Penn State joins $360 million national water research effort
Penn State will join a national consortium led by the University of Alabama to translate water research into operations that improve the nation’s ability to predict weather hazards and effectively manage water resources.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funded the effort with $360 million, a portion of which will support Penn State’s contributions. Administered by Alabama Water Institutethe grant establishes the consortium as the Cooperative Institute for Research and Operation in Hydrology (CIROH).
Chaopeng Shenassociate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will lead Penn State’s efforts, which will primarily focus on using artificial intelligence to better model and predict how water quality and quantity may change due to a certain number of factors, from drought to hurricanes.
“This consortium offers a phenomenal opportunity for hydrologists to connect their areas of expertise to advance our collective understanding and public welfare,” said Shen, who is also affiliated with the Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences. “By integrating AI to accelerate forecasting, modeling and various applications, we can produce highly accurate and precise forecasts to help the country deal with variable water conditions. Penn State will offer assistance to CIROH regarding the hydrological modeling based on machine learning and the integration of physics and machine learning.
CIROH is comprised of hydrology researchers from 28 academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government and industry partners across the United States and Canada. The team will develop and deliver national hydrological analyses, forecasting information, data, advice and equitable decision support services to inform critical emergency and water resource management decisions. CIROH will also work closely with two federal organizations located on the AU campus – NOAA National Water Center and recently announced U.S. Geological Survey Hydrological Instrumentation Facility.
“We are now beginning the real work of co-producing research with NOAA and other partners that will benefit society and provide learning opportunities for students for years to come,” said Steven J. Burian, Executive Director of CIROH, Scientific Director of AWI and Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at UA. “The research innovations provided by [CIROH] improve flood and drought predictions, increase the efficiency of water resource management, protect water quality, and enable stakeholders to make confident and timely decisions.
The 14 members of the CIROH consortium include: the University of Alabama; Brigham Young University; Colorado School of Mines; Tuskegee University; University of Alabama at Huntsville; University of Arizona; University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; University of Iowa; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; The University of Saskatchewan; University of Utah; University of Vermont; and Utah State University.
Other consortium partners include: Baron Weather Inc.; Coastal Carolina University; Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrological Sciences Inc.; Dauphin Island Marine Laboratory; Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System; Jupiterian Intelligence; New Mexico State University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; RTI International; Stevens Institute of Technology; University of California, Davis; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and the University of South Carolina.