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Knowledge for All
  • Knowledge for All: timeline
  • In their own words: John Zillman
  • UCAR at 40
    Who We Are
    Introduction
    One Planet, One Atmosphere
    Between Sun and Earth
    Measuring and Modeling
    When Weather Matters Most
    Spreading the Word
    Knowledge for All
    Looking toward the Future
    UCAR at a Glance
    List of acronyms

    John Zillman has directed Australia's Bureau of Meteorology since 1978. A member of the Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization since 1979, he is now in his second term as WMO president. Zillman has served on a wide range of national and international panels and advisory bodies. Since 1994 he has been Australia's principal delegate to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Photo courtesy Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia)

    I first visited NCAR when UCAR and I were both still quite young. It was the early 1970s and I was working with Don Johnson at the University of Wisconsin, examining the thermal forcing of the large-scale circulation of the Southern Hemisphere. Even in Australia, NCAR had already emerged as the place to go to find out what was happening in Southern Hemisphere meteorology. I needed to talk with Roy Jenne, Harry van Loon, and Chester Newton to see if I was on the right track. It was, for me, an enormously valuable few days, and my first encounter with the global reach of NCAR's research endeavors.

    UCAR's links with the international programs of the WMO have always been strong. Many of the exciting technological developments that were to feature in the success of the First GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Program) Global Experiment emerged on the international scene in briefings from NCAR scientists. One of UCAR's outstanding contributions to international technology transfer in meteorology under the auspices of the WMO has been through the excellent work of COMET, the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training. The WMO Executive Council Panel of Experts on Meteorological and Hydrological Education and Training has benefited greatly from the enthusiastic support of Tim Spangler and the COMET team over the past few years.

    One of UCAR's very successful initiatives in reaching out to the scientific community around the world has been the International Affiliates Program. As one of those affiliates, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) has enjoyed an extremely productive research partnership with NCAR in mesoscale meteorology. The focus of this collaboration has been the BMRC Climate Monitoring and Research Station in Darwin, Northern Territory.

    In the late 1980s, scientists at BMRC and NCAR recognized the potential of Darwin for field studies of tropical convection. The region experiences a classical monsoon climate, with monsoon rains in the austral summer and an extended dry season during the winter months. The transition seasons see some of the deepest convection on Earth as storms develop both over the continent and along the coastline. Joint studies with NCAR have characterized the convection and compared the Darwin storms with those occurring in other storm-prone regions, such as the U.S. Midwest.

    During the transition seasons, deep thunderstorms form across the Tiwi Islands, just off the north Australian coast, almost every afternoon. This pattern is similar to the diurnal convection that occurs across the whole Indonesian archipelago and has a major influence on the global atmospheric circulation. Collaborative studies by NCAR and BMRC have led to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which these storms develop and grow. The storms are monitored by two Doppler radars (one with dual-polarization capability), two wind profilers, more than 50 recording rain gauges, and more than a dozen automatic weather stations.

    The cooperation between NCAR and BMRC has extended from strategic research studies on thunderstorms to the development of specialized systems that can be used to support operational forecasting—for instance, analyzing Doppler radar output to detect the early stages of convection and the movement of mature storm cells. A number of these systems feature in a demonstration project in Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games.

    The ongoing collaboration between NCAR and BMRC, valuable though it is, is just part of the comprehensive international network that has enabled UCAR and NCAR to help build a truly global partnership in unraveling the mysteries of the atmosphere.

    UCAR at 40
    Who We Are
    Introduction
    One Planet, One Atmosphere
    Between Sun and Earth
    Measuring and Modeling
    When Weather Matters Most
    Spreading the Word
    Knowledge for All
    Looking toward the Future
    UCAR at a Glance
    List of acronyms


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    Executive editor Lucy Warner, lwarner@ucar.edu
    Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
    Last revised: Fri Jan 26 17:18:32 MST 2001