Foster a broad scientific
program of highest quality to address present and future needs
NCAR's strategic initiatives
months of development, NCAR has finalized an ambitious new strategic
plan. Its theme is "NCAR as an Integrator"óa center for the broad
geosciences community that brings together ideas, people, and tools
to address the scientific questions critical to our societyís future.
As of mid-2002, the plan included eight major initiatives and nearly
a dozen smaller-scale efforts. More details on the plan can be found
on page 34 ("UCAR at a Glance").
Develop and acquire
state-of-the-art scientific research facilities for the atmospheric
and related-sciences community
The processing power available from NCARís Scientific
Computing Division increased about threefold in 2002 alone. The
upgrade was the second in a multistage acquisition called the Advanced
Research Computing System. Some of the worldís most intricate climate
simulations take place through these massively parallel IBM SP supercomputers.
At peak speed, more than 2,000 processors, arranged in two clusters,
have the ability to perform a total of nearly 8 trillion calculations
per second. Further upgrades are expected in 2003 and beyond.
Education and training
attention to education and training, with emphasis on women and
Examining future careers
The expanding, broad-based UCAR Education
and Outreach Program exposed 16 college seniors to the full spectrum
of atmospheric-related science with NCARs inaugural Undergraduate
Summer Leadership Workshop. Held in Boulder in June 2002, the workshop
was designed to give students a firsthand look at career options and
research emphases at NCAR and elsewhere. Lectures, facility tours,
and demonstrations provided an "incredible experience,"
said John Krasting (Rutgers University), who enjoyed "seeing
the broader picture of the sciences and how they fit together."
A presidential salute
Founded in 1995, SOARS (Significant
Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) earned high
praise in 2001. The UCAR program, which helps bring promising college-level
students from underrepresented groups into graduate-level research,
was one of the recipients of the sixth annual Presidential Award
for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
Out of 72 SOARS protégés through mid-2002, over a
third were in graduate school and 13 had completed masters
or doctoral programs.
Advocacy, public policy, and communication
In cooperation with
other institutions, play a strong role in developing enhanced
and more effective methods of communication among scientists,
policy makers, and the public in order to foster the use of science
in the service of humankind
The latest on hot research
To help policy makers keep current on key science issues, UCAR sponsors
several briefings each year in Washington, D.C. Topics have ranged
from hurricanes to energy policy to space weather to the role of the
atmospheric sciences in national security. In the wake of widespread
U.S. drought and wildfire, two briefings in June 2002 updated legislators
and their staff on the complexities of the human-wildland interface,
as well as drought-related research at NCAR, universities, and federal
Left: © Carlye Calvin
In conjunction with
the UCAR Foundation, transfer appropriate UCAR
technology to the public and private sectors
Advance word on frozen
A new system for predicting hazardous winter weather should help highway
maintenance crews get a jump on ice and snow. The system is being
created for the Federal Highway Administration by NCAR's Research
Applications Division and five other national research centers.
Specialized software will pool a variety of road and weather data
to produce easy-to-navigate forecasts and a decision-making tool for
choosing the optimal road treatment (sanding, plowing, or the like)
for the expected conditions. Once the system is complete, private
vendors will tailor it so that state departments of transportation
and other users can anticipate ice- or snow-coated roadways up to
two days in advance.
Right: © The Denver Post
Research and operational partnerships
Strengthen the relationship
between the operational and research communities in the atmospheric
and oceanic sciences
A better handle on
Through a UCAR-based program, scientists at Michigan State University
and the National Weather Service are working to improve a computer
forecast model of the storm-tossed Great Lakes. The upgraded model
will feature over ten times the detail of its predecessor, as well
as a more realistic set of interactions among waves, water temperature,
and weather conditions. The study is one of over 150 such projectseach
one teaming university scientists and forecasterssponsored with
NWS support over the past decade by UCARs Cooperative
Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training.
Left: USDA Forest Service, Superior National Forest