On October 12, 2021, prior to the failed COP26 summit, the Climate Program Office (CPO) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a total award amount of $171 million for 72 innovative and impactful projects designed to boost America’s climate resilience. It’s the highest five-year investment in the program’s history.
“These grants will spur the knowledge and innovation that is at the heart of President Biden’s executive order to tackle the climate challenge,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The Commerce Department and NOAA are committed to bold action and these new awards are critical economic and research investments that will improve the health and security of communities across America.”
Over the next one to five years, universities, other research institutions, and agency partners across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will work on these newly-funded projects in close partnership with NOAA laboratories and research centers.
The funding will be distributed over the life of the projects and future-year funding is conditional on appropriations.
This year’s funding is supporting a broad spectrum of climate research areas that include advancing environmental justice; improvements in climate models; advances in the use and understanding of ocean observations to enhance NOAA’s climate modeling; understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic affected local and regional air quality; advances in resilience planning for future flooding impacts and other coastal stressors; and studying how emissions and chemical reactions impact air quality and climate in the urban atmosphere.
“We have a narrow window of time to avoid costly, deadly, and irreversible future climate impacts,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “These new NOAA investments are essential to improve understanding of how to mitigate these impacts and bolster community resilience to climate change.”
CPO’s peer-reviewed competitive funding process ensures that proposals chosen to receive funding meet high standards of quality and equity, and that research inside and outside of NOAA is supported. These projects conducted by external partners expand the reach of NOAA’s mission and the frontiers of scientific inquiry.
“CPO’s foundational science helps us anticipate climate risks while CPO’s community resilience activities help us respond to those risks,” said Wayne Higgins, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s Climate Program Office.
CPO’s annual awards process is uniquely positioned to evolve with changing climate challenges. This year, the awards address several new and urgent priorities.
For example, CPO’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program is expanding its capacity to build climate adaptation and resilience through collaboration with communities across America. For FY21, RISA is funding engagement activities in two new geographic areas: the U.S. Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) and the Southeast region (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama).
Some of the new funding will also support the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which trains the next generation of leading climate researchers who will serve the nation and support NOAA’s mission.
Additionally, in response to greater demand for NOAA’s climate adaptation and resilience strategies, CPO’s Climate and Societal Interactions division has launched a new Adaptation Science research program to advance the knowledge, methods, and frameworks necessary to move society toward widespread climate adaptation and resilience with economic and societal benefits.
Image courtesy of NOAA Climate Program Office.