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2011 UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Award Nominations

Listed below are the 2011 Distinguished Achievement and Outstanding Accomplishment Award Nominations.  Please note that if there was only one nomination in a particular category, the single nomination will not be included below. 

We hope you will join us on Friday, December 16th beginning at 3:00 pm for the all-staff Annual Holiday party, the announcement of the winners for these awards as well as our External Award winners, and the celebration of Rick Anthes' retirement from UCAR.  And don't forget the FourEver Fab! band and fabulous food as well!  You won't want to miss this special event.

2011 UCAR Distinguished Achievement Award Nominations

John Gille (NESL/ACD)

Nominated for his distinct and extraordinary accomplishments in research, community service, and especially scientific leadership in two separate atmospheric composition satellite instruments – Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS).  These instruments have provided novel advancements in satellite measurement and data retrieval technologies, with significant and long-lasting impacts on the scientific community.  MOPITT flies on the NASA EOS Terra spacecraft, measuring tropospheric carbon monoxide on the global scale.  As a direct result of the nominee’s foresight, careful planning, and leadership, MOPITT forms a core of past, current and future chemistry research at NCAR.  HIRDLS – designed to provide measurements of temperature, trace constituents, aerosols and cirrus clouds, with key attributes of global sampling at high vertical and high horizontal resolution – was conceived by the nominee.  His work on these instruments has greatly enhanced UCAR’s reputation as a leader in atmospheric chemistry and composition research. 

Terrence (Terry) Hock and Dean Lauritsen (EOL/ISF)

For their leadership and central role in developing innovative, new dropsonde technology as well as transformative delivery systems.  The nominees have expanded the capabilities of this dropsonde technology (effectively reinventing their value) in the following three areas:  the aircraft dropsonde systems AVAPS-II, used by aircraft for atmospheric  research and operational meteorology; the NCAR Driftsonde system, used to deliver up to 50 dropsondes each from a constellation of stratospheric balloons, achieving an unprecedented dataset; and the fully automatic NASA/NOAA Global Hawk (GH) unmanned aircraft (UAS) dropsonde system, extending aircraft dropsonde use to higher altitudes and longer flight durations than ever before.  The use of these systems has meaningful benefits for research and important societal impacts.  Without their work, accurate and reliable high-quality dropsondes would not be available for hurricane forecasts.  The new capabilities and delivery systems also allow scientists to observe atmospheric phenomena from the tropics to the poles.  All of their work has solidified UCAR’s reputation as “dropsonde central.”


2011 UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Award for Publication Nominations

Jørgen B. Jensen (EOL/RAF) and Sunhee Lee (CSIRO, Australia)

Jensen, J. B. and S. Lee, 2008:  Giant sea-salt aerosols and warm rain formation in marine stratocumulus.  Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 65, 3678.3694.

The nominated paper is the first study to evaluate the relative importance of giant sea-salt particles, dependent on surface wind speed versus the concentration of smaller aerosols, usually dependent on anthropogenic production.  A high concentration of small particles leads to small cloud droplets and to slower growth of those droplets.  However, giant nuclei form larger cloud droplets that provide a faster way to form rain.  The nominated paper determines that such rain formation is as sensitive, or more sensitive to giant nuclei than to small particles.  The nominees, therefore, suggest that the effects of giant sea-salt aerosols should be included in the representation of rain formation in climate and other large-scale models.  The paper is described as seminal, ground-breaking, and elegant.  The results were made possible by a novel method of tracing individual aerosol particles through condensational and collisional growth, and they achieved a high degree of accuracy.  The paper presents these results in a clear, logical progression that is quite convincing and outlines a path by which large-scale models can be improved.  

Andrew J. Heymsfield (NESL/MMM), Gregory Thompson (RAL/HAP), Hugh Morrison (NESL/MMM), Aaron Bansemer (NESL/MMM), Roy M. Rasmussen (RAL/HAP), Patrick Minnis (NASA Langley Research Center), Zhien Wang (University of Wyoming), and Damao Zhang (University of Wyoming)

Heymsfield, A.J., G. Thompson, H. Morrison, A. Bansemer, R. Rasmussen, P. Minnis, Z. Wang, and D. Zhang, 2011:  Formation and spread of aircraft-induced holes in clouds.  Science, 333, 77-81.

The nominated paper combines a multi-faceted approach to hypothesize and test the physical and dynamical basis of aircraft-induced cloud holes.  The nominees show that the interactions of the microphysical processes of ice crystal growth in these clouds with the dynamics of the downdrafts around the center of the holes are responsible for their formation and growth over time.  This paper is an excellent means of educating the public on basic cloud physics.  The nominees utilized a unique combination of techniques to understand these hole-punch clouds, including satellite observations, aircraft track information, and detailed numerical modeling.  They measured the rate of spread and persistence of the holes; they evaluated the exact aircraft that produced the holes and determined that inadvertent ice production occurs from private, commercial and military propeller, as well as jet aircraft; they also provided an explanation for how the ice production occurs for jet aircraft.  In addition, using the WRF model, they numerically modeled the layer cloud case; they demonstrated that aircraft departing from a major airport inadvertently seeded a low-level subfreezing cloud, generating copious snow; and they quantified how frequently this inadvertent seeding is near five major commercial airports, requiring 20% more de-icing operations in midlatitude airport locations.  The impact of this paper has been huge – garnering attention from most major media outlets and via websites across the world.   

Matthias Rempel (HAO), Manfred Schüssler (Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung), Robert Cameron (Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung), and Michael Knölker (HAO)

Rempel, M., M. Schüssler, R. Cameron, and M. Knölker, 2009:  Penumbral structure and outflows in simulated sunspots.  Science, 325, 171-174. 

The authors of this paper describe breakthrough simulations that explain how the solar magnetic field controls the brightness and dynamics of sunspots.  Sunspots are formed by concentrations of magnetic fields on the visible solar surface that inhibit the underlying convection, causing the sunspot to be cooler than its surroundings and, therefore, appear dark.  By using numerical simulations that included the most realistic physics to date, the nominees established how the magnetic field darkens the sunspot center and how the brighter surrounding areas and outflows are caused by the changing angle of the magnetic field.  For the first time a comprehensive understanding of the interaction of magnetism, convection, and radiation was obtained, resulting in phenomenally realistic simulations of sunspot appearance and physical characteristics.  This paper is considered ground-breaking and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the Sun.  It is a landmark achievement, for the computational ingenuity and prowess required to accomplish it and for the insights it has provided regarding the physical nature of penumbral filamentation and flows.  Since its publication, the paper has received 52 citations. 

Thomas T. Warner (RAL, posthumous)

Warner, T. T., 2011:  Numerical weather and climate prediction.  Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-51389-0, 526 pp.

This book provides an exceptionally well-written account of the practical and cutting-edge aspects of numerical predictions, with a particular emphasis on understanding model processes, as well as their limitations and how errors affect solutions.  It includes clear descriptions of best practices, predictability, operational forecasting, and a wide range of special applications of numerical models not found in previous textbooks.  This volume is a comprehensive reflection of the author’s far-reaching experience gained through thirty years of teaching courses on numerical weather and climate prediction as well as mentoring a long line of graduate students and young professionals.  Each chapter includes useful exercises and suggests further reading material.  It is “a rich, effectively written and comprehensive detailed summary of the field of atmospheric modeling from local to global scales.  It should be in the library of all meteorologists, climate researchers, and other scientists who are interested in the capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of modeling.”  This textbook has already reached Cambridge University Press’ top-ten bestselling titles in Atmospheric Science and Meteorology, despite its very recent publication.  The author has written a standout textbook that provides a comprehensive yet accessible treatment of weather and climate predictions, which will serve graduate students, researchers, and professionals alike. 

William J. Randel (NESL/ACD), Mijeong Park (NESL/ACD), Louisa Emmons (NESL/ACD), Doug Kinnison (NESL/ACD), Peter Bernath (University of York and University of Waterloo), Kaley A. Walker (University of Toronto and University of Waterloo), Chris Boone (University of Waterloo), and Hugh Pumphrey (University of Edinburgh)

Randel, W. J., M. Park, L. Emmons, D. Kinnison, P. Bernath, K.A. Walker, C. Boone, and H. Pumphrey, 2010:  Asian monsoon transport of pollution to the stratosphere.  Science, 328, 611-613.

This paper presents evidence for the transport of pollution, originating over India and Southeast Asia, into the global stratosphere via the circulation of the Asian summer monsoon.  This study identifies a new transport pathway that connects surface pollution with the global stratosphere, and it occurs over a region of substantial pollution growth.  This paper’s unique contribution directly identifies the Asian monsoon transport pathway to the stratosphere using satellite observations of hydrogen cyanide, a troposphere pollutant produced in biomass burning, and it is fueling ongoing research within the wider community.  This monsoon influence may become increasingly important in the face of ongoing growth in Asian emissions and/or changes in the monsoon circulation in an evolving climate.  The importance of this topic is further demonstrated by the commitment of NASA and NSF to conduct a joint, multi-aircraft field campaign in Southeast Asia in late 2012. 

Gokhan Danabasoglu (NESL/CGD), William G. Large (NESL/CGD), and Bruce P. Briegleb (NESL/CGD)

Danabasoglu, G., W.G. Large, and B.P. Briegleb, 2010:  Climate impacts of parameterized Nordic Sea overflows.  Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, C11005, doi:10.1029/2010]C006243.

The component of the ocean circulation referred to as the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) brings warm water from lower latitudes to higher latitudes where it cools, becomes dense, sinks, and then flows throughout the abyssal ocean.  It is responsible for the majority of poleward heat transport by the oceans and is thus important in maintaining the Earth’s mean climate.  The descending branch of dense water occurs as isolated plumes emanating from just a few locations worldwide (including the Nordic Sea).  These plumes are relatively small and cannot be explicitly resolved in global models.  The research described in this paper developed the first physically based parameterization of this process and has been incorporated into global climate models.  This paper is comprehensive, well written, and very clear.  It systematically documents the impacts of overflow parameterization (both negative and positive) on ocean solutions as well as on climate.  “There are not many papers that advance the field in such a way that their application becomes standard practice.”


2011 UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Award for Mentoring Nominations

Boon Chye (BC) Low (HAO)

This nominee has enhanced the professional development of numerous students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior scientists at NCAR through his exemplary and sustained mentoring efforts.  Beyond providing his protégés scientific and technical guidance, BC has inspired them with his enthusiasm and wisdom.  He is, on the one hand, selfless in devoting his time and effort to providing an enriching and supportive environment for his protégés, while also treating them as equals and giving them independence and freedom in their research and development.  During his 30-year-long productive scientific career, BC has continually mentored young scientists of great diversity (including many women as well as people of different ethnicities, nationalities, and scientific backgrounds) at all stages of their career development.  He has supervised a total of 12 Advanced Study Program and HAO postdoctoral fellows, two of which he mentored in the past five years.  He directly supervised the doctoral thesis research of three Ph.D. students and has supervised or co-supervised the research of seven other undergraduate and graduate students.  BC’s outstanding mentoring efforts exemplify how NCAR, as an interdisciplinary research center, can support the university community in training the next generation of young scientists.

Richard Rotunno (NESL/MMM)

This nominee’s exemplary mentoring of junior scientists is exceptional in its sustained excellence throughout his career at NCAR.  Rich has mentored young scientists at all stages of their careers, from graduate students to postdoctoral researchers to NCAR scientists and university professors.  He has had a strong, positive influence on scientist mentees, resulting in their notable career successes.  In several cases, Rich’s mentoring continued over time, well beyond the initial period of direct scientific collaboration.  Because it has fostered the careers of so many young scientists, Rich’s mentoring excellence has had a substantial and positive influence on atmospheric science research.  NCAR has also benefitted through the development and training of the next generation of NCAR scientists as well as a cadre of talented university professors and lab researchers with ties to NCAR. 

Clara Deser (NESL/CGD)

Since 1998, this nominee has mentored 15 junior scientists including undergraduate SOARS protégés, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career scientists.   She served on various thesis committees and delivered nine lectures at summer schools.  These latter two classes of activities, which at first might seem less direct, are also important components of mentoring.  She has had a profound impact on a large population of our upcoming young scientists.  She has served as a mentor to four Advanced Study Program (ASP) postdoctoral fellows, two SOARS protégés, one ASP Graduate Student Fellow, two NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellows, and five postdoctoral fellows supported under her external grants.  Her mentoring has resulted in 22 co-authored publications with her mentees in leading peer-reviewed climate journals.  She has had a profound impact on the young generation of scientists.  


2011 UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Award for Education and Outreach Nominations

Alison Rockwell and Vidal Salazar (EOL/FPS)

The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) experiment was a multi-year, multi-phase global field campaign, designed to study the latitudinal and vertical distribution of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric constituents from the Arctic to the Antarctic.  The nominees worked with the HIPPO Principal Investigators to develop, design, and implement a comprehensive E&O program that translated the scientific importance and challenges of HIPPO into an interesting and engaging experience for the public and students alike.  In their quest to advance environmental literacy and scientific knowledge, Rockwell and Salazar’s initiative, ideas, and activities have created a new paradigm within EOL.  E&O activities are now a regular part of field programs. 

Martin Snow (CU/LASP), Emily CoBabe-Ammann (Emily A. Cobabe & Associates, Inc.), Rebecca Centeno-Elliott (HAO), Elizabeth Chapin (NCAR Budget & Planning), Guiliana de Toma (and following team members all from HAO), Barbara Emery, Yuhong Fan, Sarah Gibson, Amy Knack, Michael Knölker, Alice Lecinski, Hanli Liu, Boon Chye Low, Gang Lu, Keith MacGregor, Astrid Maute, Scott McIntosh, Liying Qian, Matthias Rempel, Arthur Richmond, Michael Thompson, Wenbin Wang, and Qian Wu.

For the past five years, the nominees have provided mentoring and supervision for 23 undergraduates who have come to Boulder for the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  An
NSF-funded program, REU introduces undergraduate students to the interdisciplinary nature of solar and space physics (as a model for integrated research) and to the research environment.  This ongoing program requires staff commitment and dedication and can have a profound and career-forming effect on the student participants.

Elisabeth Holland (NESL/ACD)

The nominee has worked tirelessly to ensure that climate change education and research is relevant to, inclusive of, and responsive to the U.S. and international indigenous communities.  Working with indigenous communities encompasses unique challenges including difficult-to-reach locations; operating in a complex landscape of intersecting laws, authorities, and jurisdictions; and having norms and practices that differ appreciably from the norms in our scientific communities.  A willingness to embrace these difficulties and take the time to experience the indigenous cultures respectfully as well as investing time to learn from the people is essential to establishing credibility.  A few of her accomplishments include:  planning and leading the highly successful “Planning for Seven Generations” conference; leading the effort to request that the IPCC include indigenous participation and traditional ecological knowledge in the next report; securing the funding and leading week-long workshops on climate change, remote sensing, GIS, and atmospheric chemistry for students from the Diné College/Navajo Nation; and delivering over 15 lectures on Climate Change and Air Quality Impacts on the Navajo Nation. 

Rita Roberts (RAL/HAP) and Jim Wilson (RAL/EOL)

Over the past five years, the nominees have taught students, scientists, and weather forecasters how to make better forecasts of convective weather.  They do this with the Autonowcaster, a forecast decision system that incorporates much of their research and is now operational in selected U.S. National Weather Service, Army, and international forecast offices.  They are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise in short-term forecasting of thunderstorms and for their commitment to share their knowledge with others.  They have taught at 15 international scientific workshops in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization and National Weather Service in the U.S. and abroad, conducted focused training programs, created interactive learning modules and other instructional materials, and hosted long-term visitors sent to NCAR for more intensive training.  The impact of their work is profound.  In giving the gift of information, knowledge, and skills, they have created new scientific capabilities for teachers and students, and for weather forecasters serving the general public. 

Wei Wang, Jimy Dudhia, Dave Gill, Cindy Bruyere, Michael Duda, Bill Skamarock, and Ming Chen (NESL/MMM) 

The Advanced Research WRF (ARW) tutorial teaching team is nominated for their development and sustained conduct of creative and informative tutorials that have provided technical education and training to the large body of community users for the WRF modeling system.  Over 17,000 users from 136 countries registered to download the model code which makes educating and training this large and rapidly growing user base extremely challenging.  The large diversity in the background and interests of new WRF users amplifies this challenge.  The ARW tutorial team developed a three-four day curriculum, combining a series of lectures on the various features of the modeling system and how to use them, together with hands-on practical sessions in which students work through the step by step procedures for setting up and running a number of example case studies.  Through the significant efforts and dedication of the ARW tutorial team, nearly 2000 new WRF users have received personalized instruction using the WRF model to effectively advance their research objectives. 


2011 UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Award for Scientific/Technical Advancement Nominations

Jeff Anderson, Nancy Collins, Tim Hoar, Hui Liu, Kevin Raeder (all from CISL/IMAGe), and Glen Romine (NESL/MMM)

The Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) is a novel community software facility that supports data assimilation for many different geophysical models and many types of observations.  In the past DA algorithms were difficult and costly to implement, and there was no DA community software to be shared by different modeling and observational groups.  DART has used innovative algorithms and software engineering to create a community DA resource and provides scientists with state-of-the-art DA capabilities.  Forty three UCAR member universities and 298 other organizations have downloaded DART.  It supports more than a dozen major atmospheric and oceanic models and its use continues to grow.  DART is also used as a teaching tool at many universities and more than ten hands-on DART tutorials have trained a cadre of early career scientists in DA methods.  The impact on the atmospheric and related sciences has been transformative.  Collaborations between the DART team and modeling groups have resulted in DA being supported for the first time in a number of models.  This has enabled new science and also extended the features of DART as a community resource. 

Qian Wu (HAO), Cyndi Bradley (EOL/DFS), Greg Card (HAO), Vince Grow (EOL/DFS), Alice Lecinski (HAO), Chris Mahan (EOL/DFS), John Mickey (RAL/AAP), Pete Nelson (formerly HAO), Steve Palmer (EOL/DFS), Karl Schwenz (EOL/DFS), Scott Sewell (HAO), Jim Strieby (EOL/DFS), Rich Summers (HAO), Lee Sutherland (HAO), Andy Watt (EOL/RAF), and Bart Woodiel (EOL/DFS)

The HiWind balloon mission produced unprecedented measurements of thermospheric winds that are not observable from the ground during the daytime.  This innovative instrumentation, and its implementation on a balloon gondola platform, demonstrated that high-altitude balloon missions can fill a valuable role supplementing ground-based observational networks and expensive space missions that cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than comparable balloon missions.  Engineers and scientists in the High Altitude Observatory and the Earth Observing Laboratory collaborated on a complex development effort, culminating in a science flight out of Esrange, near Kiruna, Sweden in June 2011, and recovered near Resolute Bay, Canada.  The NCAR team that designed and built the instrument and gondola have enabled breakthrough observations of thermospheric winds and temperatures. 

Dave Rogers (EOL/RAF), Kurt Zrubek (EOL/RAF), Mark Lord (EOL/RAF), Steve Rauenbuehler (EOL/DFS), Dave Allen (EOL/DFS), Robert Olson (EOL/RAF), Robert Beasley (EOL/RAF), Brent Kidd (EOL/RAF), Jason Morris (EOL/RAF), John Cowan (EOL/RAF), Greg Bruning (EOL/RAF), Amy Smith (UCAR/F&A), Jørgen Jensen (EOL/RAF), Pavel Romashkin (EOL/RAF), and Allen Schanot (EOL/RAF).  Team members from Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation include: Kent Crenshaw, Paul Donovan, Phil Burton, Doug McKissack, Paul Olsen, Tom Van De Ven, David Squires, Keiko Holton, and Jeff Schubert

The original conceptual design for the High-Altitude Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) aircraft included under-wing stores for instrument mounting.  Such mounting locations are needed by many instruments to sample unobstructed airflow or view in directions that are obstructed elsewhere on the aircraft.  Although there were reinforced attachment points below the wings capable of carrying 1200 pounds at each location, there was no structure connected to those attachment points and no knowledge of how something large mounted there might affect the performance of the aircraft.  To realize the full capabilities of HIAPER, the wing-pod team designed, constructed, and certified those pods.  These two pods and eight canisters should serve community needs to mount instruments under the wings. 

William Mahoney (RAL/WSAP), Gerry Wiener (RAL/WSAP), Bill Myers (RAL/WSAP), Yubao Liu (RAL/NSAP), David Johnson (RAL/WSAP), Seth Linden (RAL/WSAP), Will Cheng (RAL/NSAP), Brice Lambi (RAL/WSAP), Arnaud Dumont (RAL/AAP), Julia Pearson (RAL/AAP), Luca Delle Monache (RAL/NSAP), Gregory Roux (RAL/NSAP), Branko Kosovic (RAL/NSAP), John Exby (RAL/AO), Yuewei Liu (RAL/NSAP), Frank McDonough (RAL/AAP), Becky Ruttenburg (RAL/NSAP), Doug Small (RAL/NSAP), Tom Hopson (RAL/HAP), Wanli Wu (RAL/NSAP), Alemu Tadesse (?), and Sue Ellen Haupt (RAL/WSAP)

The NCAR/RAL Wind Power Forecasting System enables utilities to integrate large amounts of wind energy into the power grid by providing comprehensive forecasts of wind power generation.  Accurate forecasts are crucial for efficient energy planning and resource management as well as for advancing the role of wind energy as a major component of our national energy supply.  The RAL team has collaborated with Xcel Energy over the past 2.5 years to develop an advanced wind power prediction system.  Implementation of the system has resulted in a 40% reduction in wind energy prediction error, improving the integration of wind power into the electric grid and, in 2010 alone, saved Xcel Energy rate payers $6.0M.  This wind energy forecasting system is widely considered – nationally and internationally – to be the most advanced system of its kind.  A NOAA evaluation of the system’s performance skill and associated cost savings conducted for the Utility Wind Integration Group concluded that a national rollout of NCAR’s system would save the nation’s utilities approximately $4.5B per year.

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Start: 
Friday, December 9, 2011
End: 
Friday, December 16, 2011