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

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.

Visiting NCAR to talk about collaboration, Solomon Bililign, a professor of physics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT), left with a vision of creating an atmospheric science class. Bililign, director of NOAA's Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology (ISET) at NCAT, had several graduate students whose research would benefit from a course in atmospheric chemistry. While the university had hoped to hire an atmospheric scientist, limited funding hindered this goal.

Once international agreements demand it, effective, enforceable greenhouse gas reduction will require in-depth information on the fluxes and transports of these and other atmospheric constituents. Concentrations of aerosols like black carbon, and gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, ozone, and nitrous oxide (N2O) vary across the globe and by season. Until recently, a fine-grained picture of the concentrations and understanding of the dynamics of these atmospheric components did not exist.

Beyond providing Earth with its predominant source of heat and light, the Sun affects the planet and human society in a variety of other ways. For instance, effects from storms propagating from the solar corona outward through space, can affect aviation, electrical grids, and satellite performance on Earth, often impinging on daily societal function directly. Due to distance from the Earth and few observing instruments, solar storms cannot currently be predicted.

The 2006 launch of the multinational Hinode satellite changed the picture of the Sun for astrophysicists. For two astrophysicists in particular, the resulting imagery offered a voyage of discovery and the thrill of unraveling a long-held solar mystery. 

Earth's atmosphere can obscure the view of unaided ground-based telescopes, but, unimpeded by this problem, the high-resolution telescope flying on Hinode captures images of the Sun in unparalleled detail. 

Recently returned from a semester-long stint at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Advanced Study Program (ASP) Fellow, Song-Lak Kang, gained first-hand – first-time – experience teaching graduate students. The inaugural visiting scholar in a pilot program partnering National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) ASP post-doctoral Fellows with Howard University and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Kang also had an opportunity to meet and work closely with scientists at Howard, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Data describing the intricate details of how the Earth's system functions are the cornerstone of climate research and weather. When looking for foundational (or auxiliary) data, many in the global research community studying climate, weather, and Earth, ocean, and atmosphere interactions turn to NCAR's Research Data Archive (RDA). Maintained in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, RDA offers a breadth of easy-to-access global and regional data sets, as well as first-class data archive capabilities.

This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Over the past 30 years, springtime snow melt and warming appear to be proceeding at a faster rate in Eurasia than in North America.