CICS-MD looks to future post-renewal

Reviving its five-year grant for an additional $93 million funding, the Cooperative Institute for Climate & Satellites at Maryland (CICS-MD) is focused on scientific expansion and integration.

“Basically for the last 5 years we have been doing a lot of collaborations with NOAA, and many of these collaborations have been on an individual basis in the sense that particular NOAA researchers work directly with a CICS scientist,” said Dr. Hugo Berbery, the CICS-MD director.

“It has been tremendously successful, but I think now with this opportunity of doing it for five more years, we can make it bigger and add other components that we have not had so far- such as people in different areas can team up and advance further efforts,” said Berbery.

CICS-MD focuses on research in satellite observations and Earth system modeling in support of the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service Center for Satellite Applications and Research and the National Weather Service/National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

“Most of the research is on satellites, satellite programs, and their application on climate research,” said Berbery.

Mr. Ralph Ferraro, Chief of the NOAA Satellite Climate Studies Branch, said that NOAA’s satellite program consists of two primary satellite programs -the geostationary satellites and the polar-orbiting satellites- separately, but the next five years may change this predisposition.

“There is now a vision in NOAA of trying to pull those satellite systems into a single product generation architecture,” said Ferraro. “For example, we might look at the sea surface temperatures from satellites, and right now we have one method for one type of satellite and another for the other satellite, but I think that in the next five years there will be the opportunity to use the two together to gather the data.”

Ferraro said that CICS researchers would be at the forefront of this work.

Berbery said CICS-MD also plans to work on its outreach program, training about 20 students and interns this summer in areas that are of interest to NOAA, leading to potential future career opportunities.

“We’re creating a proving ground, which is a work station system in which you can train people to use software that NOAA uses in operations,” said Berbery. “NOAA does not implement anything that people send to them, but tests them first.”

“We would be able to take it a step or two further by having our own set up here, so hopefully by this time next year we’ll have all that hardware,” said Ferraro, which would allow any new science conducted at the institute to be easily accessible for weather forecasters to use to test its impacts on their weather forecasts.

“Now we have enough of a basis, enough people, that we can start making [CICS-MD] bigger and better, creating areas in which we put our effort and we as an institute get to be known for our research,” said Berbery.