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1997-35 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 1997

UCAR Bestows Outstanding Performance Awards

Contact: David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

December 19, 1997
BOULDER--The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research applauded the efforts of outstanding staff at a year-end celebration at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Mesa Laboratory on December 19. Rick Anthes, president of UCAR (which manages NCAR) handed out awards for ingenuity and effort during 1997. Winners in each of the five categories listed below received cash awards and medals.

Technology Advancement

This award honors major individual or group creations of the past five years that represent technical achievements in engineering, computer science, or applied science.

Winners: Mike Exner, Doug Hunt, Chris Rocken, and Bill Schreiner (UCAR), Bill Kuo (NCAR), Xiaolei Zou (NCAR/Florida State University), Da Sheng Feng and Ben Herman (University of Arizona), Tom Meehan (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Sergey Sokolovskiy (Russian Institute of Atmospheric Physics) for their pioneering efforts in the design, development, 1995 launch, and operation of the Global Positioning System/Meteorology (GPS/MET) payload on the MicroLab-1 satellite; development of associated software; and analysis and validation of the derived atmospheric profiles.

Each of the GPS/MET team members carried substantial responsibility in assuring the success of the program, which was developed rapidly and at low cost with leveraging of private-sector contributions. By adapting commercial GPS technology to receive signals that transect the earth's atmosphere, the team's work has enabled a single satellite to obtain some 500 globally distributed profiles each day of refractivity, density, pressure, and temperature--a major breakthrough in remote sensing of the earth's atmosphere.

Education

This award honors the most significant individual or group achievement in postgraduate, graduate, undergraduate, K-12, or general public science education, including such areas as development of programs or curricular materials in science, mathematics, and technology transfer.

Winner: Bob Henson (UCAR) for his creative writings and presentations on atmospheric science over the past eight years.

Along with his work in crafting UCAR publications for broad audiences, such as UCAR Highlights, Henson has developed a variety of ways to communicate UCAR research in nontechnical formats. He coordinated the Learning about Science Easily and Readily Series, which includes more than a dozen print handouts on assorted topics distributed widely to K-12 teachers and students. Henson's enthusiasm and his expertise in atmospheric science, particularly in severe weather, have led to presentations for local, national, and international groups, as well as fact sheets and Web guides that have proven popular among Mesa Lab visitors and other members of the public.

Technical Support

This honor recognizes a team or individual for a single superior performance or a history of noteworthy effort in such areas as instrument maintenance or fabrication, computer or data management, software/system development, or other technical support.

Winner: Norm Zrubek (NCAR) for 30 years of dedication and technical excellence in aeronautical engineering at NCAR's Research Aviation Facility.

Zrubek has been the principal aeronautical engineer for all nine aircraft operated by RAF since 1967. In this critical role, he has assured the structural safety of each of the NSF/NCAR aircraft and the hundreds of payloads they have carried. His creative problem-solving skills and broad experience have made Zrubek an unparalleled expert in aircraft modification for scientific research. His elegantly simple solutions have included the use of cabin pressure to propel dropsondes through a launch tube and the use of surplus C-130 external fuel tanks as interchangeable, under-the-wing instrumentation pods. Zrubek often plays a central role in instrument development throughout NCAR as well as in the university community.

Administrative Support

This award honors an individual or group for a single outstanding performance or a long history of support beyond the call of duty in such areas as improving a management practice or skillfully handling an operational effort.

Winner: Aaron Andersen (NCAR) for the design, development, and implementation of NCAR's Web-based Room Reservation System.

Since 1996, this highly popular system has allowed UCAR staff to reserve meeting rooms at the Mesa and Foothills sites easily and efficiently. Prior to this system, only one person at each site had the authority to schedule rooms. The new system allows administrators (or any other staff member) to verify room options and make reservations immediately and interactively at any time. Because it uses the free UNIX data base gdbm and is Web-based, the system required no new software deployment and accommodates diverse platforms. Andersen worked closely with Facilities Support Services to create the system, which now books over 250 reservations for each month.

Outstanding Publication

Nominees for this honor have published, in the past five years, either results of original work or other contributions, such as review papers or books, that have significantly increased the understanding of atmospheric science.

Winner: James Hurrell (NCAR), for "Decadal trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation [NAO]: regional temperatures and precipitation," Science 269 (1995), 676-679, and "Influence of variations in extratropical wintertime teleconnections on Northern Hemisphere temperature," Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) 23 (1996), 665-668.

In his Science paper, Hurrell uses innovative analyses of nearly 100 years of data to reveal the surface air temperature patterns associated with the NAO, including warm anomalies in Eurasia and parts of North America and cold anomalies across the western North Atlantic. The paper also details rainfall and surface water flux patterns accompanying the NAO. An NAO time series introduced in this paper has been widely used in subsequent earth system research. In his GRL paper, Hurrell outlines how nearly all of the observed northwest Atlantic cooling and European warming since the mid-1970s can be related to a persistent positive phase of the NAO. The NAO is also found to account for 31% of the interannual variance in Northern Hemisphere temperatures from 1935 to 1994, twice the effect of the Southern Oscillation for this region and period.

For more detail about this year's performance awards, see The 1997 Outstanding Performance Awards Web page.

NCAR is managed by UCAR under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.

Filename: ncarawd1.tif
(Left to right) UCAR Vice-President Jack Fellows, NCAR Director Robert Serafin, Aaron Andersen, UCAR President Rick Anthes

Filename: ncarawd2.tif
(Left to right) UCAR Vice-President Jack Fellows, NCAR Director Robert Serafin, Norm Zrubek, UCAR President Rick Anthes

Filename: ncarawd3.tif
(Left to right) UCAR Vice-President Jack Fellows, Doug Hunt, Bill Schreiner, Sergey Sokolovskiy, Bill Kuo, Chris Rocken, NCAR Director Robert Serafin, Mike Exner, UCAR President Rick Anthes

Filename: ncarawd4.tif
(Left to right) UCAR Vice-President Jack Fellows, NCAR Director Robert Serafin, Bob Henson, UCAR President Rick Anthes

(photo of James Hurrell not available)

-The End-

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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a not-for-profit university membership consortium which carries out programs to benefit the atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences. Among other activites, UCAR operates the National Center for Atmospheric Research with National Science Foundation sponsorship.