bridges vol. 36, December 2012 / Institutions & Organizations
In October 2012, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially opened its newest outpost, a $76.5 million research and operations center on the outskirts of Washington, DC.
The new Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, in College Park, Maryland, will house more than 800 NOAA scientists, forecasters, and data wranglers in a state-of-the-art building designed to foster collaboration. Billions of Earth observations from around the world flow through environmental models (developed and managed in the new building) that support the nation's weather forecasts.
The Center will also help create "one of the greatest concentrations of earth scientists in the world," said meteorologist Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. That's because it sits just a short walk from the University of Maryland's earth science classrooms and a short drive from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said the Center is a welcome replacement for an aging building in Camp Springs, Maryland, that made collaboration between scientists and forecasters difficult. Now, she said, "researchers will sit side by side with forecasters" and be more able to share information and insights.
More than 13 years in the making, NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction will provide the nation with a broad range of environmental services – from predicting the hurricane season and El Niño/La Niña, to forecasting ocean currents and large-scale rain and snow storms, to predicting hurricane tracks and forecasting ocean currents. The Center is equipped to collect vast streams of data from satellites, buoys, and other platforms; crunch it in computer models; then distribute the results to users that include the US military and The Weather Channel.
The Center, which sits in a research park developed by the University of Maryland, will also oversee a partnership with the school that will pair federal researchers with undergraduates studying atmospheric and oceanic science, and will enable the students to become government-certified meteorologists and oceanographers.
A visiting scientist program will promote innovation in environmental prediction by offering rotating assignments to foreign meteorologists and scientists who will help accelerate science advances that support NOAA's mission. This mutual sharing of ideas and experience between US and international researchers, academics, and applied scientists will advance the field of atmospheric sciences and help to make the US weather-ready and capable of anticipating and responding to extreme weather, water, and climate events.
For further information, please visit:
NCEP – www.ncep.noaa.gov
NESDIS – www.nesdis.noaa.gov
ARL – www.arl.noaa.gov
NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction
5830 University Research Court
College Park, MD 20740
Tel. (301) 683-1314