Miami-Dade County

UM-led team wins $125 million grant for climate, hurricane research

A 38,000-gallon tank at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Studies is helping researchers better understand how hurricanes work and is part of research the school is conducting for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A 38,000-gallon tank at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Studies is helping researchers better understand how hurricanes work and is part of research the school is conducting for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Courtesy Gort Photography

A research team led by the University of Miami working to unravel what made Hurricane Sandy tick and how climate change will play out in the short term has won up to $125 million in federal grants.

The Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) won the grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to carry out research over the next five years.

Deputy Director David Die said the award validated UM’s decision to expand the team to include all the major universities in Florida and the Caribbean studying marine science.

“It’s a first review which was critical to us,” Die said. “We were in uncharted territory in putting all the research institutes together.”

UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science began working with NOAA in 1977. But in 2010, the school added other universities, now numbering 10, to become one of 16 regional teams doing basic research for the agency.

The team has provided much of NOAA’s research into Hurricane Sandy, hoping to provide a better understanding of how the unusual storm caused so much damage — an estimated $65 billion in 24 states. The team has also provided key research into dwindling Atlantic tuna populations that are helping NOAA revive the fishery. Members are also conducting reef research that may lead to an expansion of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Die said.

Along with UM, the team includes Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State, Nova, the University of Florida, University of South Florida, the University of the Virgin Islands, the Florida Institute of Technology and the University of Puerto Rico.

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