Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – North Carolina (CICS-NC)

Since 2009, NCICS’s primary activity has been operating a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Institute.


This work began with the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), which was formed in 2009 through a national consortium of academic, non-profit, and community organizations, with leadership from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and North Carolina State University.

CICS consisted of two principal locations, referred to as CICS-MD, located in College Park, Maryland, and CICS-NC, hosted by NCICS and co-located with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina.

CICS was administered as part of the NOAA/NESDIS/STAR Cooperative Research Program Institutes, which is the first experiment by NOAA and academic institutions to engage a geographically dispersed, diverse set of more than 20 partner institutions across the United States to address environmental change, prediction, and potential impacts.


With the CICS cooperative agreement set to expire in mid-2019, NOAA released a Federal Funding Opportunity in November 2018 seeking proposals for a new Cooperative Institute that would continue and build on the work done by CICS. NCICS staff worked closely with our partners at the University of Maryland (UMD) and an expanded consortium of other institutions and organizations to develop and submit a comprehensive proposal. In May 2019, NOAA announced that UMD and NC State would host the new Cooperative Institute for Satellite and Earth System Studies (CISESS).

We look forward to continuing our partnership with NOAA and UMD as we expand on the success of CICS. See CISESS for more information on the new Cooperative Institute.

Vision, Mission, and Accomplishments

From 2009 to 2019, CICS-NC’s multidisciplinary team of experts collaborated in climate and satellite research to support the “research to operations” strategy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA NCEI).

To learn more about CICS-NC’s wide-ranging research, outreach, and engagement activities, click on CICS-NC or search this site on “CICS-NC.”

Our work was guided and organized around the vision, mission, and focus areas listed below.

CICS-NC Vision

  • CICS-NC inspires cutting-edge research and collaboration
  • CICS-NC advances NOAA’s mission to understand and communicate the current and future state of the climate
  • CICS-NC engages with business, industry, academia, and the public to enhance decision-making

CICS-NC Mission

  • Promote collaborative research into the use of in situ and remotely sensed observations in Earth system research and applications, led by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information
  • Innovate new products and methods to understand the state and evolution of the full Earth system
  • Facilitate regional economic development through its engagement activities
  • Prepare the next generation of the workforce needed to address climate science and its applications
  • Engage with corporate leaders to develop a climate-literate society

Focus Areas

  • Access and Services Development — Improving access to and utility of climate data products for users
  • Climate Assessments — Supporting interagency activities for national and regional assessments of climate change
  • Climate Data Records and Scientific Data Stewardship — Providing high-quality satellite and in situ observing datasets that document the Earth’s climate
  • Climate Literacy, Outreach, Engagement, and Communications — Advancing the public’s knowledge and understanding of climate information and climate change, including climate impacts and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation
  • Surface Observing Networks — Sustaining and improving climate in situ observations and observing networks
  • Workforce Development — Training the next generation of skilled climate scientists
  • Consortium Projects — Augmenting CICS-NC capabilities through CICS consortium member partnerships

These focus areas were supported by the different divisions in NCEI; NOAA Line Offices such as the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS), Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), and the National Weather Service (NWS); the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and North Carolina State University.