2022 News & Events

NOAA and CIRES Team Receives Colorado Governor's Award for High-Impact Research

16 November 2022

The Marshall Fire: Historic firestorm illustrates some of the ways NOAA responds when disaster strikes. StoryMap: Chelsea Thompson, NOAA / CIRES and Theo Stein, NOAA

CO-LABS, a non-profit organization that supports Colorado's federally funded research centers, honors Colorado's top scientists and engineers for projects having a significant impact on society.

NOAA forecasters in the National Weather Service and NOAA scientists in the Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Global Systems Laboratory, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder receive a 2022 Colorado Governor's Award for High-Impact Research for "rapid-response science in service to communities after the Marshall Fire." The award for Pathfinding Partnerships, recognized CU Boulder and NOAA scientists and forecasters who worked around the clock to figure out how to serve citizens, emergency managers, and others with critical information before, during, and after the Marshall Fire roared through Superior and Louisville, Colorado at the end of 2021. The award recognizes a core team determined to help ordinary people make extraordinary decisions that day and after, and several dozen others whose work was essential. Their ongoing research promises to help guide wildfire response and mitigation long into the future.

Core team members include a forecaster who picked up on and warned about the likelihood of extreme winds, weather model developers who built the innovative system that allowed for that forecast, and researcher leaders who inspired teams to immediately began measuring indoor and outdoor air quality, working in concert with state and local air quality officials. The Pathfinding Partnership core team: CIRES Fellow Joost De Gouw and Associate Director for Science Christine Wiedinmyer; NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory's Steve Brown; NOAA National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Kleyla; and NOAA Global Systems Laboratory's Darrel Kingfield and Curtis Alexander. Other key researchers are from CU Boulder's Mechanical Engineering and Geography departments; NOAA's Chemical Sciences and Global Systems Laboratories and the National Weather Service; CIRES; and another cooperative institute, CIRA, the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.

Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federal science, research and engineering facilities in the nation, according to CO-LABS, a consortium of federally funded scientific laboratories, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders organized to showcase Colorado's research facilities. CO-LABS launched the Governor's Award for High-Impact Research in 2009. Awards will be presented on December 14 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.