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UCAR Update

February 2008


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In brief
CISL invites proposals from NSF-supported university researchers
Bloggers sought for new Web site on student recruitment
Citizen science this spring: timing buds, counting stars
Native Americans, scientists to discuss climate change at landmark symposium
Wanted: Your comments on Atmospheric Science Literacy Framework
Workshop on NSF large facilities set for April
2008 Measuring Up conference
New from COMET: Fire Model Matrix
Reminders from last issue


CISL invites proposals from NSF-supported university researchers
NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) invites NSF-supported university researchers in the atmospheric, oceanic, and closely related sciences to submit proposals for projects needing more than 8,000 general accounting units (GAUs). One processor hour on the IBM Power 5 computers bluevista or blueice is equal to 0.87 GAUs.

Smaller requests from NSF-supported university research may be submitted at any time. One-time allocations of 2,000 GAUs are available to graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and new faculty at U.S. universities for unsupported research.

The median allocation approved by the CISL HPC Advisory Panel is now 50,000 GAUs. In October the panel approved three allocations over 200,000 GAUs. Allocations are given for the life of the NSF award.

Allocations may be used on any of NCAR's supercomputers, including bluefire, the soon-to-be-installed IBM Power6 with 3,200 compute processors. Current supercomputers blueice, bluevista, and lightning will be decommissioned between May and September. For more information on the user transition to bluefire, see this PDF presentation.

Contact: Ginger Caldwell, NCAR/CISL, 303-497-1229
Allocation process overview

Bloggers sought for new Web site on student recruitment
UCAR Governance has released "Discovering the Atmospheric Sciences," a Web site aimed at cultivating interest among undergraduate and graduate students. This site includes tips on finding the right school and preparing for undergraduate and graduate work; profiles of young researchers; spotlighted areas of interest; and links to Webcasts, agencies, professional societies, and other resources. Suggestions for additions to the site are welcome.

The site's organizers also hope to find three people interested in co-hosting a blog that will foster discussion among students interested in the atmospheric and related sciences. If you or a colleague would like to join the blog team, please let us know.

Contact: Susan Friberg, UCAR Governance, 303-497-1658
Discovering the Atmospheric Sciences


Citizen science this spring: timing buds, counting stars
Two projects this spring will allow students and other volunteers to help build databases while learning about their environment.

Project BudBurst, which began on 15 February, is an nationwide initiative enabling volunteers to track climate change by observing the timing of flowers and foliage. Each participant checks one or more plants to observe, checking them at least a week prior to the average date of budburst--the point when the buds have opened and leaves are visible. After budburst, participants continue to observe the tree or flower for later events, such as the first leaf, first flower, and seed dispersal. When participants submit their records online, they can view maps of these phenological events across the United States. Project BudBurst collaborators include UCAR and its Windows to the Universe Web site, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the University of Montana.

Contact: Sandra Henderson, UCAR Education and Outreach, 303-497-8108
Project Budburst

The GLOBE Program is conducting GLOBE at Night from 25 February to 8 March. This international event is designed to observe and record visible stars as a means of measuring light pollution in a given location. Volunteers will gaze skyward to find the constellation Orion (visible nearly everywhere on Earth this time of year) and report their observations online. With the results, students and scientists together will be able to assess how the quality of the night sky varies around the world. Participation is free and open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries.

Contact: Noah Newman, UOP/GLOBE, 303-497-2694
GLOBE at Night


Native Americans, scientists to discuss climate change at landmark symposium
Leading representatives from indigenous and scientific communities will take part in a landmark climate change symposium at NCAR on 19-21 March. The symposium, Planning for Seven Generations: Traditional and Scientific Approaches to Climate Change, is open to scientists, Native American representatives, and the public and will be Webcast. It will bring together two climate change perspectives--one rooted in indigenous experiences and the other informed by current scientific methods. Sponsors include the American Indian and Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group, NCAR, and UCAR.

A primary goal of the symposium is to develop a collaborative way forward to learn more about Earth, blending traditional indigenous knowledge with experimental science techniques. Participants will discuss how different disciplines and cultures can work together, while offering opportunities for student participation. Registration is free and now available on the conference Web site below.

Contact: Lena Gomez-Miller, UCAR/SOARS, 303-497-8622
Planning for Seven Generations

Wanted: Your comments on Atmospheric Science Literacy Framework
Draft 1 of the Atmospheric Science Literacy Framework is now at the URL below and available for comment from the science, education, and policy communities. Please take this opportunity to share your insights and help shape this important document, which will help inform educators and decision makers about literacy in the atmospheric sciences.

Draft 1 of the framework will be available for comment through February. Based on community feedback, the project team will revise the document in March and will release Draft 2 for comment in April. Another round of feedback and revision is expected in May and June, leading to a final document to be submitted to NSF in July.

Deadline: 29 February
Contacts: Roberta Johnson, UCAR Education and Outreach, 303-497-2591,
and John Snow, University of Oklahoma, 405-329-3095
Atmsopheric Science Literacy Framework


Workshop on NSF large facilities set for April
NSF funds an extensive and diverse array of large-scale research facilities spanning a wide range of disciplines and geographical areas. The 2008 NSF Large Facilities Workshop, which will take place on 7 April at UCAR, is designed to bring together representatives of these facilities to discuss common issues and learn from each other's experiences. The workshop will include

  • discussions of experiences in facility operation, including best practices and lessons learned;
  • development of personal contacts between facilities staff to allow for future communication and shared problem solving;
  • education on current issues in cyber-security, environmental health and safety, and oversight; and
  • discussions of current concerns as well as ideas for future workshops.

This workshop will precede and complement the UCAR-sponsored Measuring Up workshop (see the following news item). Attendees may well benefit by attending both workshops.

Contact: John Weisend, NSF, 703-292-4337
NSF Large Facilities Workshop


2008 Measuring Up conference
After a successful debut in 2006, a second Measuring Up conference is being sponsored at UCAR on 8-10 April. This meeting covers many aspects of finance and administration at federally funded and not-for-profit environments, including:

  • Finance & Accounting
  • Contracts & Grants
  • Education & Outreach
  • Real Estate & Facilities
  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Risk Management
  • Technology & Tools

Registration is $250 until 23 February and $350 thereafter. Please feel free to forward this notice to others at your institution who may be interested.

Contact: Kristen Alipit, UCAR Finance and Administration, 303-497-1661
Measuring Up


New from COMET: Fire Model Matrix
Below are details on a new online publication available from UOP/COMET. Please see the accompanying Web link for more details.

Fire Model Matrix
The Fire Model Matrix is an on-line resource that presents four fire community models in a matrix that facilitates the exploration of the characteristics of each model. As part of the Advanced Fire Weather Forecaster's Course (, this matrix is meant to sensitize forecasters to the use of weather data in these fire models to forecast potential fire activity. The matrix contains a wealth of information about several important models and software tools used for wildland fire modeling, management, and prediction.

A reminder about bilingual access
The COMET Program is now issuing quarterly updates in Spanish highlighting new material that has been translated. If you wish to begin receiving these updates, you will need to be a registered user. Simply log in, navigate to "Change my account information," and check the box near the bottom of the form. A confirmation e-mail will be sent; you must reply to it in order for your e-mail address to be added to the list.

Contact: Hildy Kane, UOP/COMET, 303-497-8470
COMET MetEd site


Reminders from last issue

Seeking undergraduates for NCAR summer workshop
Application deadline: 29 February

NCAR Faculty Fellowship Program now accepting applications
Application deadline: 14 March

Heliophysics Summer School 2008
Application deadline: 1 April


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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