CICS Holds Science Meeting in North Carolina

The Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, better known as CICS, is made up of two distinct branches of the organization, one in Maryland and one in North Carolina. The Maryland branch operates out of the University of Maryland while the North Carolina branch operates from NC State, however, both feature collaboration from other university systems as well as climate organizations.

The main role of CICS is to assist NOAA in efforts to use satellites and current Earth systems to gain a better understanding of climate patterns of the present and future and to be able to observe exactly what is going on with our climate. This features things such as observation but also extends to modeling and outreach to inform people exactly what is going on with the current state of the environment.

In November, both the Maryland and North Carolina divisions of CICS met in what was their 2nd Annual CICS Science Meeting at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. For two days, scientists from both groups collaborated and gave presentations on current climate models and initiatives as well as goals and policies of CICS.

Dr. Hugo Berbery, the Associate Director for CICS, attended the meeting with Director Phil Arkin and three or four other scientists from the University of Maryland branch. Scientists at the meeting gave presentations on the research objectives that they have, the tasks that they are developing and some examples of their activities, said Berbery.

While the Maryland branch and North Carolina branch perform research separately, the Maryland branch is responsible for project development and administration, helping to avoid overlap between the two.

The CICS meeting this year gave scientists a way to better communicate their different projects.

“This gave us an opportunity to interact with CICS North Carolina.  There are common areas that we can be developing further,” Berbery said. “Sometimes if you are doing similar things you can take advantage of that with communication so it will have more value.”

While some of the projects are more localized to the individual Maryland or North Carolina locations, CICS scientists are generally working on a global scale, with projects that focus on satellite research.

CICS is a partnership between the University of Maryland and NOAA, where scientists conduct research on NOAA satellites to that NOAA employees may not have time to do themselves.

“There is much work on satellite projects and calibration and developing of algorithms on developing satellite products,” Berbery said.

Using the NOAA satellite products as the basic element for their studies, CICS scientists were also presenting on modeling and predictability studies.

For example, the satellites take can take measurements of radiation, which can then be converted in to precipitation measurements or climate measurements.   Other scientists make sure that raw information is correctly assessed by using things like measurements taken from the ground to validate the ones taken from the satellites in space.

Another main area of CICS achievements is using the satellites to develop long-term data records in which you could have as much as thirty years of precipitation estimates from satellites.

Berbery said that each presentation at the consortium brought something interesting to the table.

“In general all research has its value, and it would be difficult to separate something to say this is what really stands out,” said Berbery. “Everyone is doing interesting work.”

Berbery said that one of the important objectives of the meeting was to help the CICS scientists develop ties, something that the consortium accomplished successfully.

“I attend and I organize many meetings, and you always learn from these meetings, so I was very happy in the way that it turned out.”

(Related: See ESSIC News Highlight on CICS Meeting.)