The National Center for Atmospheric Research is composed of four science and two facility divisions and several programs (see Figure 1). The scientific, technical, and administrative staff of these entities plans, manages, implements, and evaluates the activities and programs of the center. The quality and impact of the center's programs depend on the recruitment and retention of the highest-caliber staff, the acquisition and development of state-of-the-art facilities, and the selection of and dedication to important scientific problems confronting the atmospheric and related sciences. This section highlights NCAR's planning processes, its long-term leadership and commitment to important atmospheric science problems, its role in community service, and the interaction among the center's divisions and disciplines.


1. Planning and Priority Setting

The process for establishing priorities at NCAR is guided by the principles described in several documents: the NSF's strategic plan; the ATM-UCAR long-range plan; UCAR's strategic outlook, UCAR 2001; and the NCAR strategic plan. These priorities are in turn reflected in the annual program plans, which NCAR submits to NSF.

a. NSF Strategic Plan

In 1995, NSF developed a new strategic plan, NSF in a Changing World, that articulates three goals for the foundation. The first is to enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering. The second is to promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society. The third is to achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The goals of NCAR and UCAR are fully consonant with these broad NSF goals.

b. The NSF Atmospheric Sciences Division- UCAR Long-Range Plan

The ATM-UCAR long-range plan had as its basis the long-range plan prepared in 1994, sometimes referred to as the Stephens Report. This document was prepared by a community-wide committee of scientists that was chaired by Pamela Stephens of ATM and included two NCAR scientists, two NSF program officers, and three university representatives. That long-range plan identified three broad categories of focused research. The scientific priorities and plans within each category have served as a guideline for subsequent ATM, UCAR, and NCAR planning exercises.

c. UCAR 2001

UCAR's strategic plan for the final decade of the nineties was adopted by the trustees and members after two years of consultation and iteration that culminated at the members' meeting of October 1991. Published in 1992, UCAR 2001-A Strategic Outlook for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research describes a complex and challenging mission to guide UCAR's activities:

to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the university community, nationally and internationally; to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related systems and t he global environment; and to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on earth.

An overarching strategy, six goal areas, and four management goals were described, and many specific objectives were des igned to guide the corporation toward achieving this mission. The strategy is

to continue to support and broaden university-based education and research in an evolutionary way and in a manner that builds upon and is grounded in the basic atmo spheric sciences.

The six goal areas, with the first two being of highest and equal priority, are

1. Science-foster a broad scientific program of highest quality to address present and future needs of society,

2. Rese arch facilities-develop and acquire state-of-the-art scientific research facilities for the atmospheric and related scientific community,

3. Education and training-devote significant attention to education and training, with emphasis on wom en and minorities,

4. 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, policymakers, and the public in ord er to foster the use of science in the service of humankind,

5. Technology transfer-in conjunction with the UCAR Foundation, transfer appropriate UCAR technology to the public and private sectors,

6. Research and operational partnerships -strengthen the relationship between operational and research communities in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

d.NCAR's Strategic Plan

NCAR issued its first strategic plan in 1990. Development of the pla n involved NCAR division directors, NCAR's senior staff, the UCAR trustees, and NSF officials. The purpose of this strategic plan was to establish long-term principles, guidelines, and objectives that would set the context for NCAR's scientific and techni cal programs to evolve and develop in a rapidly changing national funding environment for atmospheric sciences. One critical consideration was the acknowledgment of the substantial broadening of the base of support for the atmospheric sciences in agencie s beyond NSF, and a second was the rapid growth in the U.S. Global Change Research Program. It was also recognized that NSF funding alone was likely to be insufficient to accomplish many of NCAR's long-range goals. Maintaining the essential close relati onships among the universities, NSF, and NCAR was the guiding principle underlying the plan. NCAR reaffirmed its long-standing mission:

1. Plan, organize, and conduct atmospheric and related research programs in collaboration with the univers ities and other institutions;

2. Provide state-of-the-art research tools and facilities to the atmospheric science community;

3. Support and enhance university atmospheric science education; and

4. Facilitate transfer of technology to both the public and private sectors.

Collectively, these components form the basis for NCAR's broad mission, to serve as an extension of the research and educational activities within the university community. The fourth component, technology tra nsfer, was added in order to recognize explicitly the obligation of federally funded centers such as NCAR to facilitate the use of their intellectual property and knowledge in service to society. Within this strategic plan, NCAR identified four principal programmatic areas:

1. its broad core program of research and facilities, which provides the basis for all of NCAR's activities;

2. the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which was given high scientific priority;

3. the U.S . Weather Research Program (USWRP), an emerging scientific priority; and

4. capital equipment, which the institution needed in order to support the growing and more complex demands of the science.

The plan also noted explicitly that al l of these priorities were consistent with those of NSF and that other agency support should be sought as the opportunity allowed, to help carry out NCAR's objectives.

The four principal programmatic areas are a framework within which NCAR accelerates progress whenever opportunities present themselves. As a consequence of developing this plan, additional focus was brought to NCAR's participation in the USGCRP, specifically, the Global Tropospheric Chemistry Program (GTCP), the Climate Modeling Analys is and Prediction program (CMAP), the Coupled Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions program (CEDAR), and the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere program (TOGA).

The growing needs of the community for new capital equipment were clearly articu lated in the planning process, and NCAR accordingly made acquisition of this equipment a high priority for new funding. NCAR substantially enhanced its supercomputing and, subsequently, observational facilities. Finally, the strategic planning process, with the strong support of NSF, led to a greatly simplified annual program planning process and a more concise and informative NCAR program plan.

NCAR's strategic plan helped NCAR and UCAR to define better the conditions under which NCAR should accept funding from sources other than NSF, and many accomplishments have been made possible because of this broadened support. For example, the international Model Evaluation Consortium for Climate Assessment (MECCA) provided more than $10 million in supercom puting resources to accelerate climate research. This innovative partnership was created under UCAR's leadership and involved participation by several national and international organizations, both private and public, and NCAR. NSF endorsed NCAR's cospo nsorship of the endeavor. Among the important results from MECCA was the improved understanding of the roles of atmospheric aerosols in modulating climate on regional and global scales.

Development of the Electra Doppler radar (ELDORA) involved the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and CNET (Centre National d'Etudes des Telecommunications) as principal partners who contributed $3 million in return for guaranteed use of the system. ELDORA has served as a focal point for incr eased scientific collaboration between the United States and France, and has enabled significant advances in university research capabilities. Its success is certain to lead to other similar coventures in the future.

In 1994, NCAR management and seni or staff developed a more detailed articulation of longer-range scientific objectives in an updated strategic overview, NCAR's Research Contributions to the Atmospheric and Related Sciences: A Strategic Overview, 1994-2003. The basic mission statement w as reaffirmed. Planning, organizing, and conducting atmospheric research and providing state-of-the-art research facilities were designated of highest priority for the center, while educational activities and transfer of technology were of secondary prio rity. The senior staff felt it was important to make this distinction; without strong scientific research and facilities at NCAR, extensions of the universities' educational programs and transfer of technology would be impossible.

The strategic overv iew had five purposes:

1. to state NCAR's strategic cross-cutting scientific goals and objectives for understanding and predicting global change and weather,

2. to place the strategic research within the context of a broad research base in the core programs of NCAR,

3. to provide input into NSF's five-year planning process and the development of foundation priorities for use in congressional requests,

4. to guide NCAR's collaboration with the university community, and

5. to pro vide additional detail about the scientific components of NCAR's strategic plan.

Special emphasis in the 1994 strategic overview was placed on the two programmatic themes that cut across NCAR's scientific divisions and sections within the divisions: conducting a broad core research program, and addressing issues of national and international importance through research-specifically understanding and reducing uncertainties in global change, and improving understanding and prediction of weather.

e.The Annual NCAR Program Plan

Each year NCAR divisions examine all aspects of their programs as the first step in developing the NCAR program plan. The NCAR Directors' Committee has the responsibility f or determining the final content of the plan, to adjust it both within a given year and from year to year as required. Prior to submission to NSF for approval, the plan is presented to the UCAR trustees for their concurrence.

The plan describes high- priority elements of NCAR's program and differences and changes in the program from prior years. New initiatives are described in detail, and their scientific objectives and costs are spelled out. Recent examples of new initiatives where NCAR's role was clarified through development of the program plan include the Climate System Model (CSM) development, the development of the Stokes polarimeter, the creation at NCAR of the Office of the Lead Scientist for the U.S. Weather Research Program, the conduct o f broad community observational programs such as MLOPEX II (the second Mauna Loa Observatory Photochemistry Experiment), and upgrades to NCAR's computing systems.

NSF funds three types of programs at NCAR: base programs, focused or na med programs, and so-called special programs. Additional funding derives from other agencies, public institutions, and foreign governments and organizations; collectively, this funding is called other-agency support. Total FY 1997 funding, an d its sources, are presented in Table 1.

Base funds provide NCAR with the greatest discretion and flexibility, particularly with respect to adjusting base allocations within the center, in proposing to ATM their us e and distribution among divisions. Within the science divisions, base funds support a wide range of theoretical, applied, and modeling studies. They provide the flexibility required to pursue and initiate new scientific programs and emphases across a bro ad spectrum of research in climate and weather, microscale and microphysical processes, solar physics, upper atmo-spheric dynamics, atmospheric chemistry, and environmental and societal impacts. Moreover, base funds allow NCAR to pursue effectively interd ivisional and multidisciplinary studies across areas and divisions. Observing and computing facilities and services are also primarily supported by the base funds, facilitating progress in postdoctoral education, instrument development, field observing s upport, computational methods, mass storage architectures, high-level computing support.

Named or focused programs are high-priority national programs identified and prioritized in the ATM-UCAR long-range plan. At NCAR, named programs supporte d by NSF include the USGCRP, a portion of the USWRP, and portions of the High- Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program and the Climate Simulation Laboratory (CSL). The CSL is a multiagency-supported program whose funding is managed by ATM. The CSL represents NCAR's support to the USGCRP climate modeling community, and its funding amounts to approximately one-half of NCAR's named program funding. Together, named program funds provide slightly less flexibility than base funds in developmen t of the overall NCAR program. In general, however, named and base programs overlap in purpose or are highly complementary; therefore the two categories of funds augment each other. For example, the Climate System Modeling effort and the USWRP are both also supported by the NCAR base funds.

NSF special funds provide roughly equal support for two broad categories of research expenses: marginal costs of field support through the deployment fund, and research grant support for special programs such as the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA-COARE), CEDAR, and others. The latter also includes a small amount of funding from NSF divisions other than ATM; for example, funds from the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate support the Geophysical Statistics Program.

Other-agency funds have helped NCAR accelerate scientific progress and provide facilities that otherwise would not have been possible. All externally supported programs must be consistent with NCAR's program plan and mission, and are approved by NSF. Some prominent examples of programs supported wholly or in part by other agency funds are MECCA, the Global Environment and Ecological Simulation of Interactive Systems (GE NESIS) program (Environmental Protection Agency), ELDORA (CNET and CNRS), The High-Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, or HIRDLS, and Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the NCAR Research Application s Program aviation weather program (Federal Aviation Administration), and the Mesoscale Model 5 (many agencies). These are highlighted later in the document; Section VII is dedicated to NCAR's two largest other-agency programs, HIRDLS and RAP.

f. Development of Scientific Initiatives

Generally, the initiation of new scientific and technological programs at NCAR begins when NCAR and/or community scientists identify key scientific opportunities or gaps in our fundamental knowledge. NCAR sci entists use the latitude of their scientific appointments and the flexibility of the base program to work within the general framework of the NSF-approved annual program plan. Where the scope of the problem is sufficiently broad or lies outside the progr am plan, a proposal or initiative is brought forward to the appropriate division director(s) for consideration. If the problem is beyond the scope or financial resources of a single division, then the initiative is considered by the NCAR Directors' Commi ttee, where it is evaluated on the basis of its importance and relevance, and the feasibility and impact of redirecting existing resources or obtaining incremental support. NCAR division directors and senior managers are recognized scientific and technic al experts in the field, and they also may propose new initiatives for consideration by the scientific staff and the Directors' Committee, as appropriate. The larger and more complex of these scientific initiatives are also discussed broadly within the community through scientific planning teams and workshops; in consultation with NSF, the most promising are incorporated into NCAR's annual program plan and frequently into the ATM-UCAR long-range plan as well.

In FY 1997, NCAR instituted three new in ternal mechanisms aimed at defining, establishing, and supporting scientific and technological initiatives. A bid and proposal fund will encourage and support the preparation of multidivisional proposals. The Directors' Committee also approved a modest opportunity fund for which all divisions will compete for new internal initiatives. Finally, NCAR's incremental USWRP research funding is being allocated to NCAR scientists on the basis of a peer-reviewed internal proposal competition.

2. Scientific and Technical Leadership

NCAR participates in many different ways in the leadership, development, and conduct of community-wide scientific and technical programs. Here we cite three scientific initiatives in varying stages of develop ment that represent NCAR's scientific leadership: the Mauna Loa Photochemistry Experiment, which is in a mature stage; the USWRP, which is now an established and growing program; and the Solar Magnetism Initiative, which is in a formative stage. Also pre sented as illustrative of leadership are a discussion of NCAR staff participation on high-level national and international committees, and recent honors bestowed on scientific staff.

"Excellent management and scientific leadership have been the key to ACD's recent directions and successes."

a. Mauna Loa Observatory Photochemistry Experiment

The Mauna Loa Observatory Photochemistry Experiment (MLOPEX) was conceived, planned, and conducted by NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division as a part of NSF's Global Tropospheric Chemistry Program (GTCP). It addressed three of GTCP's objectives: global distributions and trends, gas-phase photochemistry, and theoretical studies and modeling. MLOPEX's objectives were to evaluate the budgets and photochemical processes of ozone, odd nitrogen, and various odd hydrogen species, and to build a climatology of photochemically important short-lived trace species in the remote troposphere. More tha n a dozen research institutions have participated in MLOPEX, including seven U.S. universities (Washington State University, University of Rhode Island, Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M, Drexel University, University of Wyoming, and Universit y of Colorado) and laboratories from three foreign countries. MLOPEX operates under the guidance of a community Science Advisory Panel that includes scientists from NCAR, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NSF, and two universit ies.

"ACD research in the past 3-5 years has developed greatly in quality and quantity, achieving a level of excellence that truly befits a national center of atmospheric chemistry."

A first field experiment was conducted in May-June 1988 at NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawaii. The site is representative of the remote troposphere, and the timing coincided with the climatological maxima of ozon e and transport of dust from Asia. Issues raised as a consequence of MLOPEX I observations led to a more comprehensive year-long program in 1991-92. Aircraft observations were added during MLOPEX II to elucidate the effects of boundary- layer dynamics, t o identify the chemical influence of local island emissions, and to extend the scope of the chemical measurements. Analysis of the MLOPEX observations and numerical modeling have resulted in a broad range of scientific findings concerning the representat iveness of the measurements, tropospheric ozone production, partitioning of odd nitrogen, the efficacy of modeled hydroxyl radical concentrations and photodissociation and production rates, and the influence of distant continental emissions. The field wo rk is now complete, and two special Journal of Geophysical Research issues have been published describing the findings: June 20, 1992, and June 20, 1996. Work continues to extract further conclusions about the remote free troposphere from this landmark experiment.

b. U. S. Weather Research Program

NCAR scientists have led in the development and revitalization of the U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP). The lead scientist of the USWRP is from NCAR's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorolog y Division. Two NCAR scientists serve on the Science Steering Committee, and ten NCAR scientists have contributed as members (and chairs) of the program's eight Prospectus Development Teams (PDTs). The NCAR director serves on the Interagency Working Gro up that is charged with program coordination among agencies, laboratories, and universities. Table 2 lists the themes of the eight PDTs and indicates the roles played by NCAR scientists. The contributions of these scientists, together with their communi ty colleagues, helped transform the USWRP from a long-standing concept into a viable and dynamic national mesoscale research program. Important elements of this turn-around were the formation of the PDTs and the opportunities they provided for the commu nity to become directly involved in formulating the scientific bases, emphases, and scope of the program. The first phase of competitive grant allocations has recently been completed within NOAA, the ATM grants program, and NCAR. Other agencies are now joining in support of the program. FY 1996 was the first time that NCAR received incremental USWRP funding for the explicit purpose of enhancing its USWRP effort. Proposals were solicited in the three focus areas defined by the USWRP Science Advisory Co mmittee and the Interagency Working Group: the importance and mix of observations, quantitative precipitation forecasting, and hurricane landfall forecasts. From 21 proposals received, seven internal research grants were awarded after a peer-reviewed com petition similar to that used by ATM's grants program.

c. Solar Magnetism Initiative

NCAR's High Altitude Observatory (HAO) recently identified an opportunity to synthesize work on the formation, emergence, and development of solar magnetic structures and is leading the development of a community-wide Solar Magnetism Initiative (SMI). The fundamental physical process that drives solar variability is the emergence of fresh magnetic flux from the solar interior , where it is generated, through the different layers of the solar atmosphere, and, ultimately, into interplanetary space. Research on solar magnetism has reached a stage of development where significant scientific advancements may be realized through a focused NSF program with broad community participation. Until recently, phenomena in the solar atmosphere have been studied as separate entities. The SMI program seeks to relate these into a unified picture in terms of the basic processes of radiative t ransfer, plasma physics, and magnetohydrodynamics. With the support of the offices of NSF/ATM and the NCAR director, HAO hosted two community workshops at NCAR; the first was held in December 1995 and the second in July 1996. Their purposes were to eval uate the state of the science, to examine the desirability of SMI as a national initiative, and to assess its potential contribution to NSF's National Space Weather Program.

"There are a number of areas of solar-terrestr ial science in which the HAO is clearly the world leader: upper atmosphere modeling, solar irradiance measurements, coronagraph observations and interpretation, and vector magnetic field measurements."

At the second SMI workshop, th e U.S. solar and solar-terrestrial physics communities recommended to NSF that it establish a five-year university grant program built around a two-part science and facility program at HAO. An observational component will emphasize magnetic vector field m easurements and the archiving and interpretation of comprehensive data from multiple instruments making observations from the photosphere out to the corona. These observations will be complemented by numerical models (some of which already reside at NCAR ) that attempt to simulate the dynamics of the large-scale corona and convective processes at diverse scale lengths. Some aspects of the impact of geomagnetic storms on the earth's upper atmosphere and the relationship to the parameters characterizing th e solar sources will be studied using the Assimilated Mapping of Electrodynamics in the Ionosphere (AMIE) procedure developed at HAO and in conjunction with the TIME-GCM modeling effort. The success of such a program will lay the physical basis for under standing the sun and its implications for the earth's atmosphere and space environment.

d. Participation on Scientific Advisory Boards and Committees

NCAR staff contribute to and frequently lead planning work shops and participate in working groups that develop community-wide strategic planning documents. NCAR staff also serve on numerous National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council committees that develop and review the scope and future directi on of the science, bringing their expertise to bear on scientific program development. These groups contribute to identifying and clarifying scientific issues, emerging topics, and the potentially most fruitful or tractable approaches to complex research problems. These activities both insure future NCAR scientists' involvement in such research efforts and provide opportunities for them to contribute their expertise.

UCAR and NCAR management also participate in developing future plans for the commun ity through their membership on national and international scientific advisory and review boards. A complete list of staff participation on committees for the past three years, as well as lists of staff honors, are found in NCAR's Annual Scientific Repor ts, http://www.dir.ucar.edu/dir/ASR96.

e. Honors and Recognition

NCAR staff have received recognition for their contributions and leadership from a wide variety of organizations and instituti ons. These awards and honors reflect the dedication and commitment of NCAR's staff to scientific excellence and innovation. A brief list of recent awards bestowed to NCAR staff is provided below.


NCAR's impacts on the quality of the nation's science infrastructure reach virtually all aspects of the atmospheric and related sci ences. These impacts flow from the broad strategies and program planning activities articulated in the preceding sections and are a direct consequence of the quality and breadth of NCAR's programs and people. The center's impacts can be placed into thre e principal categories:

1. long-range sustained scientific programs,

2. facility development and support,

3. intellectual infrastructure and outreach.

In the divisional and program reviews completed in 1996, the se three areas were found to be of high quality. The review panels noted that there was significant value added by the presence of the complementary disciplines resident within NCAR's divisions and programs. The following examples illustrate NCAR's impa cts as a national center.

"The clear consensus of the mail reviews is that CGD has a core group of excellent scientists who are doing first-rate and high-quality research, who have made significant contributions, and who play a major role in climate research and modeling in this country and internationally."

1. Long-Range, Sustained Scientific Programs

One of the principal ambitions of the early planners of NCAR was for a center that would be able to make long-term and sustained commitments to the most challenging scientific problems in atmospheric research, bringing to bear the necessary teams of experts. Here we present four examples of achievements that have been made possible by such a commitment.

a. Observations of the Sun's Corona

NCAR's role in solar physics and continuous observations of the corona have their roots in the High Altitude Observatory (HAO), established more than 50 years ago. For the past 35 years, NCAR has amassed perhaps the most comprehensive, continuous dataset of the sun's corona in existence. These coronal observations have provided an unparalleled database that has served researchers around the world in their investigations of the characteristics of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their impacts on the earth's atmosphere.

Associated with these sustained observations has been an in-depth, intensive, and long-duration study by NCAR's scientis ts of the nature and causes of CMEs. These research efforts have changed the community's views about the relationships among solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar magnetic fields. The increased understanding of the critical role of the solar ma gnetic field structure has led to a new community initiative to study solar magnetic fields. NCAR will participate in a new research program, the National Space Weather Program, which places particular emphasis on determining the extent of predictive capa bilities for geomagnetic storms and other interplanetary events, named "space weather," through improved understanding of the physical processes that give rise to coronal mass ejections on the sun. This research will be essential to establishing a capabil ity to predict CMEs and their influence on the earth's upper atmosphere.

b. Climate System Modeling

For two decades NCAR scientists have been among the leaders in climate system research using climate models. The concept of a community cli mate model as a research tool, developed and supported at NCAR, was established in the late 1970s. Subsequently, this and other community models, now available over the Internet, have been used by many investigators at universities and laboratories in th is country and abroad. NCAR has also participated in many community exercises, such as the modeling experiment within the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). The WOCE study has provided a high-resolution database of the North Atlantic Ocean that has been the foundation for a major worldwide research effort.

Three years ago NCAR began development of a Climate System Model (CSM) that would allow for interaction of component models of the atmosphere, land surface, ocean, and sea ice, all linked through an innovative concept referred to as a flux coupler. The CSM has been reviewed positively and is now a focal point for a broader effort by the entire community in model development and improvement, analysis of databases produced by the CSM, and international intercomparisons with other models. NCAR climate modelers are leaders, participants, and coordinators of other community-wide modeling efforts, including studies of paleoclimates, the influence of green house gases on climate change, and the role of sulfate and other aerosols in modulating the climate, globally and regionally. Worldwide, the institutions collaborating with NCAR on modeling efforts number in the many dozens and investigators in the hundr eds.

c. Societal Impacts

NCAR has maintained its early and sustained commitment to bridging the physical and social sciences. In the late '60s and early '70s, NCAR established the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (ESIG). Work wit hin ESIG was aimed originally at understanding how operational hail suppression efforts would affect society, in particular ranching and farming interests in the Great Plains. ESIG brought statisticians, economists, lawyers, and political scientists to NCAR to interact with natural scientists in an attempt to understand atmospheric questions of significance to society. Subsequently, ESIG's work has extended far beyond hail suppression and now includes climate; the societal impacts of weather events; co nnections among drought, agricultural practices, and famine; and, most recently, the societal and economic consequences of El Niño.

ESIG has contributed to a greater emphasis being placed within the USWRP on researc h that has societal applications. Most recently, ESIG's work has contributed to the global change community placing a greater emphasis on assessments, including integrated assessments, of scientific results within the context of how climate and climate c hange may affect society and vice versa. ESIG is one of the pre-eminent organizations of its type in the world, interacting with hundreds of organizations and people annually.

d. Assessment of Human Impacts on Atmospheric Ozone

Since the e arly 1980s, a coordinated international effort has been made to assess the impact of human activities on stratospheric ozone. NCAR scientists have played a leading role in this research effort by contributing to space observations, airborne field campaig ns, and the development of complex chemical transport models. Special attention has been given to the processes that are responsible for ozone depletion in the Antarctic and Arctic, and, more recently, to the effect of large volcanic eruptions, such as t he eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, on the depletion of strato-spheric ozone by industrially manufactured chlorofluorocarbons.

The environmental and climatic importance of tropospheric ozone has also been increasingly str essed. As a contribution to the Global Tropospheric Chemistry Program, NCAR scientists have developed an integrated research program aimed at quantifying natural and anthropogenic processes that affect the global budget of ozone and its precursors. Measu re-ments of key parameters-such as the emission of biogenic hydrocarbons by different ecosystems, the production of nitrogen oxides by thunderstorms and the concentration of chemical radicals in different atmo-spheric environments-have been key in studyin g the question of global-scale air pollution. A specific focus has been to assess the impact of emissions resulting from human activities, such as industry, domestic activity, agriculture, and transportation, including aircraft.

2. Fa cility Development and Support

A second principal way in which NCAR influences the quality of the nation's science is through its widely used facilities. These include not only observational and supercomputing facilities but, in a broader sense, numerical models that are used extensively to help understand the earth system and its components.

a. Observational Facilities

NCAR's prominent role in radar meteorology began more than 20 years ago with the center's commitment to build new Doppler radar systems for use by the community. These radars have now been used in experiments ranging from the Pacific Northwest to the southern tip of Florida and as far abroad as Taiwan and Australia. The radars have been used to study tro pical convective systems, extratropical cyclones, winter storms, severe weather including tornadoes, and small-scale convective phenomena such as microbursts. The radars' clear-air sensitivities have allowed investigations of the convective boundary laye r, and high-resolution multiple Doppler observations now permit recovery of small-scale pressure perturbation fields within convective systems and clouds. Observations in the optically clear boundary layer form the basis for convective storm prediction a nd the initiation of high-resolution numerical models. This research has helped to establish the operational next-generation Doppler radar systems in this country and around the world.

"There is no conceivable alternat ive to center funding for the effective delivery of ATD facilities. This funding has a very large impact on the atmospheric science community. In observational science, the availability of ATD facilities often shapes the contents of the research conducted . Hence, ATD plays a leadership role in observational atmospheric science."

The recent development of the Electra Doppler radar (ELDORA) has led to exciting new capabilities. ELDORA is perhaps the most advanced Doppler radar system for meteorological studies in existence. Developed in collaboration with the CNRS and CNET in France, this dual-Doppler airborne system provides unprecedented detail and quality for measurements of the internal processes in precipitation systems. The s ystem scans rapidly to produce three-dimensional kinematic fields that are recorded in real time and are also available for display aboard the research aircraft. Because of the mobility inherent in the airborne platform, ELDORA allows observations of clo uds, convective systems, and storms over remote regions of the globe, particularly over the oceans.

A second important new development in the field of radar meteorology is the S- band Doppler dual-polarization radar (S-Pol). S-Pol brings added mobili ty to very large land-based radar technologies, using polarization diversity. Polarization diversity creates detailed observations of the character of hygrometers that can be examined in the context of cloud development and dissipation. Relative ease of transport makes S-Pol a valuable tool for studying precipitation around the world. It is likely to be critically important for ground-truthing of new global satellite observing systems.

The Atmospheric Technology Divisio n (ATD) has provided surface observing systems and associated data processing, analysis, and archiving capabilities in support of field programs for nearly 30 years. During this period there has been a quantum change in the type and quality of measuremen ts from simple time-averaged mean quantities to advanced meteorological and chemical fluxes. In the earliest years, the observing stations were self- contained commercial mechanical weather stations. In 1976, ATD introduced its first-generation Portable Automated Mesonet (PAM I), consisting of 30 remote stations that measured temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and winds using a seven-meter tower. The data were telemetered in real time by line-of-sight radio frequency transmission to a centr al ingest and processing facility. PAM I supported 11 field campaigns over its six-year life.

The second-generation system, PAM II, was introduced in 1983 and incorporated numerous advancements, including satellite telemetry, improved sensors (includ ing integrated sensors with self-contained calibrations), markedly improved in- field real-time data displays, and a unique ten-meter tower design. PAM II featured 60 remote stations and over the course of its ten-year life supported 46 projects using the equivalent of 624 stations, providing nearly 50,000 station-days of scientific support. The third-generation PAM system was first deployed in 1995. It represents the first successful deployment of a surface network designed to make routine measurements of surface-layer meteorological fluxes by eddy correlation; chemical fluxes can also be obtained with user-provided instrumentation. There currently are three PAM-III/FluxPAM remote stations, and plans call for 15 by 2000.

To extend the surface mea surements available with PAM, ATD introduced in 1990 a state-of-the-art atmosphere-surface exchange research facility (ASTER), designed to provide measurements of surface fluxes of chemical species and momentum, heat, and mass. State-of-the-art sensors co upled with advanced data acquisition, analysis, and display allow researchers to measure and analyze the turbulent structure of the atmospheric surface layer. ASTER can also measure surface fluxes of momentum, sensible heat, water vapor, and (by incorpora ting user-supplied chemical analyses) surface fluxes of trace chemical species. The system can provide low-level profiles of wind, temperature, and humidity, as well as radiation and soil measurements.

Research using the NSF-owned aircraft has benefit ed the nation's research efforts, leading to improved understanding of the turbulent nature of boundary layers and fluxes of heat, momentum, moisture, and trace species. Early development of high-resolution measurements of three- dimensional air motion est ablished NCAR as a leader in this area. In situ observations in developing clouds have led to basic understanding of precipitation processes in a variety of weather regimes.

Recognizing the increasing and changing needs of the scientific community, N CAR hosted two community workshops to help define further needs for airborne platforms. From these workshops priorities were established for upgrades to the NSF/NCAR fleet. Because budgets were constrained, the acquisition of new aircraft seemed improba ble; therefore NCAR worked closely with NSF and the community to define how surplus military aircraft could be used to meet established scientific objectives.

In a period of about three years, two military aircraft, the C-130 and WB-57F, were acquired by NSF, and a good supply of spare parts were also obtained through government surplus channels. The C-130 is now functioning as an excellent platform for long-range, heavy-payload missions. The WB-57F is under modification for high- altitude studies in the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. Sufficient spare parts for the Electra aircraft have ensured its operation safely and effectively into the next century. This fleet restructuring was accomplished through reallocation of existing budget s, removal of two existing aircraft from service, and the cooperation and supplemental one-time funding from NSF. The restructured fleet is now well poised to address some of the important problems in atmospheric sciences. The current fleet is depicted i n Figure 2.

b. Supercomputing at NCAR

In the late 1970s, the atmospheric sciences took advantage of technological advancements with the installation at NCAR of the CRAY 1, and supercomputing became a reality. Subsequently, supercomputers have become the principal tools for simulations of the global atmosphere, the oceans, mesoscale cloud systems, boundary layers, and geophysical turbulence. Supercomputers at NCAR have been regularly upgraded from the early Cray 1 through the X-MP series, the Y-MP series, and now the C90. Growth in computing capacity during this era has exceeded several orders of magnitude, and by the spring of 1997 NCAR's Scientific Computing Division will offer a collective capacity of greater than ten gigaflops. As shown in Figure 3, increased computing capacity is a prerequisite to improvements in modeling capability.

"The infrastructure developed and nurtured by SCD is a critical requirement for the atmospheric research community to be able to advance the state-of-the-art. By having one location that serves as the collection point for the data, [and] high speed networking for transferring this data between the archival store and the high performance computing engines, economies o f scale as well as efficiency of research are realized. SCD has taken its mission of being the national center very seriously."

Figure 2. NSF/NCAR Aircraft Fleet. The C-130 on the tarmac in Ho bart, Tasmania, in November 1995. The tubes on the right front of the aircraft are part of the community aerosol inlet, designed by NCAR/ATD staff for aerosol sampling missions. This developement was in support of the Aerosol Characterization Experiment 1 (ACE 1).

The Electra in flight. The most recent significant upgrade is in the radome, on the tail of the aircraft, which houses the antenna of the ELDORA radar.

The WB-57F on the tarmac at Jefferson County Airport. This aircraft was acquired to study chemistry, dynamics, and radiation in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. It is not yet operational.

NCAR has introduced other innovative technology to meet community needs. The experimental Cray 3 was effectively employed in support of research at NCAR for more than a year, and NCAR staff have been involved in evaluating massively parallel architectures for at mospheric modeling, using several architectures at the center as well as highly parallel machines at laboratories elsewhere (in particular, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Argonne National Laboratories).

Figure 3. Computing/Modeling Evolution.

The NCAR Climate System Laboratory (CSL) is a national special-use computing facility for climate system modeling in support of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The CSL p rovides high-performance computing and storage systems to support large, long- running simulations that need to be completed in a short time period, e.g., multidecadal simulations using coupled system models. To expedite completion of large simulations, C SL equipment is dedicated to a small number of activities. In FY 1996, the CSL provided over 10,000 equivalent Y-MP central processing unit (CPU) hours per month to 11 USGCRP projects.

The CSL is open widely to principal investigators supported by a U.S. agency or institution. Large, preferably interdisciplinary, teams that address broadly posed sets of questions, such as issues examined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are particularly encouraged to apply for CSL computer time. Also encouraged are collaborations by scientists addressing policy issues, including impacts, mitigation, and adaptation options; and joint projects between modelers of the earth system and mathematical and com puter scientists for the development of computing methodologies for the CSL. CSL resources are allocated separately from NCAR's general community computing resources.

The CSL represents a new paradigm for the center, since these facilities will serve not only NSF-supported research but the entire USGCRP, with a principal focus on very large earth system simulations. In the future, NCAR plans to provide dramatically increased supercomputing through planned CSL enhancements. Computer performance per d ollar of purchase price doubles every 18-24 months. Thus, by the end of 1998, CSL capacity should be at least 20 gigaflops.

NCAR will continue to ensure a balance of capabilities within its Scientific Computing Division: (1) the highest-performance supercomputers, (2) data services and data storage capabilities matched to the needs of the community, and (3) networking and communications for easy access to databases and supercomputers.

c. Community Models

Community models are an esse ntial element of the support NCAR provides to the community. Collectively, NCAR may offer the widest range of simulation capability available anywhere and probably has the widest range of collaborators. The early Community Climate Model was the first to receive high visibility and widespread use. However, a number of other models are now equally important to the nation's scientific research enterprise. The Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics general circulation model (TIME-GCM) is one of these. Hundreds of researchers use either the model or model-generated databases to understand the dynamics, chemistry, and electrical properties of the earth's upper atmosphere and its interactions with the solar wind.

Version 5 of the Mesos cale Model (MM5) has served around the world as the basis for research in mesoscale weather systems, data assimilation, and four-dimensional variational analysis. In addition to its research applications, the MM5 is now being used operationally in several places around the world. GENESIS, the Global Environmental and Ecological Simulation of Interactive Systems model, was developed with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and has served as a basis for community research on paleoclimates. The Large Eddy Simulation model has rallied many investigators around studies of the planetary boundary layer. The Clark cloud and mesoscale model has been valuable in understanding air flow over and around complex terrain. Chemical transport models produc e a better understanding of how trace species evolve from their sources into global background levels, critical to processes such as the carbon cycle and the global nitrogen cycle. Many of these models serve as a basis for exploring interdisciplinary as pects and components of climate and weather systems.

3. Intellectual Infrastructure

NCAR's principal influence on the nation's intellectual infrastructure is through the many visitor prog rams and other activities that augment and extend the educational activities of the universities. NCAR staff form a central component of this intellectual infrastructure through their research and development accomplishments, and their numerous interacti ons that complement the research and education activities in the universities. One of the third-year reviewers of the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division offered his view that without NCAR and the essential infrastructural support that it provi des, he would be unable to conduct his research within his university. Many departments, small and large, depend critically upon their abilities to interact with NCAR staff in their research efforts, with help to both faculty and graduate students. NCAR staff also serve the universities as thesis advisors for many graduate students.

"The panel was very impressed by the level of basic atmospheric research occurring within MMM. Of particular note is the depth and breadth of the accomplishments of the MMM scientists."

NCAR's visitors number in the hundreds each year. The center's many workshops and collaborative research efforts influence the directions of research activities in the universities an d other laboratories and the development of the next generation of atmospheric scientists. Section IV provides quantitative data regarding NCAR's interactions with and its influence on the external community.

NCAR's Adv anced Study Program (ASP) is known worldwide and is well respected. ASP is being reviewed separately during this fourth-year review, but some comments are appropriate here. ASP's postdoctoral program has been a mainstay of the institution from the begin ning; graduates can be found in over 40 UCAR universities and laboratories around the world and on NCAR's scientific staff. ASP provides postdoctoral candidates with a two-year opportunity to extend their graduate work, the freedom to pursue research at a time in their careers when they may be most creative and productive, and a chance to begin to establish reputations of their own. Many later become leaders in the field.

A second important component of ASP is the annual summer colloquium, which foc uses on a special topic and is widely attended by students and faculty throughout the universities. Lecturers include NCAR's scientific and technical staff, university faculty, and researchers from other organizations. Colloquia proceedings are suitable for use to augment graduate and undergraduate curricula.


Collaboration and interaction are required for success in the interdisciplinary, advanced-technology environments of toda y's research programs. The community that conducts these programs needs a wide variety of skills and services to be successful: scientific support in the form of data resources, facilities, community models, and support for field programs; educational se rvices at all levels, including public outreach and awareness; and voluntary professional activities such as editorships and participation in professional societies. Service to the research community is a natural component of NCAR scientific careers. Su ch service is a recognized criterion for advancement; by the time scientists reach the top level at NCAR, they are expected to have demonstrated a broad record of participation in such activities.

"ATD has maintained its historic outstanding level of service to the academic community. ATD has become the world leader in providing atmospheric technology to large field programs."

Community service at the individual and institutional levels takes many forms: providing opportunities for scientific collaboration and interaction through visitor programs, access to and support for computing and observing facilities, management and distribution of data resources including model outputs and field measurement datasets, and educational activities that support students of all ages and the general public.

"While the CSM (Climate System Model) activity clearly requires a center, a case ca n also be made that CAS (Climate Analysis Section) activities such as the processing of NCEP reanalysis data require the combination of computing resources, support personnel, long-term commitment, and in-house scientific expertise that is best supported at a center."

1. Data Services

NCAR has the largest archive of climatological data in North America. It contains measurements and model outputs on precipitation; temperature trends; special climate trends; anal yses from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, the National Weather Service, and others; and numerous ocean, upper-atmosphere, and stratospheric datasets. All of these are available to the community, either directly from the Internet or in various media such as CD-ROM. Usage statistics indicate the value and wide distribution of these data, and point to the importance of this service to the research community.

The Research Data Program was formed within ATD six years ago to focu s and unify data services including archiving, delivery, and development of analysis software. This program maintains an archive of research data, enhances existing applications software, and develops new software to fill essential research needs in the a reas of applications and processing for radar, aircraft, surface, and sounding data. Software is available to all investigators. Development projects under way or proposed include enhancement of the Zebra system for geophysical data integration, analys is, and display (a joint effort between ATD and MMM); the improvement of interactive analysis tools for radar measurements; and the development of a next-generation data query/order system to handle users' requests for data, software, and documentation. < P> 2. Observational Facility and Field Program Support

ATD supported 30 field projects in fiscal years 1993, 1994, and 1995, ranging from small to very large and spanning the globe from pole to pole. The whole range of facilities was deployed for studies of cloud microphysics, clouds and radiation, aerosol and gas-phase chemistry, Colorado Front Range winter and western Pacific tropical storms, boundary layer turbulence and fine- scale structures, and surface fluxes of multiple constituents ov er the oceans and land (see Figure 4). The programs contributed to goals of major U.S. research initiatives including the USGCRP, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program, and the USWRP. Surveys are used routinely to monitor satisfaction with NCAR' s field support and to provide useful feedback on ways to improve this service and identify facility needs.

ATD's atmospheric observing facilities are equally available to NCAR and university scientists whose work is supported by NSF. Although most o f the support is for field experiments, it is also available for instrument testing and educational purposes. Requests for field support are evaluated by an NSF advisory panel, which recommends to a joint NSF-NCAR-university allocation panel, which in t urn makes final allocation decisions. Facilities are also available on a non- interference and full-cost-recovery basis to investigators supported by other organizations.

3. Community Computing Resources

Community computing resources supp lied by SCD are depicted in Figures 4 and 5. These are used by university and NCAR scientists in support of research in climate, mesoscale and microscale meteorology, oceanography, chemistry of the upper atmosphere, basic fluid dynamics, cloud physics, and astrophysics. By agreement with the NSF and the UCAR trustees, 45% of community resources are available to the university community, 45% to internal NCAR users, and 10% to joint university/NCAR projects. Allocations to university scientists for more than 250 GAUs (general accounting units) are peer-reviewed by the SCD Advisory Panel and allocations to NCAR scientists are reviewed by the NCAR Allocations Committee, which reports to the NCAR Director's Office.

"The S CD has done an exceptional job of meeting its service responsibilities in an environment of rapidly evolving technologies, uncertain budgets, and constrained resources. By this measure [user surveys], SCD is doing very well and the user community appreci ates the service efforts put forth by the management and staff."

NCAR's computing support is extensive and includes networking and archiving activities. The NCAR Mass Storage System (MSS) enables users to store and retrieve model o utput, observational data, source files, backup files, etc. The system contained about three million files totaling about 80 terabytes at the end of FY 96.

Figure 4. Facility Use Statistics.

The NCAR Visualization Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility that offers focused support for special projects and provides a research and development environment for the visualization of very large datase ts, volume and distributed visualizations, digital media development, advanced environments employing virtual reality technologies, and the application of advanced networking technologies. The lab supports both batch and interactive (real-time) visualiza tion with emphasis on the latter. Milestones in interactive visualization include the development of:

Figure 5. Supercomputing at NCAR

In support of High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) "Grand Challenge" turbulence research, staff developed general-purpose volume rendering capabilities enabling visualization of time-evolving, high-resolution volumetric datasets. These utilities have been used by Grand Challenge Applications Group researchers fr om the University of Colorado, NCAR, and the University of Minnesota to study geostrophic and astrophysical turbulence.

"The panel applauded SCD management in meeting its service requirements during a turbulent period w hich included shrinking resources and rapid technological change."

SCD makes available a suite of tools and support services that fosters the scientific productivity of its users. These tools range from mathematical, graphical, and statistical software libraries to highly optimized job execution queues and scientific visualization of data. Support services assist users with the many aspects of computational science. Support staff include programming consultants, software engineers, network engineers, computer operators, data specialists, scientific visualization experts, digital media experts, and computational theoreticians. As described earlier, SCD also provides meteorological and oceanic datasets and related data services to s cientists around the world.

4. Professional Activities

Community service by individual staff members is extensive and takes the forms of participation on scientific advisory committees; service to professional societies and journals as of ficers, committee members, or editors; and support to young scientists as mentors and advisors, both at NCAR and in conjunction with graduate programs. Educational activities are another primary area of community service. A list of editorships held, panel and committee memberships, and other advisory roles filled by NCAR scientists can be found in the Annual Scientific Reports for 1994 through 1996 on the World Wide Web at http://www.dir.ucar.edu/dir/ASR96.< P> Community support mechanisms have been broadened recently through use of the World Wide Web. This technology allows for unprecedented access to large volumes of information, whether it be the latest dataset from a field campaign, on-line registratio n for an upcoming workshop, or the complete report of scientific activities undertaken during a particular fiscal year. This medium is expected to continue its growth and ease of user interfaces. Future NCAR Web plans include creating a database of all NCAR peer-reviewed journal articles and improving search engines to make the ever-growing UCAR website more easily navigated.


NCAR supports the growing interdisciplinary nature of atmospheric research in many ways and has seen a significant evolution in its own work toward multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programs at the center. Promotion criteria have recently been revi sed to recognize the contributions of interdisciplinary research more explicitly. UCAR and NCAR seek to identify opportunities for cross-divisional interactions in new program initiatives, as well as fostering interactions among existing programmatic are as. For example, new technologies that measure earth system processes as a whole have suggested cross-disciplinary applications. Global Positioning System technology has recently been used in several innovative ways to measure atmospheric properties. Ch emical transport models have provided new insight into the role of chemistry in the radiation budget of the planet.

Interdisciplinary programs evolve from interactions among scientific disciplines and are spurred by advances in theory that point to n ew connections. These connections are often fostered by technological innovations. NCAR provides a setting that links science and technology synergistically to further the science. For example, numerical modeling in the atmospheric sciences could not have developed without concomitant advances in computing capability. Requirements for enhanced computing capability are driven, in turn, by the increasing sophistication of the models. Recognition of the need for new measurements to capture some element or process has driven the development of many new instruments.

"The synergy of ATD programs with other NCAR programs adds substantially to the effectiveness of NCAR."

As a center, NCAR is able to draw on multiple disciplines and subdisciplines to address the most important and promising scientific problems. While divisions are organized around specific disciplines, such as chemistry or solar physics, major cross- disciplinary and interdisciplinar y thrusts have developed. This research seeks to understand the connections within the earth system as a whole, bringing to bear essential disciplinary expertise and rigor. NCAR's cross-divisional and interdisciplinary programs are concentrated in severa l major areas and involve all parts of the organization at some level. The specifics of the cross-divisional programs (shown in Figure 6) are cross referenced below:

Focused programs, such as the GTCP and the USWRP, involve participation by several divisions, with one division usually taking the lead. Interdivisional programs also develop in response t o new insights or scientific opportunities. There are currently a number of such programs, including the Climate System Modeling effort, the Geophysical Turbulence Program, the Geophysical Statistics Program, and the Clouds in Climate Program.

Figure 6. Major Integrative Programs

Emerging initiatives are most often grass-roots projects that arise from collaborations among individual scientists. Examples from this category include a new collabo ration on atmospheric chemistry and meteorology between the Atmospheric Chemistry Division (ACD) and the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division (MMM), and the GPS/MET data assimilation project involving ATD, MMM, the Climate and Global Dynamics Div ision (CGD), the Research Applications Program (RAP), and GPS/MET Program in the UCAR Office of Programs. The Environmental and Societal Impacts Group has ongoing interactions in the area of impacts assessment with CGD, and on impacts of mesoscale and s evere weather events with MMM and RAP. This last effort will be strengthened through support from the USWRP.