University of Maryland-led Consortium Wins Renewal of $93 Million NOAA Climate Institute

For Immediate Release
July 1st, 2014
Contacts: Mark Baith,

University of Maryland-led Consortium Wins Renewal of $93 Million NOAA Climate Institute

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The University of Maryland will continue to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supported Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) for the next five years, following a renewal of the existing cooperative agreement for the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019.

Initiated in May 2009, this partnership between NOAA, University of Maryland, North Carolina State, and 17 other institutions is one of the largest research consortiums in the country, both in funding and number of organizations involved. It benefits NOAA by providing it with the ability to draw from talent and researchers nationally, as well as across disciplines.

“An exciting aspect of this Cooperative Institute is that helps bring together activities at two different NOAA facilities,” said Antonio Busalacchi, Director the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), which administers CICS at University of Maryland.

Busalacchi furthered that collaborations between the two facilities have helped transcend traditional agency partnerships.

“NOAA’s National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction at the University of Maryland’s M-Square Research Park and NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina are within the context of a network of university, private sector, and non-governmental organizational partners.”

According to Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Executive Director of CICS and member of ESSIC, the breadth and depth of effort during the past five years enabled the continuation.

“We’ve been doing five years of very intense research collaborations with NOAA,” said Miralles-Wilhelm. “Our performance has been good enough that they’ve decided to renew it for another five years.”

Miralles-Wilhelm indicated that CICS will receive $93 million in funding over the next five years to continue research programs already in place. This includes rainfall, oceanography, climate, and expanded water research.

“For example, we want to expand our support to NOAA related to water and research activities on flooding, droughts and river forecasting, as well as water resources management,” said Miralles-Wilhelm, who replaced previous director Phillip Arkin in July 2013.

The consortium focuses on collaborative research in satellite observations and Earth System modeling, conducted by scientists in both the consortium institutions, as well as researchers in NOAA’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and the National Weather Service (NWS).

While the renewal came with the stipulation that existing institutional partners remain unchanged, the program has expanded its base to include additional researchers.

Miralles-Wilhelm said he’s hopeful the program eventually leads to international collaborations and partnerships.

“I think we’ve grown up as an institution and we need to expand upon what we’re doing,” said Miralles-Wilhelm. “Maryland’s role in the consortium is very important because we’re not only the conduit of the work we carry out with NOAA, but we’re also in charge of managing the consortium.”

Media Contacts
Mark Baith
Earth System Interdisciplinary Center