With the two NSF/NCAR aircraft on hand, the new hangar at Jefferson County Airport proved a surprisingly elegant setting for a reception on the evening of 4 October for UCAR's member and affiliate representatives. Click here or on image to enlarge it. (Photo courtesy Richard Grotjean, University of California, Davis.)
More than 100 faculty at this year's meeting of UCAR members and affiliates took an extra-close look at UCAR, NCAR, and UOP during several open-house activities developed by the University Relations Committee. On the morning of 4 October, more than 45 members participated in tours of NCAR's visualization and chemistry labs, as well as the new chemistry building that is now nearly complete at Foothills Lab. They also viewed demonstrations of community tools developed by several UOP programs. Later in the afternoon, attendees browsed more than two dozen posters staffed by representatives from throughout the organization.
Below are highlights from the 2005 meetings. A more complete report can be found online at the follow-up Web site (see "On the Web"), including many links to individual PowerPoint presentations and PDF files. The site also covers a number of discussion points that emerged from the open-house session.
UCAR president Richard Anthes summarized the highlights of the past year, including new facilities for community service, UCAR's increasing breadth of community interactions, and the funding picture in Washington, D.C. Anthes also noted the success of the National Hurricane Center and the Weather Research and Forecasting model in predicting Hurricane Katrina, as well as the challenges that remain in hurricane modeling and prediction, including forecasts beyond two to three days in advance.
The focus of NCAR director Tim Killeen's presentation was the center's 2001 strategic plan and its update, which is now being crafted. Killeen described progress in diversifying NCAR's scientific staff, the sizable increase in the number of peer-reviewed publications written with external collaborators, some recent science accomplishments, and several recent and upcoming field projects.
UOP director Jack Fellows provided updates on several programs, including the appointment of Edward Geary as acting director of GLOBE; the imminent launch of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC), which will provide a wealth of data sets; and the growth of tools and materials available through the National Science Digital Library and the Digital Library for Earth System Education.
Clifford Jacobs, NSF program officer for NCAR, brought the attendees up to speed on NSF's cyberinfrastructure plan and the National Academies' interim report, issued in September, on strategic guidance for NSF support of atmospheric science.
The University of Houston was approved unanimously as the 69th member institution of UCAR, and the Florida Institute of Technology was recognized as a new academic affiliate (approved in June by the UCAR Membership Committee). Memberships were renewed for a number of other members and affiliates, and new committee appointments were approved (see the follow-up Web site for complete lists).
Joel Widder (Lewis-Burke Associates) and Cindy Schmidt (UCAR Office of Government Affairs) covered the outlook for federal funding, including what Widder characterized as the "budget doldrums." That situation is the result of a boosted deficit following the recent hurricanes and an expectation that the government will operate on continuing resolutions until at least Thanksgiving 2005. In the longer range, a growing emphasis in Congress on innovation-related activities could lead to more funding for research and development.
The breakfast meeting of the Academic Affiliates Program on
4 October featured a dozen affiliate representatives. Among other topics, the affiliates discussed
• ongoing efforts to acquire collective access to journals for AAP members,
• several concerns about the American Meteorological Society's policy statement on requirements for the bachelor's degree in meteorology, and
• the use of UCAR Webcasts as a curriculum tool.
Tim Spangler (director, Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training) briefed the AAP representatives on several new COMET modules, as well as on upcoming Webcasts from this fall's AMS radar conference and the need for an updated set of radar modules.
University Relations Committee
Outgoing URC chair John Merrill (University of Rhode Island) summarized the committee's activities over the past year. One key action was its annual review of non-NSF NCAR research and non-core UOP research, in which the committee found no unfair competition with universities. The review process has been refined this year to better address the extent and nature of collaboration with community researchers.
At the URC's afternoon meeting on 5 October, James Hansen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) succeeded Merrill as the committee's new chair. The committee discussed the merits of the URC liaison function, in which committee members visit and report on the activities of NCAR divisions, and heard reports from two such liaisons: S.T. Wu (University of Oklahoma) on the High Altitude Observatory and Michael Morgan (University of Wisconsin) on the Scientific Computing Division.