Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere Wins New Cooperative Agreement with NOAA

Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA, will receive up to $64.4 million from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration as a renewal of the two organizations’ research affiliation. Chosen through an open competitive process, the Cooperative Institute will continue to investigate satellite applications to improve regional and global-scale weather forecasts, water resource forecasts and provide integrated weather information to meet future aviation and surface transportation needs.

The new Cooperative Agreement begins July 1 and continues through June 30, 2014. CIRA is directed by University Distinguished Professor Graeme Stephens. Steven Miller serves as deputy director.

"NOAA’s selection of CIRA gives testimony to the strength and relevance of our research to NOAA’s mission, the creativity and productivity of our staff and the high regard which NOAA holds for the overall academic program at Colorado State University. We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with NOAA and leveraging multi-agency partnerships to address some of the key weather and climate-related challenges facing society," said Miller, deputy director of CIRA.

Working closely with NOAA researchers, CIRA will focus on improving satellite-based algorithms for weather forecasting; improving weather and climate models; developing techniques to integrate satellite, terrestrial, oceanic and biological observations; increasing our understanding of environmental changes on weather and climate; and developing effective and efficient methods to quickly distribute and display large sets of environmental and model data.

CIRA also will pursue studies to assess the value of NOAA research through societal and economic impact studies, and promoting education and outreach on behalf of NOAA and the university.

"Our partnership with CIRA provides CSU professors and students an exciting and challenging opportunity to collaborate with NOAA scientists on cutting-edge research," said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. "Improving the accuracy of weather forecast warnings and looking at short-term climate forecasts are important efforts toward NOAA’s overall mission to monitor and enhance weather and water information, improve decision making and promote environmental stewardship."

NOAA supports 22 cooperative institutes across the United States to promote research, education, training and outreach. Cooperative institutes collaborate with NOAA scientists, coordinate resources among all non-governmental partners and promote the involvement of students and post-doctoral scientists in NOAA-funded research.  

For the first time in its history, CIRA was chosen for the award by NOAA through a competitive process. In years past, the original agreement term, which began in 1980, was extended following a successful scientific review. This past year, NOAA outlined, via a request for proposals, the need for a new institute to investigate satellite applications for global and regional weather. The CIRA team was among several applicants evaluated through the open competition.

"Thanks to a solid track record of its own, the support of a world class Department of Atmospheric Sciences, collaboration with the nation’s top scientists and the support of the College of Engineering and the university for new faculty and additional facilities, CIRA was successful in competing for this award," said Bill Farland, senior vice president for Research at Colorado State.

CIRA and the Department of Atmospheric Science are part of Colorado State University’s College of Engineering.