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Outstanding Accomplishment Awards - 2008

The December 12 all-staff party at Center Green, sponsored by the Employee Activities Committee, continued the tradition of ringing in the holidays while recognizing the outstanding work of employees. Awards went to 27 staff in five categories.

Nominations and winners:
1995 1996 1997 19981999200020012002200320042005 2006200720082009

All Award Winners, 1967–present

2008 Winners

Administrative Achievement

Jeff Reaves, Gina Taberski, Amy Smith, Meg McClellan, Kim Prinzi-Kimbro, and Ingrid Moore for their work on COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate/Formosa Satellite Mission #3). This team assumed overall leadership for the program, continually evaluated and effectively managed the risks, negotiated the numerous agreements among the various parties (including the government of Taiwan), and engaged in extensive shuttle diplomacy to resolve the many issues that arose. Unprecedented for UCAR in its complexity and magnitude, this program required a great deal of creativity and innovation to manage the financial, contractual, and legal risks that it posed.

Education and Outreach

Don Murray, Jeff McWhirter and Yuan Ho (Unidata) for the design, development, support and advancement of the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) to foster education and outreach in the geosciences.  The IDV has revolutionized the way educators visualize and analyze geoscience data and has transformed the learning environment by allowing students to easily access the same databases used by scientists and forecasters inside and outside the classroom. 

Outstanding Publication Award

Britt Stephens (EOL/TIIMES) for

B. Stephens, K. Gurney, Pieter P. Tans, Colm Sweeney, Wouter Peters, Lori Bruhwiler, Philippe Ciais, Michel Ramonet, Philippe Bousquet, Takakiyo Nakazawa, Shuji Aoki, Toshinobu Machida, Gen Inoue, Nikolay Vinnichenko, Jon Lloyd, Armin Jordan, Martin Heimann, Olga Shibistova, Ray L. Langenfelds, L. Paul Steele, Roger J. Francey, and A. Scott Denning, 2007:  Weak northern and strong tropical land carbon uptake from vertical profiles of atmospheric CO2.  Science, 316, 1732-1735.

Past research has recognized that only half of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion stays there and called it the "missing carbon sink".  This paper is the first to answer what happens to that CO2—a longstanding mystery of the global carbon cycle—and concludes that this missing carbon sink does not exist.  The finding has energized the carbon cycle community to test these conclusions.

Scientific and Technical Advancement Award

Gary New and Julie Harris (CISL); Steven Haynes, Dave Patterson, Dave Maddy, Brian McMillan, John Adamson, Matt Monahan, Dave Heckel, Gordon Kinn, John Harkness, Sandra Sundquist, Leonard Cooper, Bruce Kovalski, and Keith White (Physical Plant Services); Peter Chamberlain (Business Services); and Bart Woodiel (EOL) for designing, implementing, and commissioning significant new ML infrastructure as part of the Bluefire Facilities Infrastructure Team.  Working within a very tight design and delivery schedule, BFIT effectively and efficiently solved numerous technical problems – including frequent scope changes from IBM, discovery and remediation of insufficient facility capabilities, and innovative fabrication techniques – and completed the project on time and under budget.



Chris Davis (ESSL/MMM) for mentoring efforts that have influenced and motivated numerous graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior scientists.  Chris has had – and continues to have – a significant impact on the professional development of individuals both within NCAR and the university community at large.  He is relentless in providing encouragement and supportive leadership to his protégés in ways that lead them to think for themselves. 


Other Nominees

Education and Outreach

Kate Young and Tim Lim (EOL) for their contributions to K-12, college, and general public science education using EOL's weather balloon radiosonde system.  They have traveled the U.S. and around the world to launch weather balloons in 23 events, introducing more than 1,700 people to the structure of our atmosphere, while showing what the radiosonde system is, how it works, and why we need it. 

Kevin Trenberth (ESSL/CGD) for his service in educating the public about issues of climate, weather, and climate change.  In the past two years he has given many talks on global climate change in association with the finalization and publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, including congressional testimony and interactions with congressional staffers and members of Congress.


Rajul Pandya (UCAR Community Building Program) for his mentoring work with students in SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) and many other groups nationwide.  Aside from on-site SOARS mentoring and offering advice to postdoctoral students in UCAR's Advanced Study Program, Raj reaches out to many other groups nationwide to assist with their mentoring needs.  He has had a profound impact on literally hundreds of young scientists, who continually seek out his counsel and friendship. 

Outstanding Publication Award

David Yates, Jack Sieber and Annette Huber-Lee (Stockholm Environment Institute), David Purkey (National Heritage Institute), and Hector Galbraith (Galbraith Environmental Services)

Yates, D., J. Sieber, D. Purkey, and A. Huber-Lee, 2005a:  WEAP21 a demand, priority, and preference driven water planning model:  Part 1, Model characteristics.  Water International,       30(4), 487-500.

Yates, D., D. Purkey, H. Galbraith, A. Huber-Lee, and J. Sieber, 2005b:  WEAP21 a demand, priority, and preference driven water planning model:   Part 2, Aiding freshwater ecosystem service evaluation.   Water International, 30(4), 501-512.

The authors describe the development and testing of a novel decision support system referred to as the WEAP (Water Evaluation and Planning) model, which is considered one of the most novel environmental planning models ever developed.  These papers show that the integration of hydrology and management is highly advantageous, as both supply and demand side interactions can be addressed simultaneously. 


Rebecca Morss and Olga Wilhelmi (ISSE), Mary Downton (retired, ISSE), and Eve Gruntfest (University of Oklahoma) for

Morss, R.E., O.V. Wilhelmi, M.W. Downton, and E. Gruntfest, 2005:  Flood risk, uncertainty, and scientific information for decision-making:  Lessons from an interdisciplinary project.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86, 1593-1601.

This paper helps scientists bridge the well-documented gap between scientific research and its beneficial use by distilling lessons learned from a research project on the use of scientific information in flood risk management.  The authors discuss (in scientific and lay terms) complex ways in which scientific information and uncertainty can interact with decision making, and they identify critical challenges faced in generating information that is usable in the process. 

Steve Tomczyk, Scott McIntosh, and Phil Judge (ESSL/HAO); Stephen Keil (National Solar Observatory); Tom Schad (University of Arizona); Dan Seeley (Framingham High School), and Justin Edmondson (NASA) for

S. Tomczyk, S.W. McIntosh, S.L. Keil, P.G. Judge, T. Schad, D.H. Seeley, and J. Edmondson, 2007:  Alfvén waves in the solar corona.  Science, 317, 1192-1196.

Two outstanding questions in solar physics are how the solar corona is heated to millions of degrees C from a temperature of about 5800°C at the photosphere and how the solar wind is accelerated.  The propagation and dissipation of Alfvén  waves in the solar atmosphere and corona may hold answers to these questions, and the first definitive detection and measurement of Alfvén waves was achieved by the groundbreaking work presented in this paper. 

Aiguo Dai, Kevin Trenberth, and Taotao Qian (ESSL/CGD) for

Dai, A., K.E. Trenberth, and T. Qian, 2004:  A global data set of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870-2002:  Relationship with soil moisture and effects of surface warming.  Journal of Hydrometeorology, 5, 1117-1130.

This paper analyzes the strong relationship between the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and observed soil moisture content and streamflow records over various regions, establishing the basis for using PDSI as a measure of droughts over global land.  It also investigates the potential drying effect induced by surface warming alone.  The paper was featured prominently in the most recent assessment of anthropogenic climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Alex Guenther, Thomas Karl, Peter Harley, Christine Wiedinmyer, and Paul Palmer (University of Edinburgh) and Chris Geron (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) for

Guenther, A., T. Karl, P. Harley, C. Wiedinmyer, P. I. Palmer, and C. Geron, 2006:  Estimates of global terrestrial isoprene emissions using MEGAN (Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature).  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 6, 3181-3210.

To address the critical need for robust estimates of emissions of isoprene (the most prevalent of the volatile organic compounds), the authors developed the Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature.  MEGAN is a unique, comprehensive modeling framework that can be applied to predict the exchanges of isoprene between the biosphere and the atmosphere.  MEGAN has already been incorporated into numerous surface-atmosphere exchange schemes.

Bill Skamarock (ESSL/MMM) for

Skamarock, W.C., 2004:  Evaluating mesoscale NWP models using kinetic energy spectra.  Monthly Weather Review, 132, 3019-3032.

This paper tackles the very difficult problem of assessing the ability of numerical weather forecast models to accurately represent important weather features that occur on smaller scales, where a model's ability to properly reproduce observed atmospheric behavior is most challenging.  This paper proposes a new approach, which evaluates the distribution of energy across all of the horizontal scales present in a model, with particular emphasis on behavior near the grid scale, where results are most sensitive to the model numerics. 

Scientific and Technical Advancement Award

Bruce Lites, Hector Socas-Navarro, David Elmore, Kim Streander, Greg Card, Alice Lecinski, and Ron Lull (ESSL/HAO) for their design and development of a spectropolarimeter for the Hinode satellite and development of the calibration and analysis packages for that instrument.  They are part of a joint U.S./Japanese effort to design, build, and deploy a space-borne solar observatory to study the Sun without the limitations experienced by ground-based observatories.  Successfully launched in 2006, this spectropolarimeter has provide major insights into the temporal behavior of vector magnetic field structures in the solar photosphere.

Dirk Richter, Petter Weibring, Jim Walega, and Alan Fried (EOL) for their development of an advanced infrared laser airborne spectrometer for trace gas measurements employing difference frequency generation technology.  This state-of-the-art instrument is enabling atmospheric scientists to gain a better understanding of how ozone is produced and destroyed from precursors such as formaldehyde over megacity complexes, highly industrialized petrochemical regions, and more remote atmospheric regions.  Groups around the world are looking into deploying this promising new technology on other platforms.


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