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NOAA Gives UM Up to $310 Million To Continue Leading Climate And Ocean Research

Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Science (CIMAS) scientists have been studying the impact of warming oceans on reefs.

A research institute at the University of Miami that has tackled climate change, hurricanes and sick reefs is getting up to $310 million from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration to continue its work.

NOAA announced Thursday that UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science would again lead the institute for the next five years.

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“We are thrilled to lead this collaboration,” Rosenstiel School Dean Roni Avissar said in a statement. “In Miami-Dade County alone, we are fortunate to have NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and Southeast Fisheries Science Center.”

Credit CIMAS
Lisa Bucci is a CIMAS hurricane researcher who flies NOAA hurricane hunter planes to collect wind data.

The Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Science (CIMAS) is one of 19 institutes around the country that NOAA funds. More than a hundred scientists participate in the Rosenstiel-based institute, which includes 11 universities in Florida and the Caribbean. The first institute was started at the university more than 40 years ago and UM now employs about half the staff working at NOAA’s local labs.

NOAA considers the institutes a vital part of its mission to both study emerging issues — like increasing ocean heat waves — and to train future scientists. In the past, scientists have studied ocean acidification that can damage coral and helped improve weather forecasts by created shorter term climate projections.

The institute will continue to focus on climate research, coastal resilience and studying ocean conditions, NOAA said in a statement. Its ongoing work also looks for better way to protect ecosystems, like reefs, by building models to produce forecasts and inform management decisions.