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December 2004 - January 2005

The 2004 Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

The December 10 all-staff party at the Mesa Lab, sponsored by the Employee Activities Committee, continued the tradition of ringing in the holidays while recognizing the outstanding work of employees.

A total of 12 nominations, consisting of a record 69 individuals, were nominated for this year’s Outstanding Accomplishment Awards. UCAR president Rick Anthes emphasized that all the nominees were to be congratulated on their achievements. The nominations “represent a tremendous dedication by our excellent staff to the goals and missions of our institution,” he said.

He also thanked the divisions and programs for nominating staffers engaged in outstanding work, as well as the jurors for their difficult task of choosing among stellar nominees.

This year’s awards included a new category: Mentoring. It honors “exemplary and sustained mentoring efforts that directly enhance one or more persons’ career development,” according to UCAR’s Employee Recognition Awards Policy (see Procedures for the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards).

“A member from last year’s jury suggested the award,” Rick explained. “Given the importance and emphasis on mentoring at UCAR/NCAR/UOP, the President’s Council agreed and strongly endorsed the creation of this new award.”

The holiday party began with a performance by a classical flute quartet that included RAL’s Becky Ruttenberg on viola and COSMIC’s Maggie Sleziak on violin. After Rick announced the award winners, staffers enjoyed an excellent buffet provided by Event Services while listening to the music of the Sweat Brothers, a local band.

Winners of the UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Awards for 2004. Front row (left to right): Chin-Hoh Moeng, Sonja Stevenson, Lucy Warner, Jim Wilson, Anatta, Nita Razo, Carlye Calvin. Second row: Nicole Gordon, Mike Shibao, Jeff Weil, Tom Horst, Peter Sullivan. Third row: David Hosansky, Bob Henson, Yvonne Mondragon, Zhenya Gallon, John Michelakes. Back row: Katy Schmoll, Tim Killeen, Rick Anthes.

Following are the nominees and winners in the four categories in which awards were given. There were no awards this year in UCAR’s highest award category, that of Distinguished Achievement, or in the Administrative Achievement category.

Education and Outreach

The winners were Anatta, Bob Henson, Carlye Calvin, Zhenya Gallon, Nicole Gordon, David Hosansky, Yvonne Mondragon, Nita Razo, Sonja Stevenson, and Lucy Warner (Communications) and Mike Shibao (Imaging and Design Center), for consistent, award-winning work in publicizing achievements of UCAR, NCAR, and the atmospheric sciences for broad audiences ranging from the community to the public.

In the past five years, the Communications team has been honored with six international awards for its publications and two awards for videos, and its ClimateStock video footage has been cited as a best practice in science communication.

UCAR Highlights is one of the award-winning products produced by the UCAR Communications office.

“This award recognizes their substantive efforts, and success, in communicating effectively with NCAR and UCAR’s many complex constituencies, ranging from the member universities and collaborators to staff, the media, and all levels of the general public,” Rick said. “The UCAR Communications activities are regarded as role models for others and are the envy of many in the community.”

Also nominated:

• Jennifer Bergman, Marlene DiMarco, Lisa Gardiner, Julia Genyuk, Sandra Henderson, Marina Lagrave, Randy Russell (EO), Ryan Deardorff (DLESE), Andrei Rodionov (SCD), and Mike Shibao (Imaging and Design Center), for their combined efforts to bring the Windows to the Universe project to UCAR. They completed a comprehensive revision and update of the Web site interface, developed new tools to automate and facilitate the work of contributors, translated the Web site into Spanish, and provided training to teachers on the use of these resources. The nomination also cites consultants Eduardo Araujo and David Mastie.

• Pat Parrish, Dwight Owens, Vickie Johnson, Steve Deyo, Heidi Godsil, Carl Whitehurst, and Seth Lamos of COMET, for developing Hurricane Strike!, an award-winning multimedia Web-based module that increases community awareness of the dangers of and preparations for landfalling hurricanes. Team members carefully designed this module to be an integral part of the middle school science curriculum with the intention of targeting a wider audience, as the students would bring the information to their families and possibly other members of the community.


Jim Wilson (EOL/RAL) won for providing meaningful mentorship to a broad range of people, from junior and senior scientists, administrators, and engineers to various levels of students. Jim transcends cultural, gender, job classification, divisional, institutional, and national boundaries to identify and encourage the special talents of others.

Jim Wilson (EOL/RAL), who won the Outstanding Accomplishment award for Mentoring, is shown here helping Latin American forecasters at a nowcasting workshop in Brazil. (Photo by Ian Bell, Bureau of Meteorology Training Centre, Australia.)

“As chief scientist of the S-Pol radar and a world leader in nowcasting convection, Jim’s willingness to guide budding scientists during field work is continuing to have a profound and lasting impact on many scientists at NCAR and elsewhere in the UCAR community,” Rick said. “Repeatedly, Jim has gone above and beyond the scope of his supervisory role and mentored a wide range of people whom he does not supervise.”

Also nominated:

• Chris Snyder (MMM), for his exceptional mentoring of postdoctoral researchers, early career scientists, and graduate students.

Outstanding Publication

The winners were Thomas Horst (EOL) and Don Lenschow, Chin-Hoh Moeng, and Peter Sullivan

The HATS project used horizontal arrays of sonic anemometers, which collected wind turbulence data in California’s Central Valley. (Photo by Steve Semmer, EOL.)

(all of MMM), for their work on two articles, “HATS: Field observations to obtain spatially filtered turbulence fields from crosswind arrays of sonic anemometers in the atmospheric surface layer” (published in 2004 in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 61, 1566–1581) and “Structure of subfilter-scale fluxes in the atmospheric surface layer with application to large-eddy simulation modeling” (published in 2003 in Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 482, 101–139).

The team carried out the Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (HATS) in 2000 to obtain a data set to investigate how well parameterizations of small-scale (sub-filter scale, or SFS) turbulence processes used in large-eddy simulation models replicate observations in the planetary boundary layer. These two papers, which document the success of the 2000 field deployment, show the application and limitations of current SFS models and point to the need for new SFS models to bridge the gap between ensemble-averaged turbulence and classical SFS parameterizations. The award also includes co-authors J. Kleissl, C. Meneveau, and M.B. Parlange, who were at Johns Hopkins University at the time the article was published, and J.C. Weil of CU/Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences.

The jurors, Rick explained, felt this work merited the award for two reasons. First, it advanced the problem of simulating turbulent flows at high Reynolds numbers, which is critical to many fields of research within NCAR. Second, the scientists demonstrated originality and creativity in devising and executing HATS. They interpreted the experimental data in a way that, according to one of the endorsing letters, “is brilliant both for its simplicity and for its power to capture the fundamental physics. The concepts make the results instantly understandable.”

Also nominated:

• Todd Lane, Bob Sharman, Terry Clark, and Hsiao-Ming Hsu (RAL), for the article, “An investigation of turbulence generation mechanisms above deep convection” (published in 2003 in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 60, 1297–1321).

The article addresses two fundamental issues in atmospheric science that can affect aviation: the processes underlying the generation of gravity waves by cumulus convection (which can induce strong turbulence close to the tops of clouds), and the effects of lower-stratospheric gravity wave breaking on mixing and stratosphere-troposphere exchange.

• Wen-Chau Lee (EOL), who co-authored “Tropical cyclone kinematic structure retrieved from single Doppler radar observations,” appearing in three parts: “Part 1: Interpretation of Doppler velocity patterns and the GBVTD technique” (published in 1999 in Monthly Weather Review, 127, 2419–2439), “Part II: The GBVTD-simplex center finding algorithm” (published in 2000 in Monthly Weather Review, 128, 1925–1936), and “Part III: Evolution and structure of Typhoon Alex (1987)” (published in 2000 in Monthly Weather Review, 128, 3892–4001).

This series of papers develops and tests techniques to obtain estimates of the structure of tropical cyclones from single Doppler radar systems. The nomination cites Wen-Chau’s co-authors: Ben Jong-Dao Jou (National Taiwan University), Frank Marks (NOAA/Hurricane Research Division), Pao-Liang Chang (Central Weather Bureau, Taiwan), and Shiang-Ming Deng (Institute for Information Industry, Taiwan).

• David Edwards, Jean-Francois Lamarque, Louisa Emmons, John Gille, Gene Francis, Merritt Deeter, Juying Warner, Daniel Ziskin, and Lawrence Lyjak (ACD), for “Tropospheric ozone over the tropical Atlantic: A satellite perspective” (published in 2003 in Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, D8, 4237).

This paper discusses groundbreaking research in which David Edwards and his colleagues used a suite of satellite measurements to examine Atlantic tropical tropospheric ozone.

• Gordon Bonan (CGD), for Ecological Climatology: Concepts and Applications (published in 2002 by Cambridge University Press).

This book encompasses all aspects of environmental sciences to present an integrated, multidisciplinary view of terrestrial functioning in the climate system and to bridge the gap between atmospheric science and ecology.

• Hanli Liu and Ray Roble (HAO), for “A study of a self-generated stratospheric sudden warming and its mesospheric–lower thermospheric impacts using the coupled TIME-GCM/CCM3” (published in 2002 in Journal of Geophysical Research, 107, D23, 4695).

A stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) is a dramatic event in the winter middle atmosphere that involves profound changes in temperature, wind, and circulation in a short period of time. This paper studies the response of the atmosphere to a spontaneously generated SSW, and it represents the first attempt to link the atmosphere globally in an exploratory manner to determine how a self-consistent model of the entire atmosphere would behave.

Scientific and Technical Advancement

John Michalakes (MMM) won for his pioneering work in developing the software infrastructure for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system. John led the design and implementation of the WRF Advanced Software Framework, which provides the foundation for all features and capabilities in the WRF system. WRF offers advanced capabilities for the research and operational communities.

This is a still image from a WRF moving-nest simulation of Hurricane Ivan. See the WRF animation of the hurricane on the web, (Image courtesy David Gill and Kris Conrad, MMM.)

“John combined solid software engineering design principles and hard work to form the base of the WRF modeling system,” Rick said. “His design, particularly with regard to dynamic parallel processing code generation, has allowed scientists to focus more fully on their field of science and less on the field of computer science and thus should considerably benefit the atmospheric science community.”

The judges also noted the widespread impact of John’s work: there are thousands of registered WRF users throughout the world, including the National Weather Service. The Air Force Weather Agency will soon be using it.

Also nominated:

• George Carr, Brian Eaton, Brian Kauffman, Erik Kluzek, Sylvia Murphy, Nancy Norton, Mat Rothstein, Julie Schramm, Mariana Vertenstein, and Wei Yu (CGD) and Tom Henderson (now with MMM), for the Community Climate System Model, Version 3. The latest version of the climate model includes major improvements in the physics and software that significantly expand its range of scientific applications.

• Bill Mahoney, Bill Myers, Ben Bernstein, Jim Cowie, Jamie Wolff, Jaimi Yee, Seth Linden, Arnaud Dumont, and Paddy McCarthy (RAL), for the development of the Maintenance Decision Support System. This tool, which aims to improve the safety and efficiency of winter road maintenance operations, provides transportation managers with recommendations on road maintenance, as well as anticipated consequences of action or inaction.

• Shane Mayor, Scott Spuler, Bruce Morley, Eric Loew, Tim Rucker, Charlie Martin, Jack Fox, Steve Rauenbuehler, and Karl Schwenz (EOL), for the development of the Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL). During two years of development, the team has applied novel techniques and overcome formidable obstacles to produce an eye-safe design and relatively high laser power per pulse that provides a flexibility unique in lidar systems.

• Steve Chiswell, Steve Emmerson, Linda Miller, Mike Schmidt, and Tom Yoksas (Unidata), for the development and deployment of the Local Data Manager, Version 6. This software has significantly improved the way near real-time data is delivered to researchers, educators, and operational organizations. •

On the Web

Procedures for the Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

Past Outstanding Accomplishment winners

Also in this issue...

Prospecting for ice

Recollections from a pioneering woman scientist

IMAGe comes into focus

Native American visitors

Turning off the juice

Delphi questions

Happy Holidays!

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