As part of this review of the integrated NCAR program, NSF requested that the two largest programs sponsored by other agencies, the High-Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) and the Research Applications Program (RAP), be reviewed for their appropriateness in being located in NCAR. This section describes these programs, their fit with the NCAR mission, and their integration with other NCAR programs.


1. Overview

The High-Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) is a 21-channel limb-scanning infrared radiometer that will fly on the first chemistry mission (Chem-1) of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS). HIRDLS will address several key problems related to global change research. The instrument will provide global coverage of a large number of chemical species important to ozone and climate change studies, with unprecedented vertical and horizontal resolution.

The experiment will obtain data from the upper troposphere to the mesopause, or about 8 to 80 km., with special emphasis on the poorly observed region near the tropopause that plays critical roles in processes related to the global climate. These data will provide unique information on the atmospheric state and composition in the vicinity of the tropopause, as well as dynamical and chemical processes taking place there, with unprecedented accuracy and temporal and spatial resolution. Of particular importance are the transports and stratosphere- troposphere exchanges of radiatively and chemically active species. The new data provided by HIRDLS are expected to be an enormous aid to the scientific community, including Atmospheric Chemistry Division (ACD) scientists, in understanding these phenomena and scales.

NCAR's initiative and leadership were essential to the creation of HIRDLS. NCAR brought together its scientific vision, its insight into limb-scanning techniques, and the awareness of instrumentation possibilities, and produced an innovative plan that was selected by NASA, in a keenly competitive environment, as one of the principal EOS observational missions. The community, during NASA and National Research Council reviews, has consistently endorsed HIRDLS and expressed a strong interest in the data that HIRDLS will provide to the community.

The scientific objectives of HIRDLS are

Unique features include the ability to observe the region around the tropopause with high (~1 km) vertical resolution, with a regular horizontal resolution of 5 degrees longitude by 5 degrees latitude over the globe twice a day. The horizontal resolution is programmable, so that resolutions as fine as 1 degree by 1 degree can be obtained in regions of special interest. Each measurement will include determination of temperature, ten trace species of radiative and chemical importance, aerosol concentrations and composition, gradients of geopotential height, and cloud top and polar stratospheric cloud locations. No other measurement system under development at this time, U.S. or foreign, is capable of making this suite of measurements.

HIRDLS has been a joint development between NCAR and Oxford University, in the U.K. Up through the conceptual design phase, NCAR was responsible for providing scientific guidance to the development of the instrument and the data reduction algorithms, as well as for the overall management of the program, including coordination of U.K. efforts and technical direction to U.S. subcontractors.

NCAR and UCAR are now developing a strategic partnership with the University of Colorado (CU) with HIRDLS as a focus for enhanced interactions between NCAR and CU scientists. Under this plan, CU will be the administrative home for the program and will assume primary responsibility for the fabrication, test and calibration, and launch phases of HIRDLS. CU scientists and engineers will be added to the original team, and CU students will play major roles in the development of the experiment and application of the data. NCAR, under subcontract to CU, will support the overall effort by providing scientific oversight of the instrument development and calibration, and creating data-reduction algorithms. After launch, NCAR will play a major role in monitoring the instrument performance. CU and NCAR scientists will work together in validating the data and applying them to the study of scientific problems.

The HIRDLS effort is greatly aided by the simultaneous involvement of several staff on the Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) experiment, scheduled to fly on the first EOS platform in mid-1998. For MOPITT, the University of Toronto is supplying the instrument, while NCAR is supplying the data- reduction algorithms. Many of the same areas of expertise in radiative transfer, retrieval algorithms, and operational software development are employed on both instruments, and several people work on both programs, allowing easy exchange of information and "lessons learned." This synergy has been a major factor in carrying out these programs in a cost-effective way.

2. Impact of HIRDLS on NCAR's Program and Benefit to the Community

For many years, ACD has played a leading role in studies of the chemistry of the stratosphere and mesosphere (middle atmosphere) through in situ observations, modeling, and analysis of satellite data. NCAR scientists have worked previously on the Limb Infrared Monitor of the Stratosphere (LIMS), launched in 1978, whose data made major contributions to our knowledge of the distribution of ozone and several other trace species, their chemistry, and the large-scale circulation of the middle atmosphere. Simultaneously, the Climate and Global Dynamics Division (CGD) has been a leader in the use of three-dimensional models of middle-atmosphere dynamics. More recently several ACD scientists have worked on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) experiments, launched in 1991, and many more have been making use of UARS data to solve a new generation of chemical and dynamical problems in the middle atmosphere and to advance our ability to model those phenomena. The CGD Middle Atmosphere Community Climate Model 2 has been used to model and interpret the distribution of trace species observed by UARS experiments.

ACD and CGD work on 3-D models of atmospheric chemistry, dynamics, and transports has recently come together, with much greater emphasis on the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and the roles of these processes in climate and ozone chemistry. The HIRDLS data will be unique, allowing critical checks on the fidelity of these models and leading to their further improvement. In turn, the interpretation of the data will be greatly aided by the use of these models. As previously mentioned, the scientific community beyond NCAR has consistently endorsed HIRDLS and expressed strong interest in the data the instrument will provide.

3. Integration of HIRDLS into NCAR and UCAR

HIRDLS has been an integral part of NCAR from its inception. The principal investigator (PI) is a section head in ACD. In this role, and as PI, he reports to the ACD division director, and through him to the NCAR director. In turn, the division director and other ACD and CGD scientists are co-investigators on the HIRDLS experiment. In addition, the director of NCAR has taken part in presentations and reviews with NASA. The HIRDLS principal investigator provides regular updates on the program to NCAR and UCAR management, informing them of scientific, technical, and financial status and plans.

4. Present and Future Community Service

According to the EOS data protocols, all data obtained by an experiment will be placed in a data archive, immediately accessible to the scientific community for research purposes. Thus, HIRDLS will result in a wealth of new, openly available data for community research, and scientists at NCAR will provide support to external users who wish to use the data and to collaborate with the community on research.

5. Interactions Fostered by HIRDLS

HIRDLS planning has encouraged development of the stratospheric version of the Community Climate Model; HIRDLS funding is planned to support further developments specifically for use by HIRDLS investigators for planning, simulations, and data interpretation. Similarly, HIRDLS has promoted thinking about data assimilation, both in CGD and ACD; the program hopes to support such developments to the extent that funds allow.

6. Science, Education, and Applications That Complement the Overall NCAR Program

a. Science

HIRDLS activities are directly supporting prelaunch work on radiative transfer in the atmosphere, high-accuracy line-by-line calculations of atmospheric transmittance, optical properties of aerosols, and retrieval techniques, as well as motivating scientists to look at chemical, dynamical, and climate studies where HIRDLS data will make a large impact-in particular in the under-observed lower stratosphere and upper troposphere regions.

b. Education

This past summer HIRDLS supported a graduate student in engineering to work on the use of Kalman filter algorithms to process the HIRDLS gyroscope data, and on how the algorithms can be updated with spacecraft star-tracker data. More studies of this type are anticipated as a consequence of NCAR's partnership with CU. In addition, a student at the State University of New York at Stony Brook wrote a master's thesis exploring some of the possibilities of HIRDLS scan patterns.

c. Applications

The HIRDLS data should be very useful additions to conventional data to produce assimilated initial states for operational weather forecasting. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has expressed an interest in using a subset of the HIRDLS data for this purpose.

The National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) is interested in a simplified, operational IR limb sounder to provide ozone soundings in the lower stratosphere with a vertical resolution of 1-3 km. This is an avenue to long-term datasets for climate studies. NPOESS is beginning to fund small studies to leverage the HIRDLS work to meet this national need.


1. Overview

The Research Applications Program (RAP) began with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) support in 1982 as a project to study low-level wind shear and its effect on the safety of aircraft flight. RAP scientists conducted research into the phenomenon of intense, small-scale downdrafts known as microbursts. Working with industry and other government and university laboratories, RAP developed a practical solution involving surface anemometers and Doppler radar that could provide timely warnings to pilots of the presence of low-altitude wind shear. With this work and associated training aids, the number of aircraft accidents attributed to wind shear dropped dramatically in the mid-1980s. RAP, in collaboration with the Atmospheric Technology Division, operated a prototype warning system for six years at Stapleton International Airport and pilot testimony has credited the system with preventing aircraft accidents during wind shear conditions.

RAP was given division status at NCAR in 1989. Since that time the activities in RAP have broadened within the scope of RAP's mission, which is to perform and facilitate directed research in the atmospheric sciences focused on strategic national and international goals, and to perform and facilitate effective transfer of resulting technology to operational users in U.S. government agencies, the private sector, and foreign governments. Among many possible alternatives, RAP has adopted as a strategic goal an improved capability for detection, warning, and forecasting of relevant mesoscale weather phenomena. This goal is being pursued to date in the context of non-NSF funding and with the collaboration of scientists and engineers from other divisions of NCAR, the university community, and other laboratories.

The work generally involves the integration of automated hazard- detection techniques (particularly involving remote sensing methods), automated nowcasting techniques, and mesoscale modeling (including variational data assimilation schemes), and the rapid prototyping and development of systems (including innovative display techniques). It emphasizes strong interactions with the weather product end-users throughout the whole process, starting with needs assessment and continuing through product demonstration and scientific and operational evaluation of capability.

2. Impact of RAP on NCAR's Program and Benefit to the Community

From its inception as an FAA-sponsored program devoted to wind shear research, RAP has grown over a 15-year period to include funding from 21 sources and research in a wide range of areas. The program, now operating with an annual budget of $10M in non- NSF funding, has contributed to both the size and diversification of the overall NCAR program. RAP's expertise in the area of aviation weather hazard research is recognized nationally and internationally. RAP's Aviation Weather Development Laboratory, established with FAA funding and maintained since with other non- NSF funds, is frequently toured by high-level visitors. Its unique, state-of-the-art capabilities are used by scientists in other divisions and in the university community.

Throughout its history, RAP has been an important source of support for scientific efforts in other divisions. Funding from the FAA, the Operational Windshear Warning System (OWWS) program in Hong Kong, the U.S. Army Test and Command (TECOM) project, and other programs has been directed to the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division (MMM) and Atmospheric Technology Division (ATD) to support staff, numerical forecast models, instrumentation, and facility development and maintenance.

RAP staff have organized and conducted a variety of field programs throughout the last 15 years that have included collaboration with colleagues from universities, federal laboratories, and other NCAR divisions. By organizing workshops that serve to focus the community's scientific direction, and by providing core facilities, RAP efforts have made it possible for university investigators to pursue their own scientific goals within the context of a larger, collaborative program. RAP's support from the FAA for these efforts has often leveraged substantial additional support to other investigators through funding from NSF, NOAA, NASA, and the Air Force, as examples. The programs have often utilized aircraft and radar facilities such as those of the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, and the University of North Dakota. The following list, although far from exhaustive, demonstrates the scope of these activities: long-term demonstrations of the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) and Low-Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS) at Denver's Stapleton Airport; multiyear Winter Icing and Storms Project (WISP) in the Colorado Front Range; Convection and Precipitation/ Electrification experiment (CaPE) in Florida; convective forecasting programs in the Front Range of Colorado and in Memphis, Tennessee; a ground deicing and snowfall accumulation field demonstration at Denver's Stapleton International and Denver International Airports, and Chicago's O'Hare Airport; and a field program aimed at understanding flow over complex terrain near the new Hong Kong airport.

Each of these field programs has generated datasets that are available to the research community, and data from these programs have been analyzed and described in significant journal publications by RAP staff. In addition, several programs have led to improvements in community models. Each field program has benefited the aviation community and the general public by first expanding our understanding of hazardous weather conditions and ultimately enabling us to create detection and warning systems to improve aviation safety.

RAP has also been active in the technology commercialization effort at NCAR. RAP has teamed with Weather Information Technologies, Inc. (WITI), a for-profit company formed by the UCAR Foundation. Through WITI, RAP has developed and is about to deliver an operational windshear warning system to the Royal Observatory for installation at the new Hong Kong airport. Also in concert with WITI, RAP has worked to develop an interactive weather information system for the mass media.

RAP's scientific and engineering staff have worked closely with the UCAR Foundation and the Intellectual Property Management Program to patent and license a number of weather-related products including algorithms in LLWAS; WEATHER, a software package designed to simplify access to a variety of sources of weather data; and the Thunderstorm Identification, Tracking, Analysis, and Nowcasting (TITAN) software.

3. Integration of RAP into NCAR and UCAR

As a national center, NCAR addresses a full range of research needs and opportunities in the atmospheric sciences. RAP, with its focus on applied research and technology transfer, contributes to the overall balance of the institution's research agenda, effectively complementing the more basic research performed by other divisions. RAP's scientific and technical staff, in close collaboration with scientists from other NCAR divisions, continually seek ways to apply the latest scientific and technological developments to societal problems.

The synergy between RAP and other divisions benefits all concerned, as well as the institution as a whole. Not only is funding frequently provided to support basic research, but the research itself may be shaped, or even driven, by the process of collaborating on applied research efforts. For example, when one applies basic knowledge of mesoscale processes or a community model to a particular problem, the situation may suddenly appear less well understood than previously believed. Models may need to be adapted or tuned in new ways, instruments may need to be redesigned to deal with newly discovered measurement problems, and graphical displays may need to be re-engineered to depict better a particular phenomenon.

One project will frequently lead to new opportunities in related areas, providing new funding and direction for NCAR's research and development efforts. Applied research aimed at transferring technology also broadens the scientific perspective. It forces the scientist to consider problems from the viewpoint of, for example, the air traffic controller or the maintenance staff tasked with deicing aircraft; it allows the scientist to think in new ways, asking questions from the user's perspective about the value of the work being conducted. The emphasis on performing the highest quality scientific work remains constant, and, in fact, may even be enhanced by the knowledge that the work will be incorporated into products that will be used by the public.

4. Present and Future Community Service

As in other NCAR divisions, RAP management and staff are actively engaged in a variety of community service activities. Highlights of recent noteworthy activities follow.

a. Collaboration with Research Laboratories

RAP frequently collaborates with the following research laboratories on aviation weather hazard research topics: NOAA/Forecast Systems Laboratory and Environmental Technology Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, Phillips Laboratory, Hughes FAA Technical Center, and NASA Lewis and NASA Langley Research Centers. Collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory on remote sensing is also taking place.

b. Technology Transfer Activities

Technology transfer has long been an important objective of the FAA program at NCAR, from the rapid prototyping of the TDWR in the late 1980s to the more recent Weather Support to Ground Deicing Decision Making, a display system for airlines and airport operators. At the agency's direction, RAP has also become a participant in formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with GTE, Harris, Weather Services International, Lockheed Martin, Kavouras, Loral, and Accu-Weather. These relationships are designed to facilitate the transfer of government-sponsored research and development work to the private sector. RAP has also made numerous technology transfers to the NWS's Aviation Weather Center. New technology has also been transferred to Allied Signal for use by the airline community.

In addition, RAP has developed a number of collaborative programs with private industry. As part of a NASA Langley-RAP effort, research staff from Bendix, Westinghouse, and Rockwell International participated in a multiyear wind shear research program at NCAR. RAP is also a member of the Alliance for General Aviation Transport Experiment, a coalition of public- and private- sector firms seeking to address general aviation safety issues; funding, through NASA, has been sent to RAP for research on icing protection and cockpit display development. In the past year, RAP has successfully teamed with ARNAV Systems, Inc., in Washington, D.C., and SPEC, Inc., in Boulder, on aviation-related proposals to NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer Program. RAP staff are also working for System Technology Associates and the NEXRAD Operational Support Facility to review recent literature on the WSR-88D radar and for B.F. Goodrich to evaluate the performance of a new version of their Stormscope.

As noted elsewhere, technology transfer is at the heart of each of RAP's major projects, including the delivery of an Operational Wind Shear Warning System to Hong Kong, the evaluation of meteorological support requirements for Army TECOM centers, the cloud physics research and training efforts in Mexico and Thailand, and sensor evaluation studies for the National Weather Service.

c. Data Services Provided

RAP was a major contributor to the purchase of the GOES-8 satellite system installed at NCAR last year. RAP staff maintain and manage the system, making it available to others on a cost- reimbursable basis. Last year RAP and ATD jointly purchased five Global Positioning System receivers through UNAVCO in the UCAR Office of Programs (UOP) as part of a major NSF-sponsored purchase. This fall, RAP joined with COMET and Unidata programs, also in UOP, in purchasing NOAA-Port, which will bring state-of- the-art weather data into NCAR. One RAP home page on the Web provides access to satellite data and National Meteorological Center model graphics, and another, the WEATHER program, makes a variety of weather data sources available on the Web.

Kavouras NIDS data, GDS lightning data, live NEXRAD base data, live TDWR base and product data, and WSI Pilot Brief are available in RAP's Advanced Weather Development Lab. The lab and these data sources have been used by university researchers and scientific staff from NOAA and NASA for a variety of field programs including WISP, summer nowcasting, wind shear research, OWWS, etc. To our knowledge, RAP is the only location in the United States displaying real-time base data from both NEXRAD and TDWR radars simultaneously.

d. Field Support

A mobile Cross Chain Loran Atmospheric Sounding System (CLASS) facility was designed and built by RAP staff for use in field programs. It has been fielded for WISP, summer nowcasting programs, the Arizona Project (with MMM and the University of Arizona), and most recently for the cloud physics program in northern Mexico. It will also be used this coming winter for an in-flight icing field program in Cleveland, Ohio.

e. Memberships in Professional Organizations/ Collaboration with Aviation Community

RAP management and staff are active in a variety of professional organizations devoted to improving the safety and efficiency of aviation operations. RAP supports and seeks to benefit the Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Transport Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Airline Pilots Association, National Business Aircraft Association, Regional Airlines Association, Regional Transport Association, Requirements and Technical Concepts in Aviation, and the Society of Aeronautical Engineers.

5. Scientific and Cross-Divisional Interactions

RAP has actively developed and maintained extensive cross- divisional scientific interactions. Currently there are six formal joint appointments with MMM and five less formal arrangements whereby RAP provides a substantial portion of funding for MMM staff members. RAP also has two joint appointments with ATD.

Over the past 15 years, RAP staff have worked extensively with staff from MMM and ATD on a variety of programs. ATD has provided support for its Integrated Sounding System, Mile High Radar and CP-2 radar, and software systems such as Zebra for numerous FAA efforts including the TDWR program, and for field programs ranging from icing, thunderstorm forecasting, and nowcasting projects on the Front Range to CaPE in Florida. ATD staff are currently fielding a profiler in Juneau, Alaska, and readying Zebra for use in a new FAA field program designed to understand better and ultimately detect hazardous turbulence at the Juneau airport. ATD and RAP staff have also collaborated through the years in designing and modifying their respective mobile CLASS vans.

RAP staff also collaborate extensively with MMM. The MM5 and Clark modeling groups have collaborated on projects such as a program to support meteorological operations at U.S. Army Test and Command Centers and a new program called the Advanced Operational Aviation Weather System, expected to begin this summer in Taiwan. MMM staff have also made important contributions to the ongoing FAA program, contributing primarily in the areas of modeling, convective weather forecasting, in-flight icing, ground deicing, and ceiling and visibility forecasting.

As RAP's focus has broadened from aviation weather research to new areas such as water resources analysis and prediction, a collaboration with NCAR's Environmental and Societal Impacts Group on global water resource issues has developed. This interaction is expected to grow, particularly if new initiatives in South America are funded.

RAP sponsors an ongoing seminar series that highlights the research conducted within the division and brings in visitors from other institutions.

6. Science, Education, and Applications That Complement Overall NCAR Program

The scientific research performed at RAP is clearly application- oriented and complements the overall NCAR program as illustrated above. RAP's educational activities are also very much in step with NCAR's goals and objectives.

For the past several years RAP has had two long-term visitors who hold academic positions, and one of NCAR's two affiliate professorships is held by a RAP scientist. In addition, a number of RAP staff hold informal teaching appointments.

RAP typically employs eight to ten undergraduate and graduate student assistants from local universities and colleges. These students are majoring in atmospheric science, math, physics, computer science, or engineering and tend to work at RAP throughout their college years. RAP also participates in the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research (SOARS) program (see page 40), providing scientific direction and mentoring to students.

RAP staff make up approximately two-thirds of all guest lecturers for UCAR's COMET training classes (Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training) and frequently serve as mentors for those attending these courses.

Education is an important element in two new programs. As part of the cloud physics program in Mexico, RAP scientists have trained and mentored 11 Mexican students. Four of them will be in Boulder for five to six months to assist in analyzing data collected from the field program and to prepare themselves further for admission to graduate programs in the atmospheric sciences. RAP has assisted them in enrolling at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City and will provide lectures in radar meteorology for UNAM credit. A new program expected to begin this winter in Thailand also focuses on education and training. RAP scientists in collaboration with scientists from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and from the private sector will be teaching an introductory cloud physics course to Thai scientists in Bangkok. The classroom instruction will be followed by hands- on training in the field in the operation of instrumented cloud physics research aircraft and in data processing and analysis.