Plants & Climate

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced plans for a new national research institute that has significant economic development impact and illustrates Asheville’s growing importance as a center for reliable climate change information.

The new research institute, to be known as the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), will be based in Maryland and Asheville and will help advance NOAA’s mission to understand and predict changes in Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet the nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs.

As the issue of climate change causes greater concern and significantly increased public investment, the Arboretum is assisting the community, region and State in understanding the relationship between climate change and plant-based industry sectors, the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian region and other aspects of plant science. There are a number of activities under way:

  • As an affiliate of the University of North Carolina, the Arboretum has been instrumental in building relationships between the University of North Carolina and NOAA, particularly with respect to a proposed research Cooperative Institute.
  • The Arboretum serves as the home and leadership for the Centers for Environmental and Climatic Interaction, Inc. (CECI) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is focused on supporting the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and other endeavors of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Arboretum’s executive director serves as the President of CECI.
  • Assisting with coordination of climate data users conferences to encourage participation among NCDC scientists, private industry professionals, academicians, and NGOs.
  • Supporting the efforts of NCDC with respect to its expanding role as a climate center of national importance.
  • Coordinating community and State efforts at attracting and growing climate-based enterprise.
  • Using the perspective and resources of the Arboretum to capitalize on the Southern Appalachian region as a natural laboratory for climate change impact research related to plant life. The Arboretum has identified this area of science as a priority for institutional research development.