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Winter/Spring 1997

Joint Office for Science Support consolidates project support services

UCAR's new Joint Office for Science support (JOSS) offers a comprehensive menu of services to scientific field programs anywhere in the world, from planning through implementation to processing the data. The new office, under the direction of Karyn Sawyer, combines the services and staff of two former UOP groups, the Office of Field Project Support (OFPS) and the Joint International Climate Projects/Planning Office (JICP/PO). Two associate directors, Dick Dirks--formerly head of OFPS--and Gus Emmanuel, bring in-depth scientific and technical expertise to the JOSS management team.

Karyn Sawyer

"Our goal is for scientists to be able to go to the field and do their science without having to worry about anything else." says Sawyer. To that end, the office arranges logistics, obtains permits, provides insurance, arranges housing and travel, sets up operations centers including forecasting centers, arranges satellite communications and Internet connections, and deals with any number of other details. Scientist and agency clients may choose to use the office for any or all of the services offered.

"Field project support is important, but it's only part of what this office does," adds Sawyer. JOSS also supports a number of sponsored visitors, organizes and manages a variety of workshops both domestic and international, provides support staff for the U.S. Global Change Research Program office and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Support Unit for Working Group II, has assisted in establishing new institutions (such as the InterAmerican Institute in Brazil) and assists scientists and institutions worldwide in encouraging cooperation.

Another important component of JOSS is its data management group. The group focuses on compiling and managing the complete data sets that result from individual field programs, as distinguished from the long-term data sets that are maintained by groups such as NCAR's Scientific Computing Division. In the early 1990s, what is now the JOSS data group developed and implemented an innovative software library for handling these field data sets, called the Cooperative Distributed Interactive Atmospheric Catalog System, or CODIAC. CODIAC allows researchers to identify data sets of interest; view associated information on how, where, and when the data were collected; browse the data; and obtain them via Internet file transfer protocol (FTP). The data management group has also made a number of data sets available on CD-ROM.

JOSS is currently supporting about ten field projects, ranging from the Fronts and Atlantic Storm Track Experiment (FASTEX), which finished its field phase at the end of February, to several experiments that will not be in the field until the turn of the century. Further information is available from Sawyer (303-497-8681 or karyn@ucar.edu) or via JOSS's Web site.


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