UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

December 2003 - January 2004

The 2003 Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

The 5 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 17 nominations, comprising a record 68 individuals, were received for this year’s Outstanding Accomplishment Awards.

The nominations “represent a tremendous dedication by our excellent staff to the goals and missions of our institution,” said UCAR president Rick Anthes at the awards ceremony in the Center Green 1 auditorium. “All of the nominees are to be congratulated on their achievements.”

More about award categories and how awards are decided
Winners and nominees from past years

The holiday party began with a Mozart program performed by a quintet of musicians, including RAP’s Becky Ruttenberg on violin and viola and COSMIC’s Maggie Sleziak on violin. Rick then announced the award winners. After the awards ceremony, staffers enjoyed an excellent buffet provided by Food Services while listening to the music of The Big Swing Trio, a local band.

Following are the nominees and winners in the five categories.

Administrative Achievement

The winner was Peggy Taylor of ATD (recently retired) for her professional excellence associated with field deployment logistics for four ATD field programs, all of which proved exceptionally challenging. The four programs were the 1999 Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia/ Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (LBA/TRMM) project in Ji Parana, Brazil; the Mesoscale Alpine Project (MAP) in Virgiate, Italy, and Innsbruck, Austria; the Improvement of Microphysical Parameterization Through Observational Verification Experiment (IMPROVE I) project in Westport, Washington, and the IMPROVE II project near Sweethome, Oregon.

Peggy’s activities included handling arrangements to obtain permission to locate ATD facilities in particularly unusual locations, making provisions for transportation and site preparation in remote locations, and locating and handling living facilities for field personnel. Because of the remoteness of locations, language and custom barriers, time limits, and the shear magnitude of field activities, these efforts required considerable innovation, exceptional people skills, and long hours.

“Peggy Taylor has set the standard for administrative support for NCAR field programs,” Rick said.

Also nominated:

• Jeff Custard and Teresa Shibao (SCD) for their work in designing, planning, implementing, documenting, and training users on an entirely new network-based telephone and voicemail system. The new system, Voice of IP (VoIP), is replacing UCAR’s PBX system.

Jeff and Teresa performed a detailed analysis of VoIP, including comparisons of cost and technology with traditional PBX systems. They then successfully deployed the new system in Center Green I with short notice and minimal pre-existing infrastructure for the required networking or the new VoIP system itself. The entire UCAR-wide VoIP deployment is on track to be completed in slightly more than a year, starting in October 2002 and ending in December 2003. It is estimated that VoIP technology will save UCAR $200,000 annually in reduced maintenance costs and $863,100 in one-time acquisition costs versus the costs of simply replacing the existing PBX technology with an updated but similar system.

• Terry Woods and Cheryl Cristanelli (HR) for their extraordinary contributions to UCAR through the establishment of the UCAR Leadership Academy.

The academy, an intensive course for supervisors and those who may soon find themselves in supervisory positions, is the culmination of a three-year effort to define the management and development needs of all UCAR staff and design programs to meet those needs. Terry and Cheryl convened focus groups across 10 different job categories to identify gaps in professional development opportunities at UCAR, convened a group of employees to define the skills required for successful supervisors and managers at UCAR, and developed a process to identify specifically what types of classes should be offered and who might be the appropriate trainers. The first academy was held earlier this year.

Outstanding Education and Outreach

The winners were Peter Burkholder, Lynne Davis, Ryan Deardorff, Holly Devaul, Katy Ginger, Eileen McIlvain, John Weatherley, and Marianne Weingroff (Digital Library for Earth System Education development team) for major new functionality and enhancement to DLESE that enables the library to better support the geosciences education community.

From left: Peter Burkholder, Lynne Davis, Katy Ginger, Holly Devaul, Ryan Deardorff, John Weatherley, and Marianne Weingroff.

In August, the team completed work on a major revision, DLESE version 2.0, which includes a more powerful search engine and new user interface. It allows users to search over 5,000 DLESE resources using the National Science Education Standards and the National Geography Standards. Another innovation is the ability to search across 18 thematic collections of resources, such as the COMET multimedia collection. The new library interface has been enthusiastically received by the community and has been cited as a model to guide the development of other portals, in both education and research.

Also nominated:

• ESIG’s John Firor for The Crowded Greenhouse: Population, Climate Change, and Creating a Sustainable World (with his wife and coauthor, Judith Jacobsen), and for John’s tireless efforts as an informal educator and ambassador for NCAR, raising environmental awareness through lectures and talks to scientists, students, and the general public during the past five years.

John, NCAR director emeritus and senior scientist, “retired” almost five years ago. But he has continued extensive writing and lecturing, participating fully in ESIG’s mentoring, education, and outreach programs and serving as an active science representative and educator on several boards. His dedicated efforts have helped keep NCAR and UCAR in the public eye.

• Brigitte Baeuerle, Kate Beierle, Ned Chamberlain, Mike Daniels, Tony Delany, Don Ferraro, Terry Hock, Tim Lim, Renee Ray, Steve Semmer, Mike Spowart, Scott Spuler, and Lou Verstraete (ATD) for successfully engaging the majority of ATD’s lead engineers to serve as mentors for 15 engineering students from 10 U.S. universities.

The main goal of the ATD Summer Engineering Program is to provide a unique and valuable educational experience for undergraduate students by exposing them to engineering problems associated with observational instrumentation. The students also take part in a major atmospheric research project that uses ATD facilities.

• Patrick Parrish, Dwight Owens, Victoria Johnson, Steve Deyo, Heidi Godsil, Carl D. Whitehurst, Jr., and Seth Lamos (COMET) for developing Hurricane Strike!, a multimedia Web-based module that helps middle school students, their families, and teachers understand the science and hazards of landfalling hurricanes.

Hurricane Strike! integrates disaster safety and preparedness with science instruction in an engaging interactive learning environment. Teachers face a tremendous challenge in covering mandated learning objectives while also providing meaningful enrichment to keep kids engaged. The Hurricane Strike! lessons can help meet this challenge by offering content and activities that support core National Science Education standards for middle school students while dovetailing with science and safety content in the American Red Cross Masters of Disaster curriculum.

Outstanding Publication Award

The winner was Mark Rast (HAO) for the article, “The Thermal Starting Plume as an Acoustic Source” (published in 1999 in The Astrophysical Journal, 524, 462).

This paper addresses the nature of the principal sources of acoustic emission inside the Sun—a major research area for helioseismic studies. As the jury stated, “This paper presents a new mechanism for the origin of solar acoustic, or p-mode, oscillations. Rast proposes that the oscillations are formed by a sequence of physical processes that take place in the topmost, photospheric layers of the convection zone, an approach that is fundamentally different from previous work. Rast confirms the validity of the mechanism with a series of carefully designed numerical simulations. Since the paper was published, its model has been further supported with observation evidence.”

Four years after its publication, the paper is recognized as a classic in the field.

Also nominated:

• David Parsons (ATD) for his work on three papers with various coauthors (Françoise Guichard of the Centre National Recherches Météorologiques, Météo-France, and CNRS; Jean-Luc Redelsperger of the Centre National Recherches Météorologiques; and Kunio Yoneyama of the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center):

Yoneyama, K., and D. B. Parsons, 1999, “A Proposed Mechanism for the Intrusion of Dry Air into the Tropical Western Pacific Region,” J. Atmos. Sci. 56, 1524–1546.

Parsons, D., K. Yoneyama, and J.-L. Redelsperger, 2000, “The Evolution of the Tropical Western Pacific Atmosphere-Ocean System Following the Arrival of a Dry Instrusion,” Q. J. Roy. Meteor Soc., 126, 517–548.

J.-L. Redelsperger, D. B. Parsons, and F. Guichard, 2002, “Recovery Processes and Factors Limiting Cloud-Top Height Following the Arrival of a Dry Intrusion Observed During TOGA COARE,” J. of the Atmos. Sci., 59, 2438–2457.

The three papers explore the basic structure of the atmosphere over the tropical western Pacific and its relationship to clouds and rainfall. They discuss the frequent occurrence of layers of extremely dry air within the lower and middle troposphere over this region. The dry air over a tropical ocean that experiences some of the higher annual rainfalls on the planet is an unexpected phenomenon with profound implications for understanding atmospheric circulation.

• Guifu Zhang, Ed Brandes, and J. Vivekanandan (RAP) for two papers:

Zhang, G., J. Vivekaandan, and E. Brandes, 2001, “A Method for Estimating Rain Rate and Drop Size Distribution from Polarimetric Radar Measurements,” IEEE Transactions of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 39:4, 830–841.

Brandes, E., G. Zhang, and J. Vivekanandan, 2003, “An Evaluation of a Drop Distribution-Based Polarimetric Radar Rainfall Estimator,” J. Applied Met., 42, 652–660.

These papers describe a new technique for retrieval of cloud microphysical parameters from dual-polarization radar measurements. The knowledge gained about cloud microphysical properties will allow development of improved parameterizations in operational and research weather prediction and climate models. Basic knowledge of cloud microphysical properties will also be enhanced, and it will be possible to better calculate the propagation characteristics of microwaves.

• Christopher Davis and Jordan Powers (MMM) for their work with Lance Bosart (State University of New York at Albany) on three papers referred to as the “Diana Papers”:

Davis, C.A., and L.F. Bosart, 2001, “Numerical Simulations of the Genesis of Hurricane Diana. Part I: Control Simulation,” Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 1859–1881.

Davis, C.A., and L.F. Bosart, 2002, “Numerical Simulations of the Genesis of Hurricane Diana, Part II: Sensitivity of Track and Intensity Prediction,” Mon. Wea. Rev., 130, 1100–1124.

Powers, J.G., and C.A. Davis, 2002 “A Cloud-resolving, Regional Simulation of Tropical Cyclone Formation,” Atmos. Sci. Lett., 3, 15–24.

These papers represent a first success in simulating the development of a mature hurricane, beginning only with the initial synoptic-scale conditions. They formulate, execute, and diagnose a series of elegantly crafted numerical experiments to investigate how mesoscale circulations evolve within convection when influenced by a synoptic-scale baroclinic wave. The dynamics described in these papers are believed to be representative of many other storms.

• David Edwards, Jean Francois Lamarque, Louisa Emmons, John Gille, Gene Francis, Merritt Deeter, Juying Warner, Daniel Ziskin, and Lawrence Lyjak (ADC) for their work with Jean-Luc Atie and Jean-Pierre Cammas (Observatoire Mide Pyrénees, Toulouse, France), James R. Drummond (University of Toronto), and John P. Burrows and Andreas Richter (University of Bremen, Germany) for “Tropospheric Ozone Over the Tropical Atlantic: A Satellite Perspective” (published in 2003 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, 4237).

This paper blends data from various satellite sensors, in situ measurements, and model sensitivity simulations in an original manner to analyze the mechanisms behind the ozone maximum observed over the southern Atlantic in January. It is a pioneering study in how to use models and data to better understand atmospheric chemistry. It also proposes a solution to an important scientific problem: how to explain the maximum in satellite-derived ozone observed in the Southern Hemisphere over the tropical Atlantic.

Scientific and Technical Advancement Award

The winners were David Allen, Jeff Bobka, and Clarke Chambellan (HAO), and Jerry Dryer, James Ellis, Ken Harris, Walt Hodshon, Ed Mores, Steve Palmer, Steve Rauenbuehler, Jose Rivas, Karl Schwenz, and Bart Woodiel (ATD’s Design and Fabrication Services staff) for executing three separate, exceptionally complex and urgent projects during the last three years. The projects are the Passing Efficiency for the Low Turbulence Inlet (PELTI) Experiment and the University of Denver Low Turbulence Inlet (DULTI) Development, the International H2O Project (IHOP 2002), and development of an innovative antenna designed for a new mobile rapid scan radar.

From left: Steve Palmer, James Ellis, Ed Mores, Ken Harris, Jeff Bobka, Clarke Chambellan, and Jerry Dryer.

Among other tasks, the nominees designed and developed a new type of aircraft inlet for sampling atmospheric aerosols and installed a French water vapor lidar and the ATD ELDORA radar on the NRL P3 aircraft. The prototype antenna worked the first time it was operated (which, as Rick pointed out, “is almost unheard of”), allowing for the collection of high-resolution radar measurements within tornadoes and Hurricane Isabel. The work required remarkable innovations, such as coming up with a way to perfectly align and glue together nearly 1,000 antenna parts in one sitting of about three hours, the life of the adhesive.

Also nominated:

• Steven Chiswell, Steven Emmerson, Michael Schmidt, and Thomas Yoksas (Unidata) for improvements to the Internet Data Distribution System, by significantly improving the way near real-time data is delivered to researchers, educators, and operational organizations.

The nomination is for the development of a new version of Local Data Manager software, known as LDM-6, which was released last spring. The nominees’ work resulted in remarkable improvements to both data latencies and the amount of data that could be distributed. As a result, many universities, research institutions, and operational organizations have rapidly adopted the new software for wide area data distribution.

• James Smith (ACD) for his contributions to the advancement of experimental research through the development of new instrumentation and measurement techniques and the subsequent use of these techniques to address scientific questions that were previously inaccessible to experimental study.

Jim developed the thermal desorption chemical ionization mass spectrometer, which is capable of characterizing the chemical composition of ultrafine aerosols with diameters of 5 to 20 nanometers. This unique capability makes possible the first chemical investigations of these very small particles and thus the potential to understand their growth processes. Him has also worked to refine ion traps, which can be used for chemical analysis of thermally desorbed aerosol compounds or to measure gas phase biogenic or anthropogenic compounds.

Distinguished Achievement Award

CGD’s Kevin Trenberth became the second recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, which was established four years ago to recognize the very best of UCAR's accomplishments (HAO’s Tim Brown won the award in 2001). Kevin won for his publication record, which is highly influential and widely cited, as well as for his participation on a large number of professional committees and panels and his substantial contribution to public outreach and education.

Kevin is a leader in climate research and communication of climate science on local, national, and international levels. His recent seminal publications and leadership on many national and international committees have had an enormous positive impact on our understanding of climate variability and climate change. He has also been instrumental in articulating science and climate change issues to the public and government.

According to the judges’ citation, “Kevin is one of a handful of climate science innovators who brings scientific understanding, a broad interest and curiosity, and nearly unlimited energy and enthusiasm to the solution of Earth system science problems. … It is fair to say that climate science and environmental policy around the world would not be the same without Kevin’s contributions.”

Also nominated:

• Gregory Byrd, Dolores Kiessling, Tim Alberta, Karl Hanzel, Ken Kim, Lorrie Fyffe, Seth Lamos, and Matthew Kelsch (COMET Residence Program Classroom Team) for providing outstanding learning experiences to the National Weather Service and other sponsoring agencies and to the university community in the area of mesoscale meteorology.

The COMET classroom team has provided a new mechanism for exchanging ideas between the university and operational communities through the development of residence courses, symposia, workshops, and Webcasts. Outstanding professors from UCAR member universities assist U.S. and Canadian weather services by presenting recent scientific findings in mesoscale meteorology. In return, the operational forecasters who attend the courses relate their local forecasting challenges and results of investigations into local meteorological phenomena.

Also in this issue...

HIAPER work reaches critical stage

Geo Forum takes shape

Love and marriage, NCAR style

UCAR hires GLOBE director

Delphi Question

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