Highlights is the biennal overview of the activities of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and its two major components, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the UCAR Office of Programs (UOP). Highlights is published by UCAR Communications.

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Wildfires and people: Living with a force of nature

Will we ever control the ferocious forces unleashed by wildfires? Or can we learn to live with the natural cycle of burning and regrowth? To develop tools for coexisting with wildland fire, a research and development collaboratory is tackling tough questions at the intersection of science and society.


Planet finding: Detecting the atmosphere of a faraway world

As astronomers find more and more planets orbiting distant stars, an NCAR scientist and his colleagues have for the first time detected the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. Now they plan to analyze the atmosphere in more depth.

A deluge we can't see: Water vapor's hide-and-seek journey

Perhaps the hardest of the atmosphere's basic ingredients to measure, water vapor was the quarry in spring 2002 for one of the continent's biggest-ever weather studies. Data from ground sites, vehicles, and aircraft painted a three-dimensional portrait of water vapor.

The edge of weather: Charting the boundary between atmospheric zones

The ozone hole is just one of the surprises to emerge from the little-explored atmosphere at the upper end of balloon and aircraft range. Upcoming satellites and a high-altitude jet promise to yield compehensive detail on the region's chemistry and dynamics.

A new kind of library: Digital resources about the Earth system

Via the Internet, two ambitious projects are helping to organize educational communities and improve access to learning materials in the geosciences and other scientific realms. Behind the scenes is an unusual blend of educators, librarians, technical innovators, and subject experts.

Down-to-earth models: Bringing ground cover into climate simulations

Some of the hardest pieces to place in our planet's jigsaw of climate include forests, crops, and pavement. A new tool for studying land-atmosphere exchange is bolstering NCAR's flagship climate model and providing fresh views of the global atmosphere we'll experience in the century to come.

Fine-scale help with foul weather: A tool for all seasons and regions

While standard weather-forecasting models keep an eye on the jet stream and other continent-scale factors, thunderstorms, snow squalls, and other localized hazards can sneak through to cause havoc. A smaller-scale weather-forecast model nourished through an NCAR-university partnership is now used worldwide for commerce, defense, and basic research.

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