CREST themes are in line with NOAA goals: Climate Adaption and Mitigation, Weather Ready Nation, Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies, Healthy Oceans. The research under each Theme, which is generally related to more than one NOAA Goal, has evolved naturally from CREST’s previous work, and additions to CREST faculty, and is designed to support NOAA’s Strategic Plan, its Goals and Enterprise Objectives and NOAA’s Education Strategic Plan, and as well as plans and visions included in NOAA’s Five Year Research Plan and Twenty-year Research Vision. Thus, CREST work covers environmental satellite related research activities directed towards sustaining healthy coasts, improving understanding of human-climate interactions, improving weather forecasts and warnings, improving environmental forecasts and analysis and addressing satellite meteorology research and applications, satellite sensors and techniques, and environmental models and data assimilation.

Theme I - Climate

Climate change happens whether or not global warming occurs, but clearly global warming has happened whether other changes can be ascribed to it or not.
The proposed work under this theme serves to investigate and quantify the fast feedback processes on climate change that arise from the global variations of energy and water exchanges among the climate system components (atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere) and to evaluate how these same processes affect the local surface environment, especially severe weather events in urban and coastal environments. 

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Theme II - Weather and Atmosphere

This research core focuses on lower and middle atmosphere remote sensing and modeling. The projects will apply remote sensing observations at a variety of scales from local to global, analyzing satellite measurements together with complementary ground-based observations to improve key atmospheric products, and develop tools and/or models which can be used to improve these including boundary layer height, aerosols, ozone, water vapor, and clouds, important to both climate and weather. At the same time, a coupled modeling efforts will be employed that use CREST atmospheric products and observations to improve high resolution urban weather and air quality forecasts. A key strength unique to CREST in this area has been active remote sensing for vertical profiling of the atmosphere via development of the CREST lidar network (CLN) of multi-wavelength lidar systems along the Atlantic coast from New York to the Caribbean (PR). The network has matured and as part of GAW Lidar Observation Network (GALION), it makes regular observations that allow understanding of planetary boundary layer (PBL) dynamics, long range transport of aerosols in aloft plumes, water vapor profiling, and aerosol-cloud interactions. This capability is further augmented by sky-radiometer observations in the visible and microwave range. Lidar data from satellite observations (CALIPSO) has also been used to characterize cirrus and polar stratospheric clouds. 

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Theme III - Land Processes and Water Resources

CREST has placed a particular focus on the improvement of flood monitoring and forecasting at local, regional and global scales to help NOAA to advance its capabilities in predicting and monitoring extreme events. Techniques to assimilate satellite imagery to infer river discharge and impact of ice on river hydraulics were developed by CREST scientist in joint project with NOAA experts. In addition, CREST scientists have successfully inferred precipitation intensity and extent as well as thunderstorm development. These accomplishments have been strongly consolidated by the implementation of several observation facilities such as weather stations, the NOAACREST Microwave Observation Unit which now comprises three dual-polarized radiometers and a dense in situ network. CREST will build upon its recent accomplishments and continue to support NOAA in reaching its goals, particularly in achieving a Weather-Ready Nation. 

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Theme IV - Coastal and Ocean Waters

CREST has focused on developing measurement techniques and algorithms to improve retrievals of inherent optical properties (IOPs) coastal waters for assessments of water quality needed for effective response and planning. That included hyperspectral field measurements, in and above water reflectance and comparisons with satellite data and radiative transfer simulations using Hydrolight, examining the effects of atmospheric corrections. Promising improvements in retrieval techniques have been demonstrated: notably near IR algorithms (less susceptible to spectral interference) for Chl retrievals and harmful algal blooms (HABs) detection in coastal waters, neural network (NN) approach for IOP retrievals and harmful algal blooms (HABs) detection. These approaches will now be coupled with modeling techniques to arrive at effective coastal water IOP and constituent retrievals, identification and tracking of HABs and other trace contaminants in coastal and estuarine waters. An important new impetus comes as a result the Long Island Coastal Observatory (LISCO) in Long Island Sound very recently established by CREST. This new facility dedicated to coastal studies, combines a multispectral.

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