OSU Joins New Climate Institute Commissioned by NOAA

Oregon State University will join with the University of Washington and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES). This new institute is dedicated to our changing climate and how to deal with it – especially in our coastal regions. Funding will be provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will provide as much as $300 million to the three universities over the next five years, at the end of which the Institute’s performance will be evaluated. 

“Increasingly, our scientific challenges require novel collaborations that span regional-to-global scales and include the human dimension,” said Roberta Marinelli, Dean of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, in an interview with OSU’s Michelle Klampe. “This new institute will provide a wealth of expertise and innovation to advance the science that underpins NOAA’s mission.” 

Melanie Fewings, an Associate Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, told Klampe, “The ocean and atmosphere drive important changes in fisheries, coasts and communities. We are working to understand what controls the speed and size of those changes, including marine heat waves like in 2014-15 and 2019, and the impacts on fisheries and coastal economies.” 

Justin Wettstein, an Associate Professor at OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, told Klampe, “This new institute brings together researchers with expertise in atmosphere-ocean connections that reach from the equator to the poles.” 

The headquarters of CICOES will be at the University of Washington, but it is described as being housed jointly with OSU and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center. Its Executive Director will be John K. Horne, a professor of the UW Department of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. 

NOAA already funds 16 similar institutes around the country, intended to extend the agency’s ability to conduct research and train students who may become future NOAA employees. 

Oregon State already works with NOAA through the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.  

By John M. Burt