Fostering deeper understanding of the atmosphere and Earth system

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 North American member colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research with sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Through our community programs, UCAR supports and extends the capabilities of our academic consortium. > Print-friendly brochure: About NCAR & UCAR

The National Center for Atmospheric Research provides research, observing and computing facilities, and a variety of services for the atmospheric and related Earth sciences community. more below >

The UCAR Community Programs provide innovative services in support of the consortium's education and research goals. more below >

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UCAR - Serving the Earth System Science Community (3:00) ©UCAR.  Enlarge>
In the Field (1:37) @UCAR. Enlarge>
Community Modeling (1:40) @UCAR. Enlarge>
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University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on behalf of the National Science Foundation. With guidance from its more than 100 North American member colleges and universities, UCAR also provides a wide range of core programs and services supporting and extending the capabilities of the academic research community. These efforts together address the large-scale challenges associated with integrated research, technological development, and educational advancement across the geoscience enterprise. UCAR also plays a central national role in raising awareness of the value of continued federal investment in the life-saving, economically critical work provided by the geosciences community.

Both UCAR and NCAR are headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, with additional operations in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.

UCAR's mission is to empower our Member Institutions, our National Center, and our Community Programs by

  • Promoting research excellence
  • Developing fruitful collaborations
  • Managing unique resources
  • Creating novel capabilities
  • Building critical applications
  • Expanding educational opportunities
  • Engaging in effective advocacy

Founded in 1960, UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 North American member colleges and universities, each of which grants  degrees in the atmospheric and related sciences, plus a number of international affiliates offering comparable degrees. 

Members of the private sector serve on governance boards, collaborate with researchers, contribute funding to specific projects, and participate in technology transfer activities. Through its Government Relations activities, UCAR advocates for strong federal science budgets on behalf of the geosciences community.

You'll find more about UCAR and NCAR in Our History.

UCAR Home | UCAR President's Office


National Center for Atmospheric Research

NCAR is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the National Science Foundation and devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences. Significant additional support is provided by other U.S. government agencies, other national governments, and the private sector.

NCAR's mission is

  • to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related Earth and geospace systems
  • to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community, nationally and internationally, and
  • to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth

NCAR supports the community of atmospheric and geoscience researchers with:

  • tools—such as aircraft and radar, to observe the atmosphere, and
  • technology and assistance—to interpret and use these observations, including supercomputer access, computer models, and user support.

Our research projects cover a vast array of topics and involve collaborations between NCAR scientists and researchers in the academic, public, and private sectors. Primary areas we investigate include:

  • atmospheric chemistry—such as the chemical structure of healthy and polluted air
  • climate—including temperature, rainfall, winds, and extreme events over decades or centuries, from prehistoric times to the present and into the future
  • weather science— including cloud physics, storm structure, and other keys to improved weather forecasting
  • weather hazards to transportation—including detection and warning systems for air, road, and rail travel
  • decision support systems at the intersection of weather and renewable energy, wildfire prediction, precision agriculture, and other new and emerging economic sectors
  • interactions between the Sun and Earth—including solar and space weather
  • computer science innovation—for understanding and visualizing the whole Earth system
  • emerging impacts of weather and climate on the built environment, commerce, safety, and national security

NCAR Home | NCAR Director's Office


UCAR Community Programs

UCAR's community programs strengthen education, research, and technology in the atmospheric and related sciences through programs and projects that:

  • train professionals and university faculty in the latest meteorological research
  • provide real-time weather observations and analysis tools for education and research
  • support satellite-based Earth and atmospheric monitoring
  • support participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by students from all backgrounds
  • develop atmospheric, Earth science, and related STEM teaching materials
  • help organize multiagency experiments, workshops, and conferences
  • manage postdoctoral fellowship programs for federal agencies
  • link universities and operational forecast offices
  • provide resources for constructing and organizing digital learning tools


UCP Home | UCP Director's Office