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UCAR Update

April 2007


Previous issuesSubscriptions

In brief
Community assessment of observing facilities: your help needed
CCSM workshop set for June
Clarification on Wyoming data center
Request for classroom research topics related to climate change and GIS
Applications open 1 May for TeraGrid users of NCAR's Blue Gene/L computer
WRF tutorial coming up
Register now for WRF users workshop
Heliophysics summer school deadline extended to 15 May
New COMET publications: boundary layer winds, deformation zones


Community assessment of observing facilities: your help needed
Through NSF support, NCAR is carrying out a community-wide assessment of observing facilities, instrumentation, and platforms for atmospheric science. The assessment is being conducted by seven expert panels, each focusing on a different technology area. It will culminate with a September workshop in Boulder to identify future needs, coincident with the NSF Facilities Users' Workshop being planned by NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory.

A core element of the assessment is a community survey to identify observing facilities and instrumentation at a wide range of institutions. As part of this effort, an interactive database will be populated with instrument and facility descriptions to be provided by community experts. The goal is a routinely updated public resource that describes facilities and instruments in a consistent, easy-to-read format. If you have an instrument or facility of interest to the community, or you have first-hand experience or extensive familiarity with one, you are invited to submit descriptive information (called "resources" in the database lexicon) at the URL below. You may also revise entries already included.

Please feel free to distribute this message to colleagues who you think could contribute to the database. In addition to program administrator Sara Metz (see below), questions may be directed to the chair of the Assessment Steering Committee, Robert Serafin (, or to principal investigator Karyn Sawyer (

Contact: Sara Metz, NCAR/EOL, 303-497-8166
Facilities assessment


CCSM workshop set for June
Registration is open for the 12th Annual CCSM Workshop, which will take place 19-21 June in Breckenridge, Colorado. The Community Climate System Model is a fully coupled global model that provides state-of-the-art simulations of the Earth's past, present, and future climate states. The workshop provides an opportunity for all the people developing and using CCSM to discuss the current state of the model as well as plans for the future. This year's workshop features presentations, a poster session to highlight work in the CCSM community, and time to collaborate with colleagues over breakfast and an evening reception. For more details or to register, see the URL below.

Contact: Emily Doremire, NCAR/ESSL/CGD, 303-497-8660
12th Annual CCSM Workshop


Clarification on Wyoming data center
The winter 2006-07 issue of the UCAR Quarterly newsletter includes an article on the supercomputing data center that NCAR is proposing to build in Wyoming. It is important to note that this project is subject to full and open NSF review, as is the case for all major NCAR facility developments. We regret any confusion that the omission of this point may have generated.

Contact: Bob Henson, UCAR Communications, 303-497-8605
UCAR Quarterly article


Request for classroom research topics related to climate change and GIS
The NCAR GIS and Climate Change Working Groups will soon be participating in a NSF workshop to create small, guided, data-enhanced educational resources. The goal is to help teachers and students to investigate real science questions in a classroom by downloading and analyzing actual science data from the same online data portals used by scientists around the world.

In this case, the project will call on the IPCC climate change scenario data that were run at NCAR and that are being distributed in GIS format (shapefile) from NCAR's GIS Climate Change portal ( The data are plausible alternative futures under particular assumptions about fossil-fuel use and other human activities. A wide range of variables are examined, including temperature, precipitation flux, snowfall flux, and moisture content (the portal has a complete list). Through GIS, a variety of socioeconomic variables such as population, land use, and soils can be overlaid, allowing users to study the impacts on these variables based on climate-change scenarios.

The workshop organizers would like to use research topics of specific interest to faculty at UCAR member institutions. If you have (or if you know of a colleague who might have) a research topic or question involving climate change and GIS systems that you would find useful in your classroom, please send a complete description of the topic and how it fits into the larger context of the course that you were teaching to Lawrence Buja (see below) or Jennifer Boehnert (303-497-2858). Thank you for your interest.

Contact: Lawrence Buja, NCAR/ESSL/CGD, 303-497-2858
Examples of data-enhanced activities (Carleton College)


Applications open 1 May for TeraGrid users of NCAR's Blue Gene/L computer
Starting 1 May, TeraGrid researchers may submit applications for using NCAR's Blue Gene/L system, frost, which begins production computing on 31 July. Frost is a 1024-node system; each node has 512 MB of memory and contains two processors. Twenty-five percent of this system will be allocated to the TeraGrid, for a total of 4.5 million service units of computing per year.

Frost's Linux front-end environment supports the IBM xlf Fortran compiler suite. TeraGrid users will have access to 6.5 TB of total storage space attached to frost. See the URL below for details on applying for an account and using this new TeraGrid system.

Contact: Marijke Unger, NCAR/CISL, 303-497-1285
Details on using frost


WRF tutorial coming up
A five-day tutorial on the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) will be offered 23-27 July in Boulder. It will consist of lectures on various components of the Advanced Research WRF (ARW) and Nonhydrostatic Mesoscale Model (NMM), as well as hands-on practice sessions. All participants are strongly encouraged to work through one or more of the online tutorials for ARW, NMM, and WRF-Var, depending on interest, prior to attending the tutorial. Registration is limited to 50 participants.

Contact: Sudie Kelly, NCAR/ESSL/MMM, 303-497-8951
WRF User's Tutorial


Register now for WRF users workshop
The 8th Annual WRF User's Workshop will take place in Boulder on 11-15 June. Papers in all areas of WRF model development and testing are solicited, including model verification, comparison study with MM5 or other mesoscale models, convection-resolving modeling, simulations of high-impact weather, regional climate studies, assimilation, ensemble forecasting, and atmospheric chemistry.

The workshop will begin on Monday, 11 June, with voluntarily organized working group meetings. Short tutorial sessions will be offered on Friday, 15 June, dealing with WRF-Var's new capabilities, WRF-Chemistry, the WRF verification toolkit, and running ensembles with WRF.

Early registration deadline: 1 June
Contact: Sudie Kelly, NCAR/ESSL/MMM, 303-497-8951
8th Annual WRF User's Workshop


Heliophysics summer school deadline extended to 15 May
The first session of a three-year Heliophysics Summer School for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will take place in Boulder from 30 July to 7 August. The summer school is co-sponsored by NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program and the International Heliophysical Year (IHY) program. Due to this recent partnering, the application deadline for the 2007 summer school has been extended to 15 May.

The goals are to deepen the appreciation of the basic science of heliophysics for a select group of students, through highly interactive seminars and hands-on working groups, and to produce a series of textbooks. The 2007 session will cover the plasma physics of the "local cosmos," i.e., the science uniquely enabled by our existence in an environment of ionized gases. About 30 participants will be selected each year through a competitive process. Each will receive air travel, lodging, and per diem. For more details and application instructions, please see the URL below.

New application deadline: 15 May
Contact: Meg Austin, UOP/VSP, 303-497-8649
Heliophysics summer school announcement (see upper left of link)


New COMET publications: boundary layer winds, deformation zones
Below is a sampling of the most recent online publications from UOP/COMET. Please see the accompanying Web links for more details on each.

  • Planetary Boundary Layer in Complex Terrain: Part 1 and Part 2
    These Webcasts are based on a 2004 COMET presentation by David Whiteman (University of Utah). They present conceptual and practical information regarding winds in the planetary boundary layer in complex terrain. Part 1 covers diurnal, mountain-plain, and slope wind systems. Part 2 topics include valley, cross-valley, plateau/basin, and diurnal mountain wind systems.
  • Dynamic Feature Identification: Deformation Zone Analysis
    This module, part of the series "Dynamic Feature Identification: The Satellite Palette," provides a quick analysis of deformation zones and an overview of system-relative atmospheric circulations. Since deformation is a primary factor in the development and decay of fronts, an understanding of these circulations is crucial to the diagnosis of atmospheric processes and weather prediction.
Contact: Hildy Kane, UOP/COMET, 303-497-8470
MetEd site


UCAR Update is e-mailed monthly to all UCAR member and affiliate representatives. Please forward to colleagues and students in your department or at other institutions.

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Questions or news tips: Bob Henson, 303-497-8605
Published by UCAR Communications

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