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The Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS)


University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149
(305) 421-4159


Dr. Benjamin Kirtman

Research Themes

  • Climate Research and Impacts – understanding oceanic and atmospheric processes associated with global and regional climate change on various temporal scales and the impacts of climate variability and change; Includes research to determine effective regional adaptation strategies, and developing and studying new climate information products and tools appropriate for evolving user needs, particularly in the Southeast United States and the Caribbean.
  • Tropical Weather –  improve the understanding and prediction of hurricanes and other tropical weather systems. Research activities include identifying and validating observational needs, developing instrumentation, obtaining and analyzing observations, studying the optimum configurations for observation networks, modeling and data assimilation, expediting and facilitating the transition of research to operations, and developing analysis and forecasting applications for operations.
  • Sustained Ocean and Coastal Observations – collection and analysis of observations of the ocean and coastal environment that are important for understanding and monitoring geophysical, chemical, and biological processes for all timescales, particularly along the Southeast U.S. coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the high-seas Atlantic Ocean. Research activities under this theme include the development and improvement of ocean and coastal observation platforms and instruments that measure the ocean and coastal environments including biological, physical, and chemical characteristics; studying the optimum configurations for observation networks; modeling, data assimilation, and diagnostic analysis of local, regional, and global data sets; and information product development
  • Ocean Modeling – improve model representation of ocean processes and particularly the processes governing sea surface temperature, upper ocean heat content, and salinity variability including air-sea exchanges, heat-flux, lateral ocean advection, and entrainment at the base of the ocean mixed layer that play a significant role in controlling short-term variability in ocean and coastal circulations as well as long-term variations of the climate system that affect biological, chemical, and geophysical processes in the Southeast U.S. coastal areas, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the high seas Atlantic Ocean. Also required are observations and modeling of the ocean from the surface to the ocean floor to improve understanding and, eventually, forecasting of climate variability and climate change.
  • Ecosystem Modeling and Forecasting – improve forecasting of the structure and function of marine ecosystems including the provision of ecosystem services, particularly in the Southeast U.S. coastal ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystems. Model research and forecasting topics include: human health (e.g., beach closings, fish contaminants, and harmful algal blooms), fish recruitment and productivity, and protected species sustainability and recovery, all of which will be used in the assessment and management of living marine resources and their habitats. Research under this theme will also identify and improve the understanding of climate variability and change, as well as anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems and the effect of these changes on the interactions between people and natural systems at the global, regional, and local levels
  • Ecosystem Management –  promotes sustainable coastal development, facilitating community resiliency, and enabling an ecosystem approach to management in the Southeast U.S. coastal ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystems. These foci are based upon enhanced scientific understanding of the interconnections between the marine ecosystem and the adjacent watershed including their human health and resource stewardship implications including the effects of climate change.
  • Protection and Restoration of Resources – prototype development of technology, research tools, and scientific approaches to effective restoration, as well as biogeographical characterizations, will enable improvements in defining, observing, forecasting, and protecting components of marine protected areas and restoring habitats and populations to form healthy productive systems. Research under this theme will cover a wide range of problems from removing contaminants to providing new materials and techniques to protect underwater cultural resources, focused on the Southeast U.S. coastal ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystems.

Consortium Members

  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • NOVA Southeastern University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • University of South Florida
  • University of the Virgin Islands

Award Details

First 5-Year Award Second 5-Year Award
Award Number NA10OAR4320143 NA15OAR4320064
Award Period October 1, 2010 - September 30, 2015 October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2020*
Award Amount $50,000,000 $125,000,000
Performance Progress Reports October 2010 - June 2011
July 2011 - June 2012
July 2012 - June 2013
July 2013 - June 2014
July 2014 - June 2015
Final Report
October 2015 - June 2016
July 2016 - June 2017
July 2017 - June 2018
July 2018 - June 2019
CI Review by SAB March 2015

* CIMAS received a no-cost extension until September 30, 2021.
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Cooperative Institutes

About Us

The NOAA Cooperative Institutes are academic and non-profit research institutions that demonstrate the highest level of performance and conduct research that supports NOAA's Mission Goals and Strategic Plan. 

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