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

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.  

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.