$3 million in federal funds to enhance climate science, education

Aug. 29, 2012, 4 p.m.

The Cooperative Institute for Climate Science (CICS) at Princeton University will start its 10th year with more than $3 million in new federal funding to support climate science and education. U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced the new support Aug. 27 with the funding coming from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) on Princeton's Forrestal Campus has jointly operated CICS with Princeton since the institute was established in 2003.

CICS director Jorge Sarmiento, Princeton's George J. Magee Professor of Geoscience and Geological Engineering, said that the federal dollars will support graduate students, postdoctoral students and senior scientists conducting research related to the climate, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry and weather, among other areas. These early-career researchers will have the means to build influential research careers and in turn educate the next generation of climate scientists, Sarmiento said.

"Princeton's collaboration with GFDL dates back to 1967, and over that period of time, this collaboration has been a huge generator of highly talented and highly educated people working in the fields of climate science and related fields all over the world," said Sarmiento, who also is director of the University's Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

"This collaboration has graduated nearly 250 postdocs and 100 graduate students, almost half of whom hold faculty positions, with the great majority of the rest being in research positions, many at GFDL," Sarmiento said.

In announcing the funds, Lautenberg said: "Despite claims from misguided politicians, climate change is a real threat and addressing it is one of the most important challenges that confronts our nation. The extreme weather causing destruction in America and around the globe is simply a sign of things to come if we do not act to stem the worst effects of climate change. Princeton is home to some of the greatest scientists in the world and we're proud to help them advance climate change research."

Menendez said that the federal support will help Princeton retain the high quality of its climate research.

"There is great work being done by scientists right here in New Jersey that will help our state and our country adapt to our changing climate," Menendez said. "These funds will help Princeton stay at the forefront of the research that will help us combat global warming and understand more fully the implications of our changing weather."