The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has selected the University of Alabama to host a new cooperative institute to advance its flood prediction and water resource capabilities.
The goal of the new Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH) will be to improve NOAA’s ability to provide actionable water resource information for forecasts, watches, warnings and related products.
Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, said, “The new cooperative institute will work with NOAA to research and develop state-of-the-science water analysis, forecasts and guidance and the equitable delivery of decision-support services. This program will train the next generation of scientists focused on addressing water issues and emergencies on all time scales, helping NOAA build a ‘climate ready nation’ that is responsive and resilient in a changing world.”
The selection comes with an award of up to US$360m over the course of five years, with the potential for renewal for another five years based on successful performance. Funding is contingent upon the availability of federal appropriations. NOAA selected the University of Alabama as the host for the cooperative institute after an open, competitive evaluation. The campus is also home to NOAA’s National Water Center, the nation’s research to operations center of excellence for water resources science and services.
Led by the University of Alabama, CIROH will also include 13 other graduate degree-granting institutions. The consortium institutions are: University of Alabama Huntsville; Brigham Young University; Colorado School of Mines; Tuskegee University; University of Arizona; University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; University of Iowa; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Utah; Utah State University; University of Vermont, and University of Saskatchewan. The new institute also includes 14 other research partners.
The cooperative institute will focus on four research themes:
- Expansion and improvement of water resources prediction capabilities.
- Advancement and acceleration of community water resources modeling.
- Application of social, economic and behavioral science to water resource products and services.
- Advancement of hydroinformatics, which is the application of information and communication technologies to address increasingly serious issues of equitable and efficient use of water for different purposes.
Mary C Erickson, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said, “Flooding is a coast-to-coast threat, often generated by prolonged or extreme precipitation. This new cooperative institute and its research partners will help us develop and test new tools and methods to meet community needs for high-resolution water predictions and actionable scenarios to build local resilience.”
Erickson added that the institute’s close proximity to the National Water Center on the University of Alabama campus will enable the highest level of collaboration to accelerate innovation and research to operations.
NOAA supports 20 cooperative institutes consisting of 70 universities and research institutions in 28 states and the District of Columbia. These research institutions provide strong educational programs that promote student and postdoctoral scientist involvement in NOAA-funded research.