for an exciting exporting opportunity. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)/International Trade Administration (ITA) Trade & Investment Program to Hannover Messe 2011 ended on Friday with promising leads for U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) pursuing potential foreign investors and trading partners.

The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by EDA and ITA and its U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) and Invest In America (IIA) programs. This type of interagency collaboration is very important as we work together to increase the global competitiveness of America’s regions. The mission aimed to promote the Obama Administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the United States. 

In total, our participating EDO’s held more than 400 meetings with potential foreign investors.  These connections are the first step in building relationships that can support regional growth and help create new jobs here at home.

Commerce's NTIA Urges Businesses to Prepare to Transition to IPv6, Announces Release of "Readiness Tool"

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today urged businesses to prepare for the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), an updated Internet addressing system, with the release of a new "IPv6 Readiness Tool."

All devices that connect to the Internet, such as computers, smartphones, and smart grid technologies, require an Internet Protocol (IP) address.  IPv6 is designed to expand the number of IP addresses available because the current number of Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) addresses will eventually exhaust. While industry action and planning are needed, consumers do not need to take action to prepare for the IPv6 transition.

The new tool, a comprehensive checklist for businesses preparing to deploy and adopt IPv6, was developed by experts from industry and the Internet technical community in response to a call from White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra at an IPv6 workshop hosted by NTIA last September. 

"The IPv6 transition will pave the way for a next-generation Internet," said White House CTO Aneesh Chopra. "I urge all U.S. businesses that depend on the Internet to make the IPv6 transition a priority by starting the planning process now."

The planning tool outlines IPv6 preparedness issues, such as the technical needs associated with deployment. The purpose of the tool is to help business leaders identify readiness issues and to bring these issues to the attention of senior corporate management to ensure successful IPv6 deployment and accelerated innovation.

"The development of this tool demonstrates the value of bringing together stakeholders to address today's pressing Internet issues," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "The IPv6 transition is critical to the continued growth of the Internet, an engine for facilitating commerce and economic growth. We will continue to highlight the importance of this issue and encourage companies to share best practices to further IPv6 uptake."

The IPv6 readiness tool and further IPv6 resources can be found here.

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

NIST Cloud Computing Conference Covers Cloud’s Global View, Working Group Results

Kundra and Marcus, seated

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is holding the Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III on April 7-8 at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus.  At this morning's keynote, the theme was “A Global View of Cloud Computing” and it featured a discussion between U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Alan Marcus, the Senior Director, Head of IT and Telecommunications Industries, World Economic Forum USA.

Kundra has called upon NIST to help accelerate the federal government’s adoption of secure cloud computing practices by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector, other government agencies and other stakeholders.

Working groups that were formed during the NIST Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop II in November 2010 will provide progress reports on a range of cloud computing issues throughout the meeting.

NIST scientists are demonstrating Koala, a simulator of a cloud service model. They are using modeling and analysis methods developed to study complex systems to understand the behavior of a cloud during both normal and highly stressed operations. A panel on Friday, April 8, “Cloud Innovation: Math and Science,” will explore innovative uses of the cloud and how it can be leveraged in the scientific process.

Learn more about NIST’s cloud computing initiative.

Safeguarding 21st Century Innovation

Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Guest blog post by Teresa Stanek Rea who is Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The economic security and vitality of the United States has always been deeply rooted in American innovation. Time and time again, the story of our growth has been written by the daring drive of entrepreneurs, willing to roll the dice on a great idea. Today, I had the privilege to hear from a group of such bold thinkers in Minneapolis, Minn., and I learned that instrumental to 21st century growth is a 21st century infrastructure that readily allows small businesses to protect their ideas and move them to the marketplace swiftly and cost-effectively.

That’s why the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been working diligently with the White House to build a stronger, more efficient patent system.

Census Bureau Releases New Data on Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released new data on Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners. The number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in the United States increased 31.1 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 37,957 businesses. These firms generated $6.5 billion in receipts in 2007, a 51.6 percent increase from 2002. This compares to a 17.9-percent increase in the total number of U.S. businesses between 2002 and 2007 and a rise in total business receipts of 32.9 percent.

The Survey of Business Owners: Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses: 2007 provides data on the number and percent of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses, sales and receipts at the national, state and local levels, as well as other detailed information. The survey is conducted every five years as part of the economic census. The 2007 survey collected data from a sample of more than 2.3 million businesses.

“This important look at the economic activity of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses is the only comprehensive and regularly collected data on this group,” said Tom Mesenbourg, deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “These data confirm that businesses owned by Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders continue to grow both in number and in sales at rates that are faster than national rates for all businesses.”

States with the highest number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses were Hawaii, with 11,383 firms (30.0 percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses nationwide), and California, with 9,255 firms (24.4 percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses nationwide).

For more results from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, visit http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo/.