NCAR Highlights

NCAR Highlights

For the latest news releases, as well as fact sheets on NCAR science, lists of experts in NCAR’s various research fields, multi-media (movies, visualizations, illustrations, and photos), and recent press clippings visit the NCAR & UCAR News Center.

Press inquiries? Contact the Media Office.

Feature Stories

Around the world, scientists are searching for answers to the big questions in atmospheric science. Enabling and advancing these research efforts, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers state-of-the-art instruments and platforms to U.S.

Elevated pollution levels, combined with abundant vegetation uniquely affect the climate and air quality in the southeastern United States. While elsewhere in the nation and world, effects of climate change have resulted in increased average temperatures, the Southeast has experienced a cooling trend. Additionally, the U.S. Southeast tends to have air quality issues resulting from chemical reactions occurring between organic compounds emitted from vegetation (biogenic volatile organic carbons or BVOCs) and human-made pollution.

Many find the worry about exceeding a 2° Celsius (3.6°F) increase in global average temperature at best an abstract idea. Such a temperature increase seems minor – some might argue that a 2°C change may not even be noticeable on any given day. However, the impacts of a higher average temperature have far more discernable impacts to those living along U.S. coastlines where changes caused by rising sea levels resulting from warming climate have appreciable consequences.

Predicting the future is never easy, which is why future-oriented climate research considers multiple alternative scenarios. Since human activities have been influencing the climate, this means that scenarios must estimate how human behavior and societal dynamics might influence future climate change.

Scientists spent a day talking to Congressional staffers in late February about the impacts of climate change on the United States. Among these were National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientists, Mary Hayden and Rick Katz. Hayden and Katz, teamed with scientists from other organizations, had the opportunity to meet with legislators from a variety of states. Each team focused on the various national legislators’ state- and district-relevant climate issues.

Despite the large and growing number of Latinos in the United States, this population remains severely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) professions – making up less than 5% of the nation’s STEM workforce.

Studies show that a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and experiences stimulates ideas and innovation in business, science, and technology. Broadening the variety of perspectives on a problem diminishes the tendency of “group think” and increases the potential for advancing technology and industry or addressing societal issues in new ways.

The sixth annual National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Journalism Fellowship will run from July 8 – 12, 2013. The fellowship provides journalists with a rare opportunity to learn about cutting-edge atmospheric research and its implications for society.

While scientists are critical drivers of scientific discovery, other actors contribute to the testing of theories that lead up to research breakthroughs. The expertise of engineers, technicians, and data specialists, among others, plays a role in advancing the frontiers of human knowledge. Successful research hinges on the contributions of the entire scientific team, including those creating the tools, collecting data, developing software, keeping observing platforms running, and gathering and validating observations and measurements.

Some organizations and scientists, particularly in areas of emerging science, approach research as an opportunity to consult with the public and decision makers to identify questions that may gain from societal input. Building from these ideas, they design a research protocol with community needs in mind. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR) education and engagement team, Spark, has shifted some program designs to take just such a societal-questions-first approach.