UCAR Communications

staff notes monthly

Administrators and computer professionals want to provide on-the-job assistance to their colleagues.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ask an experienced UCAR/NCAR staffer for help with a confusing computer program? Or get together occasionally with your peers from other divisions to talk about common challenges and solutions?

These are some of the goals of UCAR’s peer mentoring initiative, which has been picking up momentum over the last few months. Two groups—administrators and computer professionals—are working on pilot programs. In addition, Human Resources and F&A’s IT group are developing an interactive database that would list the expertise of staffers willing to serve as learning partners to help their colleagues.


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When in Rome . . .Up-the-Hill Races feature the fast, the slow, and the toga-clad

To dust off a venerable phrase, the 23rd annual Up-the-Hill Races featured the best of times and the worst of times. And not all contestants aimed for the former. more

Sunny vacations? No way! RAP scientist leads tourists toward tornadoes

While some vacationers might opt for a luxury cruise in the Caribbean and others prefer a quiet camping trip in Yellowstone, increasing numbers want to spend their vacations chasing the worst weather they can find—especially one of nature’s greatest spectacles, the tornado. more


Hiaper workshop on Hiaper instrumentation

Engineers, scientists, and other staffers interested in using the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research should consider registering for the NSF Community Workshop on Instrumentation for HIAPER, which will be held at NCAR on 4–6 November. more


HAO models will give space weather forecasts a boost

What if scientists could provide advance warning of upper-atmospheric disruptions that affect communications satellites or predict spectacular displays of the northern lights? more

An interview with scientist liaison Sasha Madronich

ACD senior scientist Sasha Madronich has begun a one-year term in the newly created part-time position of scientist liaison in the NCAR Directorate. more

Mohan Ramamurthy selected as Unidata director

After a national search, atmospheric scientist Mohan Ramamurthy has been selected as the new director of the Unidata Program Center within UOP. 0210/unidata.html

Time to choose: HR announces annual enrollment period

This year’s annual enrollment period to sign up for benefits will run from 4 November to 2 December. more


How do clouds form? Where is lightning likely to strike? Why do so many tornadoes hit the Great Plains? These are the sorts of questions children like to ask—and an EO Web site has the answers. Web Weather for Kids, redesigned over the past year by EO assistant director Susan Foster, former RAP scientist Kevin Petty (now with the National Transportation Safety Board), and Communications photographer and Web designer Carlye Calvin, is an easy-to-navigate site that uses colorful graphics and animations to explain the science of weather. “The purpose is to engage the kids in the excitement of dramatic weather events—tornadoes, thunder, clouds, and so on—and to provide resources so they understand the basic science needed for weather forecasting,” Susan explains. The site, which won a UNISYS prize for online science education in 2000, is geared for children in grades five through nine, like these middle schoolers at a program at Ames Community College. Highlights include animations of molecules; science projects, such as creating fog in a jar; and fun trivia questions, like: “Guess which state has the most lightning strikes per year per 10,000 square miles?” The site, funded primarily by NSF, UCAR, Friends of UCAR, and the Boulder Valley School District, will be expanding over the next year or so to include pages about hurricanes and blizzards, and a Spanish version is on the way. If you want to check it out, go to www.ucar.edu/educ_outreach/webweather. (You can even find the answer to the lightning question.)