Penn State to partner with U. of Oklahoma on severe weather research institute


Huge dark cloud with a dark funnel coming down and touching the earth

A mature tornado

Image: NOAA

UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa. – Penn State will be one of the partners in the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s new Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations (CISHIWRO) hosted by the University of Oklahoma (OU). The award comes with up to $208 million over five years, with the potential for renewal for another five years based on successful performance.

“We are excited to work with our partners in CISHIWRO and NOAA to advance the understanding of severe and high-impact weather and improve NOAA’s ability to provide accurate and actionable forecasts and warnings of these hazardous weather events,” said David J. Stensrud, head of the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences and professor of meteorology at Penn State.

The mission of CISHIWRO is to conduct severe and high-impact weather research to improve the understanding of severe and high impact weather in collaboration with NOAA. OU leads the cooperative institute with, besides Penn State, new partner institutions Howard University, Texas Tech University and University of Albany. The institute will also collaborate with the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M), in addition to others.

“The acronym CISHIWRO better represents the breadth of research, the transition of research to operational products and the cooperative institute,” said Greg McFarquhar, director of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS).

CISHIWRO will continue to address some of NOAA’s major research themes, in addition to new research areas. The five research themes include: weather radar and observations research and development, mesoscale and storm-scale modeling research and development, forecast applications improvements research and development, subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction for extreme weather events, and social and socioeconomic impacts of high impact weather systems.

“This award provides resources for CISHIWRO to advance observational tools and apply high-resolution weather models to quantify uncertainty, produce National Weather Service forecaster training and online resources, understand S2S forecasts, and determine the societal impact of weather phenomena,” said McFarquhar. “Another critical component of our work will include educational and outreach opportunities, including those to underserved populations. NOAA and OU’s support is critical for advancing our research and mission.”

CISHIWRO transitions into a long-standing center of excellence, formerly known as CIMMS, and known for research in mesoscale meteorology, weather radar and regional climate, and transitioning many research products into National Weather Service operations.

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