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    October 2009

    Technology and Innovation Development

    UNC Asheville Strengthens Collaboration with the National Aeronautic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    UNC Asheville is home to the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), which applies knowledge from complex environmental data sets to the study of human-environment interactions. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), also in Asheville, is the world’s largest active archive of weather data. NCDC is already a key partner of NEMAC, and a new grant will enable that partnership and their collaborative discoveries to grow in the coming years. The CLEaR project will receive $1.238 million over 3 years for the development of visualization and outreach tools, undergraduate research, internships, and fellowships, and outreach.

    During the CLEaR project, UNC Asheville will collaborate with NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in the areas of education, research, and public outreach to reach the following desired outcomes:

    • Increased understanding of local and regional climate systems (especially those factors that cause drought) to enable policy and decision makers to efficiently and reliably plan and make informed decisions; 
    • Investigate climate-sensitive sectors and then effectively incorporating NOAA’s climate products into their plans and decisions;
    • Provide tools to enable a climate-literate public; and
    • Increased customer satisfaction with climate, drought and water information and services.

    UNC Asheville’s NEMAC collaborates with NCDC to meet these needs by developing visualization, outreach and decision support tools. More specifically, NEMAC will create a series of databases, geographic information systems (GIS) products, graphics, and visualizations that will tailor drought and climate topics to specific regions and audiences. NEMAC will develop an outreach program intended to introduce a wide range of practical, implementable climate change actions that local governments and groups can include in their planning processes. To accomplish this, NEMAC will coordinate a series of workshops and utilize not only the visualization and outreach tools mentioned above, but also the Climate Change Handbook for Planners. The Handbook was written under a previous NOAA grant to UNC Asheville. It deals with climate change issues associated with land use, transportation and other infrastructure, natural resources, building and site development, economic development, public health and public safety planning.

    Additionally, these workshops will have a three-fold purpose: 1) to gather information from specific constituent groups for the development of outreach tools; 2) to assist with the application of information to meet the requirements of the constituent group; and 3) to allow for continuous improvements during development. UNC Asheville undergraduate research interns will be vital to the development and progress of this project.

     

    For further information, please contact:

    Gerard Voos, Ph.D.
    Associate Director, MLA Program
    UNC Asheville
    (828) 232-5040
    gvoos@unca.edu