UMBC Launches New Institute to Study Climate Change Under NSF Grant

University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) professor Maryam Rahnemoonfar is heading up research under a $13 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to analyze data on melting polar ice and what it means for sea-level rise. 

Last month, the NSF announced a $75 million investment to establish five new Harnessing the Data Revolution Institutes, one of which —  the NSF Institute for Harnessing Data and Model Revolution in the Polar Regions, or iHARP — will be housed at UMBC and lead by Rahnemoonfar.

According to an NSF press release:

The institutes support convergence between science and engineering research communities, bringing together expertise in data science foundations, systems, applications and cyberinfrastructure. Together, they will enable breakthroughs through collaborative, co-designed programs to formulate innovative data-intensive approaches for addressing critical national challenges.

From reporting

Focusing on particular on the polar regions, the institute’s work is setting out to provide tools and algorithms for use by climate scientists as they make sense of a changing planet. Rahnemoonfar told that iHARP will apply advanced techniques such as data science, AI and machine learning to help make sense of the oceans of data being collected. There is atmospheric data from satellites, near-surface and from the surface in the Arctic and Antarctic that measures the thickness of the ice, as well as snow melt. Analysis tools can help link this disparate data about ice loss together, and with reducing uncertainty in the models for projecting sea level rise.

Learn more about iHarp and the NSF Harnessing the Data Revolution Institutes.