Social Science

Center-Wide Social Science Framework

 Download NOAA Social Science Plan

The NOAA-Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (NOAA-CESSRST) funded by NOAA Educational Partnership Program is led by City College of New York (CCNY) in collaboration with five partner universities. The program is designed (Figure 1) to recruit education and train students in NOAA mission science, with collaborative engagement and integration of science with the social sciences within each CESSRST research project across its three thematic research areas: Coastal Resilience, Atmospheric Hazards, and Water Prediction and Ecosystem Services.  CESSRST’s Social Science theme is “ Application of Remote Sensing Technologies in Linking Earth System Sciences to Societal Wellbeing and Decision-making ,” and it aligns closely with NOAA’s Social Science Goal #2 of supporting and strengthening societal decision-making with NOAA and CESSRST research, products, and services.  CESSRST’s Social Science theme focuses primarily on


  •  Environmental Economics

·       Sustainability Science

·       Public Health

·       Planning and Policy

·       Population Science 

These social science perspectives have been integrated into CESSRST research and training programs.  The Social Science Committee will reach out to NOAA’s economists and social scientist from NESDIS, OAR and NOS Line Offices for feedback and direct engagement.


Social Science Training - Educational and curricula activities increase integration of the social sciences into the CESSRST research projects and mission.  One of our major tasks thus far has been to develop for students, Basic and Advanced Core Competencies in Socio-economic Drivers and Impacts of Earth Systems and Environmental Science The learning modules for the Basic Social Science Core Competency are being delivered to undergraduate and graduate students in the first cohort of the program this summer.  The Advanced Competency in Social Science is intended for CESSRST Master’s degree and Doctoral students who have already demonstrated basic competency, and for this, we expect students to focus on specific aspects of the Social Sciences that are particularly relevant to their research topic, entailing both advanced coursework and integration within their thesis or dissertation research.  The Theme leaders and investigators contribute to this effort by extensive mentoring of the CESSRST students on their research projects, and CESSRST’s Social Science seminars, roundtables, and symposia further reinforce the content of the core competency instruction.  These research projects all provide valuable training for the students who are involved directly in the research, and students will also benefit from the new social science-oriented courses.


CESSRST Social Science Research - All CESSRST research projects comprehensively incorporate social science theory and applications, and highlight the benefits of such integration in terms of policy ramifications and broader scope of research impacts for the nation. Specific projects have been identified in each of the three thematic research areas of CESSRST, which lend themselves meaningfully and effectively to a social science framework.  The sample projects shown in Table 1 incorporates the following elements:

·       Exploration of risk

·       Assessment of the impacts to human communities and ecosystems

·       Contribution to planning, decision-making, and policy recommendations

·       Better understanding of societal implications, including public health and socio-economic impacts

Each of the listed projects involved measuring, assessing, or predicting an environmental condition and determining its effects on populations or ecosystems by means of such techniques as index creation, modeling, or spatial analysis of impacts.  Geospatial, economic, and planning methods are utilized to estimate risks and potentially to advance mitigation efforts.


Table 1:  Sample CESSRST Projects with Social Science Elements



CESSRST Scientists Involved

Social Science Focus Area


Integration of coastal ocean observations into models for coastal hazard


Armstrong, Muñoz (UPRM);  Gilerson (CCNY); Tzortziou (CCNY); and students

Sustainability Science

Assessment of impacts of extreme rainfall events

Ecosystem health towards sustainability - Development of coastal water quality indicators

Tzortziou (CCNY); Cherrier (BC, CUNY);  Ahmed, Gilerson (CCNY); Armstrong, Munoz (UPRM); and students

Sustainability Science

Assess effectiveness of mitigation efforts

Weather Hazards - Storm and Storm Surge Prediction for planning and decision making

Booth, Luo, Gonzalez, Hosannah, Rossow, Shen (CCNY); and students

Planning and Policy

Mapping impacts of storm surge and flood hazard

Weather Hazards - Heat Stress and Urban Modeling for environmental literacy

Gonalez, Ramamurthy, Moshary, Arend, Norouzi, vant-Hull, Velez-Reyes, Shen; and students

 Population Science 


Urban Heat Index mapping for NYC

Hydrologic extremes – Demand sensitive drought risk assessment

Devineni, Lakhankar, Krakauer (CCNY); Norouzi (CUNY); and students

Sustainability Science, Planning and Policy

County-wide Drought Index map for US

Urban Flood Impacts on Economy

Lakhankar, Fekete, Devineni, Khanbilvardi, Ramamurthy (CCNY); Munoz (UPRM); and students

Environmental Economics


High-res extreme precipitation impacts mapping for NYC

Understanding the connection between food security and flood-drought Cycles for better Assessment of the impacts to human communities

Maantay (Lehman, CUNY), students

Public Health; Planning and Policy

Urban agriculture infrastructure benefit analysis


* All projects will include conference proceedings and presentations, journal publications and theses as the base deliverables. In addition, we will focus on outreach to engage local community, communicate, and engage in understanding various societal implications on human health and ecosystem services. All student cohorts will undergo core competency training as laid out in the social science training plan.

 NOAA Social Science Vision and Strategy Plan


Prepared by Juliana Maantay (Chair) and Naresh Devineni (Co-Chair) and the CESSRST Social Science Committee, June 30, 2017

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