Appointed to his position in 1988, Anthes is the longest serving of the five UCAR presidents since the organization was established in 1960. UCAR operates the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR’s primary sponsor. UCAR and NCAR employ more than 1,500 staffers, mostly in the Boulder area, and have an annual budget of around $210 million.
“Rick Anthes has provided excellent leadership for UCAR and the atmospheric and related sciences community,” says Dennis Hartmann of the University of Washington, chair of the UCAR Board of Trustees. “His ability, integrity, and dedication set a very high standard.”
UCAR is a not-for-profit consortium made up of North American universities that grant doctoral degrees in atmospheric and related sciences. Its membership has grown from 58 to 76 institutions during Anthes’ tenure. In that time, UCAR has also created new membership programs for undergraduate and international institutions, as well as a variety of educational and support activities under the umbrella of UCAR Community Programs.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time as UCAR president,” says Anthes. “It has been amazing to witness and help support the achievements of our employees in research, facilities, and education. We have a first-class group of dedicated, talented staff.”
Anthes joined NCAR as a scientist in 1981, becoming its director in 1986 and then UCAR president two years later. Prior to joining NCAR, he served 10 years on the meteorology faculty at Pennsylvania State University, where he led the development of the Penn State/NCAR mesoscale model (MM5), one of the world’s most widely used tools for storm-scale weather prediction. While earning his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and working at what is now known as NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Anthes created the first successful three-dimensional computer model of hurricanes.
Among his many service-related activities, Anthes has chaired or participated in more than 40 national science committees and served as the 2007 president of the American Meteorological Society. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and books. In 2003 Anthes received the Friendship Award, the highest award China bestows on foreigners, in recognition of his longtime interaction with Chinese colleagues.
In the 1990s, Anthes served as principal investigator for the GPS/Meteorology experiment, which led to a constellation of six satellites launched by the United States and Taiwan in 2006. This network, known as COSMIC, provides round-the-clock global atmospheric monitoring for research into weather prediction, climate, geodesy, and the ionosphere.
“The scientific community’s progress in numerical modeling of weather and climate and remote sensing over the past 25 years has been stunning,” says Anthes. “This progress has been translated into many societal benefits, as well as increased understanding of our planet.”
Reflecting his keen interest in education and diversity, Anthes created Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) in 1996. This NSF-funded program has provided multiyear mentorship for more than 100 promising college students, helping to correct persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities in Earth science graduate schools.
“Any significant, long-term progress in solving the array of problems facing the world hinges on the education of young people in all countries,” Anthes says.
After he leaves his post as president, Anthes will remain at UCAR for three years through a part-time phased retirement. He plans to work on writing, research, and community and public service projects and will assist UCAR and NCAR management and the UCAR Board of Trustees on special projects upon request.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.