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University of Oklahoma selected to lead weather research partnership

November 7, 2011

The Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, a partnership between NOAA and the University of Oklahoma, recently won a NOAA funding competition that extends the partnership for at least five and up to 10 years. CIMMS is located in the National Weather Center Building on the University of Oklahoma Research campus in Norman, Okla.
High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA has selected the University of Oklahoma to continue a federal/academic research partnership that focuses on weather radar research, improving forecasts for severe storms, and improving our understanding of extreme weather and short-term regional climate.

Following a competitive selection process, NOAA chose the University of Oklahoma to continue this partnership, the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS), which was first formed in 1978.

CIMMS is one of 18 NOAA cooperative institutes nationwide. NOAA funds cooperative institutes at universities with strong research programs relevant to NOAA’s mission. These institutes provide resources and opportunities that extend beyond the agency’s own research capacity.

“The University of Oklahoma is a strong partner in helping NOAA improve weather radar, storm models, and other technologies that enable us to warn residents about dangerous weather with greater lead times,” said Alexander MacDonald, Ph.D., chairman of the NOAA Research Council and deputy assistant administrator for the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “We are very pleased to continue our collaborations through this cooperative institute.”  

The partnership allows researchers at the University of Oklahoma to receive support for research projects that may involve NOAA scientists. CIMMS scientists may collaborate with any NOAA scientist, but most often work with those in the National Severe Storms Laboratory and five National Weather Service (NWS) units: the Radar Operations Center, Storm Prediction Center, Warning Decision Training Branch, the Norman, Okla., Weather Forecast Office, and the NWS Training Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Total NOAA funding is variable from year to year and is based on the number of projects the lead university proposes and NOAA approves.

“We are especially delighted to continue our involvement with NOAA at such a crucial time for environmental stewardship,” said Peter J. Lamb, Ph.D., CIMMS director. “Devastating tornado outbreaks last spring and continued drought across the south central United States are just two recent situations illustrating the need for the kind of research we do with NOAA and other agency funding.”

CIMMS will focus on five research themes:

  • Weather radar research and development;
  • Stormscale and mesoscale modeling research and development;
  • Forecast improvements research and development;
  • Impacts of climate change related to extreme weather events; and
  • Social and socioeconomic impacts of severe weather systems

NOAA supports cooperative institutes to promote research, education, training, and outreach aligned with its mission. Cooperative institutes also coordinate resources among all non-government partners and promote the involvement of students and post-doctoral scientists in NOAA-funded research. This unique setting provides NOAA the benefit of working with complementary capabilities of a research institution that contributes to NOAA-related sciences ranging from satellite climatology and fisheries biology to atmospheric chemistry and coastal ecology.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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