There are four compelling reasons for establishing a National Institute for Atmospheric Research:
The internationally recognized success of NCAR and its lively and productive partnership with the universities are compelling evidence that UCAR is fulfilling its original mission. NCAR, with its university colleagues, has an established record of planning, organizing, and carrying out focused research of the highest quality on the critical problems in the atmospheric sciences. Table 1, taken verbatim from The Atmospheric Sciences: A Vision for 1989-1994, Report of the NSF-UCAR Long-Range Planning Committee (July 1989), lists some of the important scientific accomplishments of NCAR and its university collaborators.
The partnership between the universities and NCAR is further documented statistically in Figures 1 through 4, which show that approximately 50% of the resources that flow to the Center support university activities; scientific visitors to NCAR in recent years have numbered over 1,000 per year; the number of visitor Ph.D.-scientist-years (over 100 annually) is equivalent to the number of NCAR resident Ph.D. scientists; and each year, approximately half of all refereed NCAR publications are coauthored by NCAR and university scientists. The unique and synergistic relationship between UCAR and the universities was recognized by the NSF-UCAR Joint Planning Committee:
The partnership between the university scientific community and NCAR, forged through the UCAR consortium with NSF support, has been a signal accomplishment and a stimulus to progress in the atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR fosters a research program that attracts university collaboration and provides outstanding community-wide facilities--a combination that will be even more important as the science turns to global issues and to the detailed examination of complex atmospheric processes and phenomena.
Consistent with the intent and vision of the founders of UCAR and NCAR, the atmospheric sciences in the universities have thrived in the past three decades. By 1991, UCAR members numbered 59, compared to the original 14. The population of professors in the atmospheric sciences increased from approximately 100 to more than 1,000, while the annual number of Ph.D. graduates grew from approximately 10 in 1959 to approximately 90 in 1990.
During UCAR's first 20 years, management and operation of NCAR was UCAR's only role. In 1982, under then-President Robert M. White's leadership, the UCAR Board of Trustees and members urged UCAR to broaden its scope and to develop other programs that served the university community. This mandate has led to new programs and corporate activities as shown in Table 2. The present state and future plans of the programs currently managed by UCAR are described in a document entitled UCAR in 1991 (available on request).
2.2 UCAR's Mission and Roles
UCAR's mission today is to support, enhance and extend the capabilities of the university community, nationally and internationally; to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related systems and the global environment; and to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on earth.
UCAR's roles in fulfilling this mission are listed below; each is expanded upon in the following pages.
Transfer of technology to the private and public sectors
2.2.2 Leadership and initiative to coordinate and implement community programs
UCAR plays a leadership role in developing initiatives and, through the
fostering of consensus, helps set priorities for the atmospheric and
related sciences. One example of this role was the collaboration of UCAR
and NSF in sponsoring the Joint NSF-UCAR Planning Committee, which set
priorities and optimal funding levels for the atmospheric sciences. In
another effort, UCAR collaborated in 1989 with the American
Meteorological Society (AMS) to prepare an "awareness paper" for
President Bush's incoming administration; this exercise will be repeated
for the 1992 presidential election. In a third effort, again in
collaboration with the AMS, UCAR conducted a thorough study and
assessment of the state of observational science and facilities in the
community. The result was a widely distributed report, The Study on
Observational Systems, which identified areas of instrumentation and
observational systems in the university community and at NCAR that need
UCAR has also exerted its leadership in association with the universities, NCAR, and federal sponsors in the establishment of several programs. Examples include the University Data Program (Unidata), with the universities and NSF; the Office for Interdisciplinary Earth Studies (OIES), with several federal agencies (NASA, NOAA, and NSF) and the global change community; the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET), in which NCAR and the NWS were primary initiators; and the Climate System Modeling Program (CSMP), with the universities, NCAR, and the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) agencies.
2.2.3 Advocacy, public policy, and communication
UCAR's growing activities to improve communication among scientists and
policy makers in the federal and private sectors are carried out through
several programs, such as OIES and the Office of Government Affairs
(OGA). UCAR serves in this capacity as a neutral forum to bring members
of the federal, scientific, industrial, policy, and educational
communities together to debate, plan, coordinate, and implement programs
and activities in the atmospheric and related sciences. In its advocacy
role, UCAR highlights the overall importance of the atmospheric and
related sciences to the nation's welfare, rather than promoting specific
institutional interests. In the public policy arena, UCAR programs
translate the results of basic and applied research into information
required by policy makers in the federal and private sectors.
2.2.4 Partnership building
An emerging role for UCAR in recent years is that of building
partnerships among universities, research laboratories such as NCAR and
the Institute for Naval Oceanography (INO), federal laboratories and
agencies, industry, and private philanthropies. Coordination of efforts
among many institutions and countries is needed today more than ever as
recognition of humanity's global connectivity spreads. In this era of
limited resources, partnerships leverage the resources of each partner
to the advantage of all. In addition to NCAR's strong history of
international collaboration, activities by UCAR programs such as OIES
and the Joint Climate Projects/Planning Office (JCP/PO) contribute to
One partnership that needs particular strengthening is that between the operational and research atmospheric sciences communities. COMET has this aim, as do the UCAR Visiting Scientist Programs.
UCAR's contribution to education has traditionally been expressed
through NCAR activities such as visitor programs, graduate research
assistantships, postdoctoral appointments, colloquia, seminars, and
workshops. These continue to be appropriate extensions of university
responsibilities to educate the next generations of scientists,
engineers, and scholars in general. Recently UCAR's education role has
broadened through programs such as Unidata, the UCAR Visiting Scientist
Programs, COMET, CSMP, and UNAVCO.
2.2.6 Transfer of technology to the private and public sectors
Basic research and science education are critical foundations for the
nation's economic competitiveness. UCAR participates in this arena by
transfering research results and knowledge into practical applications.
Successful transfer has occurred through NCAR's Research Applications
Program, whose research and development have led to decisions by the
Federal Aviation Administration to instrument airports across the
country with downburst detection-and-warning systems. The UCAR
Foundation and the Office of Industry Relations are systematically
examining all UCAR programs for other opportunities. Technology transfer
activities are being developed in ways that will strengthen the basic
science and education programs in the universities and NCAR, without
interfering with the scientific objectivity of UCAR or the free exchange
of ideas, scientific results, data, models, and technologies through the