A federal science agency has renewed a commitment with UW Madison. Steve Ackerman, director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies and UW meteorology professor, says CIMSS is all about cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In fact, there are eight full time NOAA staff on campus. “Now having a renewal, we’ll be working with NOAA again for the next five to ten years, finding not only new ways to analyze current satellite observations and imagery, but work with NOAA to define the next generation weather satellite,” says Ackerman.
NOAA recently announced that CIMSS will stay put for at least another five years, a decision which comes with up to 60 million dollars in funding and retention of 130 jobs. Ackerman says if you’ve see a satellite image on TV, Internet, newspaper or anywhere, CIMSS has played a role at some point. “Pretty much any satellite weather observation that’s made by the U.S. or by the world finds its way into this building” Ackerman says. “We us that data to develop products and to distribute them,” to weather forecast agencies and the public. So why haven’t more people heard of CIMSS? “That’s a good question,” says Ackerman. “I guess we just don’t brag enough.”
Madison has a long history in satellite weather forecasting. The core technology – a camera capable of holding its focus on one piece of Earth, and a sensor to record temperature and moisture data – was developed here in the 1960s.