The Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) has been awarded a five-year, $64.8 million cooperative agreement with NASA. Established in 1999, ESSIC is a joint center of the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that supports research, teaching and career training in Earth system science.
The award will enable UMD to continue and expand its close collaboration with NASA Goddard, building on a legacy of nearly two decades of world-class research in meteorology, oceanography, terrestrial physics, hydrology, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystem science and satellite earth observations. The broad goal of ESSIC is to understand the relationships between Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land masses and biosphere, with an eye to the influence of human activities on Earth’s coupled systems.
“An understanding of our planet has never been more important, and ESSIC is well-placed to address some of the most pressing questions in Earth system science,” said Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, interim director of ESSIC and a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD who serves as the cooperative agreement’s principal investigator. “We look forward to the next five years of collaboration with NASA Goddard and our many other academic and government research partners.”
ESSIC links research efforts at UMD’s Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Geology, and Geographical Sciences with the Earth Sciences Directorate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. ESSIC also has a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support satellite research focused on weather and water forecasting models and predictions. By fostering close integration within the university community and among government partners in NASA and NOAA, ESSIC serves a unique role as a collaboration hub within the national Earth system science research community.
“Through our powerful scientific partnership, we have right here one of the world’s major clusters of Earth system science,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Their scientific research will make a major contribution to addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.”
Over the next five years, ESSIC will prioritize projects within six major research themes:
“We are looking forward to continued work with ESSIC and UMD on important research areas such as atmospheric processes, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and hydrospheric sciences,” said Torry Johnson, NASA Goddard’s Technical Officer for the ESSIC cooperative agreement.
Some recent ESSIC research highlights include:
“All of us at ESSIC look forward to building on our record of success by tackling new challenges in Earth systems research over the next five years,” Miralles-Wilhelm said. “We are confident that our strong partnerships with NASA, NOAA and others will enable us to support the vibrant Earth system research community, both here in the greater Washington, D.C. area and beyond.”
March 15, 2017