The Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program was MARISA was established in September 2016 through a five-year cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). MARISA supports integrated, flexible processes for building adaptive capacity to climate variability and change in diverse settings in the Mid- Atlantic region, with an initial focus on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

MARISA is led by the non-profit RAND Corporation, in partnership with researchers in Penn State University’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, and the Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University, along with support from researchers in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. A separate NOAA award for a Chesapeake Bay Coastal Climate Extension pilot program support the participation of researchers from the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences.

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Objectives and Activities

MARISA will rely on scientific models and information alongside close interactions with stakeholders and decisionmakers to achieve its objectives.

Collaborating and integrating research and outreach

Integrating researchers and communities through a problem-driven, interactive and transparent approach. MARISA will work closely with community leaders, policymakers, practitioners, and academics, to create useful information and decision-support tools that strengthen the resilience of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and other parts of the region to climate variability and change.

Assessing risks and vulnerabilities

Closing knowledge gaps about climate-related risks and responses across the Mid-Atlantic region. MARISA will develop climate data and tools to understand vulnerabilities in diverse contexts, including a comprehensive flood risk assessment for Chesapeake Bay communities.

Improving adaptation and planning strategies

Developing planning tools to identify and evaluate adaptive integrated water resources management options. The tools will help to ensure sustainable freshwater availability, ecosystem vitality, and economic prosperity in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and elsewhere in the region.

Educating students and communities

Training graduate and undergraduate students and community members to understand real-world challenges and opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic region. The trainings will equip stakeholders with the skills necessary to assess and address climate risks in the region.

Supporting regional climate assessments

Informing and organizing ongoing national and regional climate assessments through coordination with other regional climate programs.

Evaluating progress

Evaluating MARISA’s progress and the combined impact of multiple, adjacent regional climate programs. Periodic program-based evaluation will improve planning and operations.

About the NOAA RISA Program

Other NOAA-supported RISA teams include:


MARISA Principal Investigators

Debra Knopman, Ph.D.
RAND Corporation

Klaus Keller, Ph.D.
Department of Geosciences
The Pennsylvania State University

MARISA Program Manager

Krista Romita Grocholski, Ph.D.
RAND Corporation

MARISA Climate Information Office

Robert Nicholas, Ph.D.
Earth and Environmental Systems Institute
The Pennsylvania State University