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.

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Feature Stories

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.  

In 2005, the National Center for Atmospheric (NCAR) completed the retrofitting of a Gulfstream-V (GV) research aircraft, equipping it to take detailed measurements of the atmosphere. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), funds were held in reserve to support development of additional research tools for the plane. Among the instruments deemed useful but not included in the original GV specifications was a lidar system.

Changing climate will directly affect the global hydrologic cycle. Many of these effects will be felt regionally, with, for example, potential for flooding or drought increasing. In addition, changes to water quality, quantity, and supply reliability may have effects on human health, aquatic ecosystems, and agricultural and energy production, among other ecosystems and economic sectors.

Bi-annually, the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia awards five prizes in recognition of scientists, inventors, and research organizations around the world working in water related fields. The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) acknowledges exceptional and innovative work that contributes to the sustainable availability of potable water and alleviation of the escalating global problem of water scarcity.

An undergraduate academic experience is designed to provide the essential educational elements that set the stage for the next step in a student’s professional or educational life. Equally important in this process are the mentors and experiences encountered during a student’s college career. Recognizing the benefits of future scientists participating directly in scientific projects, the National Science Foundation funds a number of university-led research programs, called Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

NCAR’s Jeff Kiehl (NESL/CGD) is the recipient of the 2012 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Climate Communication Prize. Established in 2011, this Union Prize highlights the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change.

Climate and weather are inextricably linked. Weather happens on the scales of minutes to weeks, while climate characteristics are the effects of weather averaged over the longer term – weeks to years or decades or more. Weather forecasting has evolved to be remarkably accurate, however forecasts created for periods beyond seven to 10 days get increasingly less reliable. To a large degree, prediction difficulties come down to deficiencies in the quality or quantity of observational data and computer modeling capabilities.

African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, Hispanic Americans comprise 16%, and Native Americans 1%. However, PhDs awarded from U.S. universities do not mirror these numbers. Moreover, a recent study published in EOS indicates that minorities earned fewer than 4% of the all the PhDs granted in the geosciences.1 The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S.

Engineers and scientists in the National Center for Atmospheric Research's (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) received recognition for innovative dropsonde technology at the 2011 Colorado Governor's Award for High-Impact Research. In mid-November, Governor John Hickenlooper honored Terrence Hock and his group for their novel work on dropsonde technology. Over the past five years Hock and his team have led a series of developments that transformed dropsonde technology used worldwide and expanded its use to new dropsonde delivery systems.

Three new leaders have recently taken the helm at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The center has also gained a new president at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Science (UCAR), NCAR's managing body. All are well known to NCAR and its scientific community. They are Michael Thompson, associate director of the High Altitude Observatory (HAO), Vanda Grubišić, associate director of the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL), Jim Hurrell of the NCAR Earth System Laboratory (NESL), and Thomas Bogdan who becomes UCAR president in January 2012.