NASA awards $36 million to UMD for earth systems study

December 14, 2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - NASA has awarded a $36 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland to continue collaborative research in the field of earth systems science.

The five-year agreement funds an already established partnership between NASA's Earth Sciences Division, located at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GFSC), and the university's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) to study and forecast impacts of the Earth's connected systems on global and regional environment, weather and climate.

"With NASA's space-based observations and the university's research expertise in earth systems science, we can look at how the atmosphere, oceans, land surface and frozen regions interact and make predictions about future impacts," says Tony Busalacchi, director of ESSIC and professor in the university's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

The agreement will continue to give GFSC's Earth Sciences Division access to ESSIC's academic and research faculty, students and its collaboration with NOAA, including ESSIC's partnership with NOAA's National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in the University of Maryland M Square Research Park and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS).

Research to be funded by the agreement includes study of aerosols and human-generated pollutants that travel long distances through the atmosphere and oceans; how models and observations are being used together to investigate how the Chesapeake Bay breeze affects surface air pollution levels and deposits over the Chesapeake Bay watershed; ways to improve drought monitoring; and real time analysis to detect falling snow on a variety of surfaces.

Other projects include an on-going activity to make a global flood and landslide technique available for decision-making to reduce disaster around the globe; and determining how satellite observations can better diagnose ground level air pollution.

"The interdisciplinary research embodied by this new cooperative agreement demonstrates how the NASA/Goddard-ESSIC-University of Maryland partnership is focused on delivering science in support of society," says Busalacchi.
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Over the past 15 years, the university has built on its long tradition of excellence in atmospheric, climate, biological and earth science to develop major partnerships with NASA, NOAA and other federal agencies in the areas of earth science, remote imaging, climate change and energy research, including the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between the university and the Department of Energy and the collaborative UMD initiative Climate Information: Responding to User Needs (CIRUN).

University of Maryland

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