From the Director...
Previous directors have created a vibrant organization that exemplifies CIRA's mission to conduct research in the atmospheric sciences of mutual benefit to NOAA, Colorado State University and the nation as a whole. CIRA began with a fundamental understanding that problems related to weather and climate benefited directly from the interaction between theoretical innovation associated with Academic Departments and the practical impetus that a NOAA Institute could provide. This was a visionary viewpoint at that time CIRA was founded in 1980 but it is a viewpoint that has held true for thirty years and is as true today as it was then. Thus CIRA stands today, with manpower versed in weather, climate, data assimilation, and computational infrastructure, ready to realize future gains in Weather and Climate related research and application.
CIRA is a Cooperative Institute between NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Data and Information System (NESDIS) as well as its Office of Applied Research (OAR) and Colorado State University. Within the University, CIRA is collocated and draws heavily upon the Dept. of Atmospheric Science but has broad connections within the College of Engineering as well as Agricultural and Natural Sciences. In addition to the staff at its Fort Collins campus, a significant CIRA presence exists at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder focusing on modeling and data distribution with additional staff at NESDIS' Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) in College Park, Maryland working on satellite algorithm development and at NOAA's Aviation Weather Testbed in Kansas City, MO.
In addition to its staff, CIRA has a number of research groups imbedded within its structure. NOAA's Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) is imbedded at the Fort Collins facility where it conducts research in Tropical Cyclones, Severe Weather, Hazard Detection as well as Satellite Research and Application. CIRA also hosts the Geosciences and Atmospheric Research Center as well as a research group attached to the National Park Service and a representative from the Western Governor's Association. The Geosciences and Atmospheric Research Center (GC/AR) focuses on Department of Defense related research, focusing heavily on clouds and precipitation while the National Park Service group focuses primarily upon Air Quality and Visibility studies at the Nation's National Parks.
Scientists working on CIRA and CIRA-related research projects are tremendously productive and continue to discover and publish results in scientific journals, technical manuscripts and public media. This new knowledge transcends time scales from our understanding of weather to our understanding of climate, climate variability and climate change. It positions CIRA at the intersection of weather and climate that is likely to grow significantly in importance to both NOAA and the nation as we start to view not only weather, but also climate, as having important implications to our local ability to deal with global issues.
As CIRA enters this new era with over 140 employees having diverse skills and backgrounds in weather and climate, cloud physics, data assimilation, satellite data exploitation, computing, education and outreach, as well as University connection into most disciplines, there is no challenge that CIRA cannot embrace as it moves forward.
Director of CIRA and Professor of Atmospheric Science