UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

December 2002 / January 2003

The Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

The 13 December all-staff party, sponsored by the Employee Activities Committee, continued the tradition of ringing in the holidays while recognizing the outstanding work of employees. A total of seven nominations, comprising 36 staffers, were received for this year’s Outstanding Accomplishment Awards (formerly the Outstanding Performance Awards). Following entertainment by the Papillion Chamber Players (including RAP’s Becky Ruttenberg and NSDL’s Dave Fulker), UCAR president Rick Anthes announced the winners in the auditorium of the newly acquired Center Green headquarters building. The festivities then resumed, highlighted by excellent treats provided by Food Services and the music of The Fab 4, a Beatles cover group.

Following are the winners in the four categories. For past awards and a description of the award categories, see the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards. For awards to staff by professional societies and other outside organizations, see the Awards page.

Administrative Achievement

Accepting the Administrative Achievement Award are SCD’s Scot Colburn (third from left), Basil Irwin (fourth from left), and Pete Siemsen (right). Basil was standing in for Marla Meehl, who was unable to make the event. Also pictured: UCAR vice president for finance and administration Katy Schmoll (left), NCAR director Tim Killeen (second from left), and UCAR president Rick Anthes (right).

The winners (and sole nominees) in this category were SCD’s Marla Meehl, Scot Colburn, and Pete Siemsen for founding and operating the Front Range GigaPOP. The FRGP is a consortium of 12 Colorado and Wyoming universities, nonprofit corporations, and government agencies that cooperate in an effort to share wide area networking services that connect to the Commodity Internet, the Abilene/Internet2, and each other. The advantages of the arrangement are that it reduces costs and makes a higher level of service available for the partners, who also share expertise. SCD’s Network Engineering & Telecommunications Section operates the system, with primary networking facilities located in the Auraria Campus computer room of CU-Denver. The cost to UCAR of networking via the FRGP is about 75% less than it would be without the system.

The nomination form states: “Marla’s efforts were instrumental in establishing the FRGP, and Marla’s, Scot’s and Pete’s efforts have been instrumental in maintaining a stable entity that has quickly grown in terms of membership, advanced services, advanced capabilities, and advanced technologies.”

Scientific and Technical Advancement

The winners of the Scientific and Technical Advancement Award are (left to right, starting with the third person from the left): Deirdre Garvey, Mike Dixon, Carol Park, Frank Hage, Niles Oien, Celia Chen, Jim Bresch, Bill Mahoney, Dale Barker, and Jordan Powers. Not pictured: David Johnson, Susan Dettling, Bill Kuo, and Al Bourgeois.

The winners: Bill Mahoney, Mike Dixon, Deirdre Garvey, Frank Hage, Celia Chen, David Johnson, Niles Oien, Susan Dettling, and Carol Park, all of RAP; Jordan Powers (MMM), Bill Kuo (COSMIC), and Jim Bresch, Dale Barker, and Al Bourgeois, all of MMM. The team designed, developed, and implemented the Advanced Operational Aviation Weather System, thereby providing a critical boost to Taiwan’s aviation weather capabilities. The AOAWS consists of advanced wind shear detection systems, a communications infrastructure that spans the island, several product display systems serving local and remote end users, and other components.

When the six-year, $11-million program by NCAR engineers, scientists, and managers began, Taiwan was in danger of losing its Federal Aviation Administration certification. Now, thanks to the AOAWS, Taiwan has “state-of-the-art aviation weather technology that far surpasses international safety standards.”

Also nominated: Mike Spowart, Eric Loew, Jack Fox, Jeff Keeler, Mark Lord, Tammy Weckwerth, Frank Pratte, and Grant Gray, all of ATD. The team outfitted the Naval Research Laboratory P3 aircraft with the ELDORA radar and other instrumentation for NSF-supported field projects. The work was completed under a tight schedule and in the face of daunting challenges, including re-engineering the aircraft’s floor to support the new equipment.

Education and Outreach

A festive Cindy Schmidt accepts the Education and Outreach Award.

The winner (and sole nominee) was Cindy Schmidt, the director of Development and Government Affairs. Since becoming director in 1990, the former fifth grade teacher has worked on numerous initiatives to enhance the public’s understanding of scientific, technical, and societal issues in the atmospheric and related sciences. Among the projects she has contributed to: the founding of the Walter Orr Roberts Institute, the creation of Friends of UCAR, NCAR/UCAR’s 40th anniversary events, the launching of the Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture series, and the development of such high-profile Web sites as the Roberts Forum and Web Weather for Kids.

“She has gone far beyond the demands of her job to suggest creative ideas, link talented people, and seek funding to see that ideas are germinated to become successful programs,” the nomination states.

Outstanding Publication

MMM’s David Ahijevych (second from left), Rit Carbone, Stanley Trier, and John Tuttle win the Outstanding Publication Award

Rit Carbone, John Tuttle, David Ahijevych, and Stanley Trier, all of MMM, for “Inferences of predictability associated with warm season precipitation episodes.” The paper, published in 2002 in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, (59, 2033–2056) reveals previously unnoticed, but very frequent, warm season precipitation episodes east of the Continental Divide. The research identifies a coherence in convective precipitation episodes and indicates that the predictability of warm season rainfall may be much greater than previously thought. One reviewer states: “I believe that this work will have an impact on summer precipitation similar to the impact that the discovery of the Madden-Julian Oscillation has had for predictability beyond a week, which is huge.”Also nominated:

RAP’s Larry Cornman and Corinne Morse, ATD’s Stephen Cohn , and RAP’s Kent Goodrich for three papers: “A fuzzy logic method for improved moment estimation from Doppler spectra” (J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 15, 1287-1305), “The NIMA method for improved moment estimation from Doppler spectra” (J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 19, 274-295), and “Radial velocity and wind measurement with NIMA-NWCA: Comparisons with human estimation and aircraft measurements” (J. Appl. Meteor., 40, 704-719). The papers describe new analysis techniques that represent a groundbreaking step in solving radar data quality problems.

Mausumi Dikpati and Peter A. Gilman, both of HAO, for “Flux-transport dynamos with a-effect from global instability of tachocline differential rotation: A solution for magnetic parity selection in the Sun” (The Astrophysical Journal, 559, 428, 2001). This paper describes an innovative model that incorporates realistic representations of the Sun’s inferred internal rotational and circulatory flow fields. It has proven to be the most successful model to date in terms of accounting for the observed properties of the Sun’s global magnetic field and its evolution over the course of the solar cycle.

The Fab 4 provides fabulous Beatles music

NCAR’s influence: Way beyond its size

While the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards put an internal spotlight on some major UCAR and NCAR achievements, external rankings show that NCAR is one of the most influential research institutions in the world. According to one key measure, NCAR ranked second among geoscience institutions worldwide at the end of last year in terms of the impact of its research, trailing only Germany’s renowned Max Planck Institute.

The ranking was produced by the magazine Science Watch, which tracked journal article citations from the beginning of 1991 through June 2001. The magazine rated institutions by their “research impact,” defined as the number of citations per high-impact article. The selected articles by NCAR scientists were found to have an average of 16.15 citations, just behind Max Planck (16.33) and just ahead of Harvard University (15.24).

“The combination of large numbers of peer-reviewed papers and high citation counts associated with those papers means that the quantity and quality of NCAR’s research output is very high,” says NCAR director Tim Killeen. “We can be proud of these past accomplishments, but we must continue our efforts to document our emerging scientific understanding across the broad range of topics germane to NCAR’s mission.”

Tim also points out that NCAR does particularly well in terms of total citations. The most-cited three institutions in the geosciences—NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey—each have multiple centers and laboratories. NCAR, fourth overall, ranked higher than any other individual research center.

The rankings are based on 10-year rolling averages, which means they change somewhat from month to month. Since the Science Watch article was published last fall, NCAR’s research impact ranking has slipped slightly to a still more-than-respectable fourth place, according to Essential Science Indicators, a well-known Web-based evaluation tool and database that provided Science Watch with statistics for its study.

NCAR is holding steady in fourth place for total citations. And CGD’s Kevin Trenberth scores particularly well among individual scientists, ranking at times in the top 25 among the world’s most-cited geoscientists.

The geosciences category includes geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and oceanography. Science Watch’s ranking was based on articles in more than 300 geosciences journals.

Also in this issue...

Coffee for 1,200?
JOSS group provides logistics for conferences, field programs

NCAR supercomputer joins list of world’s fastest

From Africa and South America

Scientists explore fundamental building blocks of the atmosphere

NCAR's influence: Way beyond its size

Sittin' with Santa

Delphi Questions

Climate convocation mulls the state of U.S. research


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