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

When it comes to conveying the excitement of a career in science to students, there is no substitute for direct interaction and involvement. Two years ago, the NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL), in collaboration with CLACE (Centro Latinoamericano para la Ciencia y Educacion) and its Nuestra Tierra Dinamica program, was awarded support from the NCAR Diversity Fund for “The NCAR Careers Diversity Project,” a series of activities designed to engage Latino and other K-12 students, and expose them to atmospheric research and related sciences.

Over the past 20 years, the effects of changing climate on indigenous people have increasingly grabbed the attention of the world’s decision makers and scientists. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on the impacts of climate change specifically considers how indigenous groups in different world regions will manage these changes, while the U.S. National Climate Assessment included for the first time a chapter devoted to these issues.

Most groups take pride in gaining recognition for their efforts. For the Health, Environment and Safety Services (HESS) at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), however, this is not the case. “Success is best measured by not being noticed by the institution, it means we’re doing our jobs,” says Milenda Powers the team’s manager.

In 2000, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame laid out a bold course of action for his nation to reach middle-income status by 2020.[1] Nicknamed “The Digital President,” Kagame’s plan focuses on Rwanda’s human capital, with special attention to its students, along with development of information technology and communications. Rwanda, and other African nations will require skilled scientists, technicians, engineers, and researchers to help these countries achieve their desired economic goals and intellectual capacity.

Prepping for the class refreshes a scientists view of the basics

Four Questions for Wen-Chau Lee 

UCAR’s University Visits in Scientific Interaction and Teaching program launched in 2013, and the first participants are returning from their time with university partners. We checked in with Wen-Chau Lee, a senior scientist in the Earth Observing Laboratory who also manages EOL’s Remote Sensing Facility.

Humans and their emissions have an undeniable effect on global, regional, and local climate; however, natural climate variability introduces shades of gray into the prediction of future effects of climate change. Extreme events such as “Snowmageddon,” the series of blizzards that hit the U.S. East Coast in 2009-2010, or even Colorado’s cooler-than-normal 2013 summer demonstrate deviations from typical climate patterns.

Satellites are critical to many of the technological capabilities that global society has come to depend on. Global positioning systems provide essential navigation for land, sea, and air transportation, weather satellites collect data critical for predicting severe weather on Earth, and communications satellites broadcast television and radio transmissions into living rooms worldwide. However, society often takes satellite capability for granted.

Water is a precious commodity underpinning not only the U.S. economy, but also the quality of life here. The U.S. federal agencies managing the availability and distribution of this basic necessity face a variety of challenges every year in ensuring a high-quality, always-ready resource to meet public and private demands, and to manage highly changeable flood risks and drought responses around the nation.

Since the dawn of the Space Age in the 1950s, solar maxima have coincided with strong upticks in sunspot activity but the current cycle, Cycle 24, which was expected to peak in Spring of 2013, has been unusually quiet. Solar activity remained at a moderate level, making it one of the weakest cycles in the past 100 years, as evidenced by the low number of sunspots appearing on the Sun's surface. With fewer and smaller sunspots, weaker magnetic fields that are associated with the sunspots, and less outgoing (radiative) energy, many wonder what might be causing the Sun's quiescence.



Students in the GLOBE program test water salinity at a tide pool off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.The international program has generated more than 100 million environmental measurements collected by students around the world,"
 Coronal mass ejection in 2012The Sun's activity waxes and wanes nearly every two years, affecting technological systems on Earth that are vulnerable to solar storms.
 Kids experiment with cloud exhibitThe affiliation establishes a long-term collaboration between UCAR's science education center and the Smithsonian.