Researchers at Princeton and NOAA Lab awarded $40 million to fund new institute

Researchers at Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory have been awarded up to $40 million over five years to fund a new cooperative institute that focuses on Earth system research.

The Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System’s mission is to understand and predict the Earth’s climate system across time scales from days to decades, with a focus on extreme weather and problems such as drought and air quality.

The new institute will continue a collaboration that was begun under the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science, which was founded with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 15 years ago. The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is located  in Plainsboro.

“Through this collaboration, the university contributes academic expertise that advances the study of a broad Earth system model that incorporates biogeochemistry to improve our understanding of the Earth and its future,” said Jorge Sarmiento, a professor of geoscience and geological engineering at Princeton University.

Sarmiento will be the director of the new institute. Gabriel Vecchi, professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, will be the deputy director. Sonya Legg, senior research oceanographer in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, will serve as the associate director.

The institute combines the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory’s expertise in climate modeling, which involves the use of computer models to predict climate change, with Princeton’s scientists and engineers, as well as public policy experts who shape national and international responses to Earth system change.

Research will involve graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at both institutions, providing opportunities to train the next generation of leaders in Earth system sciences through the graduate and postdoctoral programs in Princeton’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. The institute will also broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in Earth system science through summer internships, visiting faculty exchange fellowships and research collaborations with a diverse range of institutions.

The joint institute will be one of 16 cooperative institutes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supports to conduct research and provide educational programming to students and postdoctoral associates in oceanic and atmospheric science.