5. A Look Ahead
Great changes have occurred in the world and in the way science and
education are carried out since UCAR and NCAR were founded in 1959. A
rapidly changing global environment in which science and education are
inextricably entwined will lead to additional profound changes in the
next decade, and the prospect of these changes in the external
environment, as well as changes produced by the UCAR community itself,
make projections into the future difficult. Nevertheless, it is
instructive to speculate on what UCAR might look like in 2001 as it
fulfills the mission and goals described in this outlook.
- NCAR, with strong participation by university faculty and
students, will be a premier, world-class institution with a broad
scientific program embracing not only the atmosphere, but the oceans,
sun, land, and biosphere. Interdisciplinary research projects within
NCAR, cutting across its divisions, will have made significant progress
toward understanding the interacting components of the earth-sun system.
Great strides will also have been made in the understanding and
predicting of mesoscale weather phenomena and their interactions with
the larger-scale atmosphere and the surface of the earth.
- The observational, modeling, and computational facilities in NCAR
and other UCAR programs such as INO and UNAVCO will provide state-of-
the-art support for the community. Data sets created through the
appropriate programs in NCAR, INO, UNAVCO, COMET, and Unidata will
include a broad range of data related to the earth sciences. These will
be readily and easily available to the distributed research community
through advanced national and international communication and data-base
- UCAR's programs will have played a leadership role in planning and
carrying out successful national and international field programs of the
1990s and will be involved in planning the next generation of facilities
and observational studies needed to further the atmospheric and related
sciences in the new century.
- The Climate System Modeling Program and closely related programs
such as MECCA, through a distributed research program involving the
federal agencies, the universities, NCAR and other national
laboratories, and industry, will have made significant progress toward
developing an integrated, interacting model of the earth system.
Important and increasingly reliable and useful information on possible
future changes in the earth system will be made available on a regular
basis to leaders in the public and private sectors in the United States
and the international community.
- The U.S. Weather Research Program, in a close partnership involving
NCAR, the universities, the federal agencies, and the National Weather
Service modernization program, will have made demonstrable and
significant progress in understanding and predicting severe mesoscale
weather phenomena, to the benefit of society.
- UCAR's educational programs, in consort with the educational
community, will be directed at precollege, college, university and
postgraduate students and faculty, and the general public, and will be
recognized as making significant contributions at all of these levels.
- Minorities and women will constitute an appropriate and significant
portion of the total UCAR work force, and UCAR will be an acknowledged
leader in creating a positive work environment for all of its employees.
- UCAR, in cooperation with other professional organizations, will be
an important, well-established conduit of information between scientists
and policymakers on earth-related scientific issues.
- UCAR will have a successful record of technology transfer to the
public and private sectors, with a significant return on the investment
of funds to help support further research and development.
- UCAR will have strengthened the ties and the mutually beneficial
interactions between the operational and research communities in the
atmospheric, oceanic, and solid earth sciences through successful
collaborative research and technology transfer.
Most, if not all, of the organizational infrastructure necessary to
accomplish the UCAR goals is in place. However, accelerating the rate of
progress in the atmospheric and related sciences--in order to provide
society with the information on the earth system so urgently needed--
will require new resources. Given the current and growing importance of
the atmospheric and related sciences to society, it is reasonable to
assume a real growth in university and UCAR programs over the next
decade. Growth in UCAR programs should occur slowly in order to maintain
programs of highest quality. Additionally, it is important to emphasize
that growth for growth's sake is not an objective; it must be justified
on the basis of need and quality. Programs that no longer have
sufficient merit or meet a real need will be discontinued. Only by
developing and sustaining programs of acknowledged quality and
recognized need will UCAR be deemed successful.
Great progress has been made in achieving the initial and far-sighted
vision of the founders of UCAR and NCAR. The success to date is a solid
foundation on which to build for an even greater future.
Preface: The UCAR Vision
1. The Global Environment
2. UCAR--Past and Present
3. Challenges and Opportunities
4. Corporate Goals for the Decade
5. A Look Ahead
- Mission Statement