News

Planetary waves, first found on Earth, are discovered on Sun

BOULDER, Colo. — The same kind of large-scale planetary waves that meander through the atmosphere high above Earth's surface may also exist on the Sun, according to a new study led by a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).Just as the large-scale waves that form on Earth, known as Rossby waves, influence local weather patterns, the waves discovered on the Sun may be intimately tied to solar activity, including the formation of sunspots, active regions, and the eruption of solar flares."The discovery of magnetized Rossby waves on the Sun offers the tantalizing possibility that we can predict space weather much further in advance," said NCAR scientist Scott McIntosh, lead author of the paper.The study will be published next week in the journal Nature Astronomy. Co-authors are William Cramer of Yale University, Manuel Pichardo Marcano of Texas Tech University, and Robert Leamon of the University of Maryland, College Park.The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NCAR's sponsor, and by NASA.An unprecedented view of the SunOn Earth, Rossby waves are associated with the path of the jet stream and the formation of low- and high-pressure systems, which in turn influence local weather events.The waves form in rotating fluids — in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Because the Sun is also rotating, and because it's made largely of plasma that acts, in some ways, like a vast magnetized ocean, the existence of Rossby-like waves should not come as a surprise, said McIntosh, who directs NCAR's High Altitude Observatory.And yet scientists have lacked the tools to distinguish this wave pattern until recently. Unlike Earth, which is scrutinized at numerous angles by satellites in space, scientists historically have been able to study the Sun from only one viewpoint: as seen from the direction of Earth.But for a brief period, from 2011 to 2014, scientists had the unprecedented opportunity to see the Sun's entire atmosphere at once. During that time, observations from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which sits between the Sun and the Earth, were supplemented by measurements from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) mission, which included two spacecraft orbiting the Sun. Collectively, the three observatories provided a 360-degree view of the Sun until contact was lost with one of the STEREO spacecraft in 2014. McIntosh and his co-authors mined the data collected during the window of full solar coverage to see if the large-scale wave patterns might emerge."By combining the data from all three satellites we can see the entire sun and that's important for studies like this because you want the measurements to all be at the same time," said Dean Pesnell, SDO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "They’re pushing the boundary of how we use solar data to understand the interior of the sun and where the magnetic field of the sun comes from."Coronal bright points identified in images of the Sun taken simultaenously from three distinct vantage points in space. From left, images were captured by STEREO-Behind, SDO, and STEREO-Ahead. (Image courtesy Scott McIntosh, NCAR.)Finding waves in the dataThe team used images taken by instruments on SDO and STEREO to identify and track coronal bright points. These small bright features dot the entire face of the Sun and have been used to track motions deeper in the solar atmosphere.The scientists plotted the combined data on Hovmöller diagrams, a diagnostic tool developed by meteorologists to highlight the role of waves in Earth's atmosphere. What emerged from the analysis were bands of magnetized activity that propagate slowly across the Sun — just like the Rossby waves found on Earth.The discovery could link a range of solar phenomena that are also related to the Sun's magnetic field, including the formation of sunspots, their lifetimes, and the origin of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle. "It's possible that it's all tied together, but we needed to have a global perspective to see that," McIntosh said. "We believe that people have been observing the impacts of these Rossby-like waves for decades, but haven't been able to put the whole picture together."With a new understanding of what the big picture might really look like, scientists could take a step closer to predicting the Sun's behavior."The discovery of Rossby-like waves on the Sun could be important for the prediction of solar storms, the main drivers of space weather effects on Earth," said Ilia Roussev, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences.  "Bad weather in space can hinder or damage satellite operations, and communication and navigation systems, as well as cause power-grid outages leading to tremendous socioeconomic losses. Estimates put the cost of space weather hazards at $10 billion per year.”But to advance our predictive capabilities, scientists must first gain a better understanding of the waves and the patterns that persist on them, which would require once again having a 360-degree view of the Sun."To connect the local scale with the global scale, we need to expand our view," McIntosh said. "We need a constellation of spacecraft that circle the Sun and monitor the evolution of its global magnetic field."About the articleTitle: The detection of Rossby-like waves on the SunAuthors: Scott W. McIntosh, William J. Cramer, Manuel Pichardo Marcano, and Robert J. Leamon  Journal: Nature Astronomy, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-017-0086Writer:Laura Snider, Senior Science Writer and Public Information Officer

UCAR/NCAR statement on the passing of Matthew J. Parker

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) join American Meteorological Society (AMS) colleagues and those in the broader meteorological community in mourning the passing of AMS President Matthew J. Parker, who died on March 15.This past January, Parker took over as AMS president during the society’s annual meeting in Seattle having been elected as president-elected in November 2015. He had spent much of his career, since 1989, at Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina. During that time, Parker rose through the ranks and was most recently senior fellow meteorologist in the Atmospheric Technologies Group.Matthew Parker (Photo courtesy of the American Meteorological Society.)“Matt was a true leader in the community who advocated for an analysis to show the value and return on investment in the weather enterprise,” said UCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi. “Matt was a strong supporter of a more diverse and inclusive weather enterprise and while at the Department of Energy, worked to integrate all parts of the community, including the public, private, and academic sectors. This loss will be deeply felt.”NCAR Director James W. Hurrell expressed a similar sentiment, noting that Parker’s passing “is an enormous loss for the entire scientific community. Matt was a tremendous leader who was deeply committed to our field, and to AMS in particular. He will be sorely missed.”  William Mahoney, interim director of NCAR’s Research Applications Laboratory and Commissioner of AMS’s Commission on the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise, added: “Matt understood that creating collaboration among government, private, and academic sectors could be a powerful and effective strategy for advancing our scientific and operational capabilities. We will miss Matt’s leadership but the Commission will continue to work on implementing his vision.”See AMS’s statement here.

UCAR statement on President Trump's first budget proposal

BOULDER, Colo. — The budget process for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1, is now under way with this morning's release of President Trump's proposed budget blueprint. This proposal will be more fully developed in coming months, with the administration providing more detail and then the plan undergoing revisions during negotiations with Congress. The administration’s blueprint would increase spending for defense by $54 billion, with corresponding reductions in domestic spending, including scientific research.StatementAntonio J. Busalacchi, the president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), issued the following statement today on the administration’s plan:It is vital that the government continue to invest in crucial scientific endeavors that save lives and property, ensure our continued economic competitiveness, and strengthen our national security.Last year alone, our country experienced 15 weather-related disasters that each reached or exceeded $1 billion in costs, including tornadoes, drought, and widespread flooding that, combined, left dozens dead. Even routine weather events affect transportation, supply chain management, consumer purchasing, and other sectors in every state, with a collective impact of hundreds of billions of dollars on the U.S. economy. Higher up in our atmosphere, space weather events pose a multibillion-dollar threat to GPS systems, communications networks, power grids, and other technologies that are essential for the functioning of our nation.Strategic and necessary collaborations among government agencies, academia, and the private sector are resulting in landmark progress in short- and long-term forecasts. Scientists are gaining revolutionary new insights into the entire Earth system in ways that will lead to predictions of weather patterns and other events weeks, months, or even more than a year in advance, providing needed intelligence to political, military, and business leaders.UCAR is concerned that the proposed funding cuts to Earth system science research would derail the nation’s progress toward improved prediction and weaken the position of the United States in the world. Earth system science is an international endeavor, prioritized by both U.S. allies and competitors. Any significant cuts to science funding in the U.S. budget would threaten our preeminence, undercutting efforts to keep the public safe and our economy and military strong.As the months-long budget process moves forward, we will work with policy makers to ensure that the nation continues its robust support of essential Earth system science research.

Slower snowmelt in a warming world

BOULDER, Colo. — As the world warms, mountain snowpack will not only melt earlier, it will also melt more slowly, according to a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).The counterintuitive finding, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, could have widespread implications for water supplies, ecosystem health, and flood risk."When snowmelt shifts earlier in the year, the snow is no longer melting under the high sun angles of late spring and early summer," said NCAR postdoctoral researcher Keith Musselman, lead author of the paper. "The Sun just isn't providing enough energy at that time of year to drive high snowmelt rates."Snowpack in the Colorado Rockies as seen from the NSF/NCAR C-130 research aircraft. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.The findings could explain recent research that suggests the average streamflow in watersheds encompassing snowy mountains may decline as the climate warms — even if the total amount of precipitation in the watershed remains unchanged. That's because the snowmelt rate can directly affect streamflow. When snowpack melts more slowly, the resulting water lingers in the soil, giving plants more opportunity to take up the moisture. Water absorbed by plants is water that doesn't make it into the stream, potentially reducing flows.Musselman first became interested in how snowmelt rates might change in the future when he was doing research in the Sierra Nevada. He noticed that shallower, lower-elevation snowpack melted earlier and more slowly than thicker, higher-elevation snowpack. The snow at cooler, higher elevations tended to stick around until early summer — when the Sun was relatively high in the sky and the days had grown longer — so when it finally started to melt, the melt was rapid.Musselman wondered if the same phenomenon would unfold in a future climate, when warmer temperatures are expected to transform higher-elevation snowpack into something that looks much more like today's lower-elevation snowpack. If so, the result would be more snow melting slowly and less snow melting quickly. To investigate the question, Musselman first confirmed what he'd noticed in the Sierra by analyzing a decade's worth of snowpack observations from 979 stations in the United States and Canada. He and his co-authors — NCAR scientists Martyn Clark, Changhai Liu, Kyoko Ikeda, and Roy Rasmussen — then simulated snowpack over the same decade using the NCAR-based Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model.Once they determined that the output from WRF tracked with the observations, they used simulations from the model to investigate how snowmelt rates might change in North America around the end of the century if climate change continues unabated."We found a decrease in the total volume of meltwater — which makes sense given that we expect there to be less snow overall in the future," Musselman said. "But even with this decrease, we found an increase in the amount of water produced at low melt rates and, on the flip side, a decrease in the amount of water produced at high melt rates."While the study did not investigate the range of implications that could come from the findings, Musselman said the impacts could be far-reaching. For example, a reduction in high melt rates could mean fewer spring floods, which could lower the risk of infrastructure damage but also negatively affect riparian ecosystems. Changes in the timing and amount of snowmelt runoff could also cause warmer stream temperatures, which would affect trout and other fish species, and the expected decrease in streamflow could cause shortages in urban water supplies."We hope this study motivates scientists from many other disciplines to dig into our research so we can better understand the vast implications of this projected shift in hydrologic patterns," Musselman said.About the articleTitle: Slower snowmelt in a warmer worldAuthors: Keith N. Musselman, Martyn P. Clark, Changhai Liu, Kyoko Ikeda, and Roy RasmussenJournal: Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3225WriterLaura Snider, Senior Science Writer and Public Information OfficerFunderNational Science Foundation

Five new trustees join UCAR's board

BOULDER — Five new trustees are taking their seats this week on the board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).The five new trustees are: Susan Avery, president emerita of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Raymond Ban, managing director of Ban & Associates; Shuyi Chen, professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami; Sherri Goodman, senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and Harlan Spence, director of the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. Each was elected by UCAR’s 110 member universities to a three-year term.The board, which determines UCAR's overall direction, elected a new chair: Everette Joseph, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the University at Albany-SUNY. Joseph is serving his second three-year term as a trustee.At this week's meeting, UCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi and Joseph thanked outgoing Chair of the Board Eric Betterton for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to UCAR."Eric is a tough act to follow, but I am looking forward to working with the new and returning trustees to ensure that UCAR continues to be regarded as one of the world's leading resources in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences," Joseph said.Betterton, who has served as chair since 2015, said he was delighted to see Joseph assume the role. "Everette is exceptionally well placed to take over as chair, having served as vice chair since 2015. He has a deep understanding of UCAR, most recently evidenced by his leadership last spring of the successful search for a new UCAR president," Betterton said.Petra Klein from the University of Oklahoma will assume the vice chair role. She has served as a trustee since 2015.The UCAR member universities also re-elected two sitting trustees to additional terms: Betterton, also director of the University of Arizona's Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences; and Romy Olaisen, a vice president of enterprise ground solutions at Harris Corp. Eleven board members have continuing terms in a staggered-term system that assures continuity."I am excited to work with a board that has the depth of expertise from academia, government, and the private sector needed to help tackle the complex challenges facing Earth system science," Busalacchi said. "The work of NCAR, the UCAR university consortium, and our many partners working on weather, water, and climate has never been more important for protecting lives and property, growing the economy, and advancing national security."UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of 110 North American 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. UCAR's community programs offer a suite of innovative resources, tools, and services in support of the consortium's education and research goals.New UCAR chairEverette Joseph has been the director of the University at Albany-SUNY's Atmospheric Sciences Research Center since 2014. His current projects include research to improve extreme weather resiliency and the development and deployment of ground-based and satellite observing systems. In his prior position as director of the Howard University Program in Atmospheric Sciences, he helped Howard become a national leader in graduating African American and Hispanic Ph.D.s in atmospheric science. Read more about Joseph.  New UCAR trustees Susan Avery is an atmospheric physicist and president emerita of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she served as president from 2008–2015. Prior to that, Avery was a professor at the University of Colorado and held various leadership positions, including director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). Avery also is a past president of the American Meteorological Society and a past chair of the UCAR Board of Trustees. Read more about Avery.  Raymond Ban is managing director of Ban & Associates, which provides consulting services to weather media companies. He also serves as a consultant to The Weather Channel, where he served as an executive vice president from 2002–2009. Read more about Ban.  Shuyi Chen is a professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. She has also been an affiliate scientist at NCAR since 2006. She serves as vice chair of the National Academies Board of Atmospheric Science and Climate (BASC). A fellow of the American Meteorological Society, Chen is an expert in the prediction of extreme weather events, including tropical cyclones and winter storms. Read more about Chen. Sherri Goodman is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, affiliated with the center's Polar Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, and Global Women's Leadership Initiative. She is also a senior fellow at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization, where she founded the CNA Military Advisory Board. Goodman is the former president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security). Read more about Goodman. Harlan Spence has been director of the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space since 2010. Prior to that, he was a professor of astronomy and department chair at Boston University. With expertise in solar research and the origins of space weather, he has worked closely with NCAR's High Altitude Observatory. He serves on several national committees providing advice to NASA and the National Science Foundation on potential space missions. Read more about Spence. 

UCAR letter on immigration order

Dear UCAR Community,As many of you are aware, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday temporarily banning citizens of seven countries -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen -- from entering the United States. This ban is counter to our organization’s mission and values, and I would like to reaffirm, in the strongest possible terms, our commitment and support for members of our community who may be impacted by this executive order.UCAR and NCAR are devoted to hiring, working with, and welcoming the best employees and visiting staff in the world, regardless of their country of citizenship, religion, or personal characteristics. We understand that diverse perspectives are critical for finding solutions to the complex scientific problems we are tackling today. Further, the impact of our research is global in scale, stretching beyond the boundary of our own country and it is imperative that we are able to collaborate with our colleagues around the world.While it is not yet clear how this executive order -- parts of which have been stayed by multiple federal judges -- will be implemented, UCAR is carefully monitoring the possible impacts on our staff and community members. Among these impacts will surely be an emotional toll, and I would ask that all of us at UCAR’s 110 member institutions and beyond work to support each other during this difficult and uncertain time.Sincerely,Antonio Busalacchi, UCAR President

Turbocharging science

CHEYENNE, Wyoming — The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching operations this month of one of the world's most powerful and energy-efficient supercomputers, providing the nation with a major new tool to advance understanding of the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences.Named "Cheyenne," the 5.34-petaflop system is capable of more than triple the amount of scientific computing performed by the previous NCAR supercomputer, Yellowstone. It also is three times more energy efficient.Scientists across the country will use Cheyenne to study phenomena ranging from wildfires and seismic activity to gusts that generate power at wind farms. Their findings will lay the groundwork for better protecting society from natural disasters, lead to more detailed projections of seasonal and longer-term weather and climate variability and change, and improve weather and water forecasts that are needed by economic sectors from agriculture and energy to transportation and tourism."Cheyenne will help us advance the knowledge needed for saving lives, protecting property, and enabling U.S. businesses to better compete in the global marketplace," said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "This system is turbocharging our science."UCAR manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF).Cheyenne currently ranks as the 20th fastest supercomputer in the world and the fastest in the Mountain West, although such rankings change as new and more powerful machines begin operations. It is funded by NSF as well as by the state of Wyoming through an appropriation to the University of Wyoming.Cheyenne is housed in the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC), one of the nation's premier supercomputing facilities for research. Since the NWSC opened in 2012, more than 2,200 scientists from more than 300 universities and federal labs have used its resources."Through our work at the NWSC, we have a better understanding of such important processes as surface and subsurface hydrology, physics of flow in reservoir rock, and weather modification and precipitation stimulation," said William Gern, vice president of research and economic development at the University of Wyoming. "Importantly, we are also introducing Wyoming’s school-age students to the significance and power of computing."The NWSC is located in Cheyenne, and the name of the new system was chosen to honor the support the center has received from the people of that city. The name also commemorates the upcoming 150th anniversary of the city, which was founded in 1867 and named for the American Indian Cheyenne Nation.Contour lines and isosurfaces provide valuable information about turbulence and aerodynamic drag in this visualization of air flow through the blades of a wind turbine, the product of a simulation on the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center's Yellowstone system. (Image courtesy Dimitri Mavriplis, University of Wyoming.) Increased power, greater efficiencyCheyenne was built by Silicon Graphics International, or SGI (now part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.), with DataDirect Networks (DDN) providing centralized file system and data storage components. Cheyenne is capable of 5.34 quadrillion calculations per second (5.34 petaflops, or floating point operations per second).The new system has a peak computation rate of more than 3 billion calculations per second for every watt of energy consumed. That is three times more energy efficient than the Yellowstone supercomputer, which is also highly efficient.The data storage system for Cheyenne provides an initial capacity of 20 petabytes, expandable to 40 petabytes with the addition of extra drives.  The new DDN system also transfers data at the rate of 220 gigabytes per second, which is more than twice as fast as the previous file system’s rate of 90 gigabytes per second.Cheyenne is the latest in a long and successful history of supercomputers supported by the NSF and NCAR to advance the atmospheric and related sciences.“We’re excited to provide the research community with more supercomputing power,” said Anke Kamrath, interim director of NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, which oversees operations at the NWSC. “Scientists have access to increasingly large amounts of data about our planet. The enhanced capabilities of the NWSC will enable them to tackle problems that used to be out of reach and obtain results at far greater speeds than ever.”More detailed predictionsHigh-performance computers such as Cheyenne allow researchers to run increasingly detailed models that simulate complex events and predict how they might unfold in the future. With more supercomputing power, scientists can capture additional processes, run their models at a higher resolution, and conduct an ensemble of modeling runs that provide a fuller picture of the same time period."Providing next-generation supercomputing is vital to better understanding the Earth system that affects us all, " said NCAR Director James W. Hurrell. "We're delighted that this powerful resource is now available to the nation's scientists, and we're looking forward to new discoveries in climate, weather, space weather, renewable energy, and other critical areas of research."Some of the initial projects on Cheyenne include:Long-range, seasonal to decadal forecasting: Several studies led by George Mason University, the University of Miami, and NCAR aim to improve prediction of weather patterns months to years in advance. Researchers will use Cheyenne's capabilities to generate more comprehensive simulations of finer-scale processes in the ocean, atmosphere, and sea ice. This research will help scientists refine computer models for improved long-term predictions, including how year-to-year changes in Arctic sea ice extent may affect the likelihood of extreme weather events thousands of miles away.Wind energy: Projecting electricity output at a wind farm is extraordinarily challenging as it involves predicting variable gusts and complex wind eddies at the height of turbines, which are hundreds of feet above the sensors used for weather forecasting. University of Wyoming researchers will use Cheyenne to simulate wind conditions on different scales, from across the continent down to the tiny space near a wind turbine blade, as well as the vibrations within an individual turbine itself. In addition, an NCAR-led project will create high-resolution, 3-D simulations of vertical and horizontal drafts to provide more information about winds over complex terrain. This type of research is critical as utilities seek to make wind farms as efficient as possible.Space weather: Scientists are working to better understand solar disturbances that buffet Earth's atmosphere and threaten the operation of satellites, communications, and power grids. New projects led by the University of Delaware and NCAR are using Cheyenne to gain more insight into how solar activity leads to damaging geomagnetic storms. The scientists plan to develop detailed simulations of the emergence of the magnetic field from the subsurface of the Sun into its atmosphere, as well as gain a three-dimensional view of plasma turbulence and magnetic reconnection in space that lead to plasma heating.Extreme weather: One of the leading questions about climate change is how it could affect the frequency and severity of major storms and other types of severe weather. An NCAR-led project will explore how climate interacts with the land surface and hydrology over the United States, and how extreme weather events can be expected to change in the future. It will use advanced modeling approaches at high resolution (down to just a few miles) in ways that can help scientists configure future climate models to better simulate extreme events.Climate engineering: To counter the effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, some experts have proposed artificially cooling the planet by injecting sulfates into the stratosphere, which would mimic the effects of a major volcanic eruption. But if society ever tried to engage in such climate engineering, or geoengineering, the results could alter the world's climate in unintended ways. An NCAR-led project is using Cheyenne's computing power to run an ensemble of climate engineering simulations to show how hypothetical sulfate injections could affect regional temperatures and precipitation.Smoke and global climate: A study led by the University of Wyoming will look into emissions from wildfires and how they affect stratocumulus clouds over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean. This research is needed for a better understanding of the global climate system, as stratocumulus clouds, which cover 23 percent of Earth's surface, play a key role in reflecting sunlight back into space. The work will help reveal the extent to which particles emitted during biomass burning influence cloud processes in ways that affect global temperatures.

Congress unanimously passes law for research and innovation

BOULDER, Colo. — By voting unanimously this month to pass the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, Congress has strengthened U.S. science and provided a major boost to the nation's economy and national security."Scientific research is the critical foundation of economic competitiveness," said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). "This bipartisan legislation will propel advances in research and strengthen collaborations between scientists and private industry, creating jobs and providing far-ranging benefits for the nation in the years to come."UCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)Busalacchi noted that federal investments in atmospheric research alone have spawned a multibillion private weather industry, providing critical forecasts to business leaders and local officials and helping to save lives from tornadoes, floods, and other disasters.The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which maximizes opportunities for basic research, won unanimous passage last week in the House and Senate. It was sponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan), along with John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida).The bill encourages scientific entrepreneurship; provides incentives for private sector innovation; promotes improvements in manufacturing; strengthens national security; and promotes diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. It most directly focuses on programs in the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.Key provisions include:Maximizing basic researchMerit review: Reaffirms the appropriateness of NSF intellectual merit and broader impacts criteria used to evaluate grant proposals.EPSCoR: Updates NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to continue promoting groundbreaking research in states that receive relatively little federal research money.Leveraging the private sectorIncentivizes private-sector innovation: Updates prize competition authority to encourage greater participation in federal prize competitions.Expands opportunities for public involvement: Permits federal science agencies to use crowdsourcing as a tool to conduct agency projects.Improving manufacturingEncourages improved manufacturing: Adjusts the federal cost-share ratio and implements new accountability and oversight provisions within NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program.Promoting innovation and technology transferBolsters scientific entrepreneurship: Authorizes the successful I-Corps program to help scientists move their research from the laboratory to the marketplace.Reaffirms importance of commercialization: Directs NSF to continue awarding translational research grants and strengthen public-private cooperation.Supporting STEMScientific community input: Establishes a STEM Advisory Panel composed of academic and industry representatives to provide recommendations on federal STEM programs.Diversity in STEM fields: Creates a working group to study ways to improve inclusion of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM fields.The legislation also includes provisions to strengthen national security and foster more communication between science and national security agencies. It reduces paperwork burdens and promotes transparency by requiring public notices of grants to justify the project's expenditures and confirm that they align with NSF priorities."Congress's unanimous support of scientific research and innovation is an important step for securing our nation's future, " Busalacchi said. "At UCAR we look forward to working with NSF and other federal agencies, the research community, and the private sector to advance research in support of society."Full text: American Innovation and Competitiveness Act 

NCAR & UCAR Scientists Highlight Advances in Weather, Water & Climate Research at AGU 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Scientists with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) will make dozens of presentations at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) during the week of December 12–16.Media Q&AThe Path Forward from Paris, One Year LaterUCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi, AGU President Margaret Leinen (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), and Carlos Nobre (Brazilian National Institute of Science & Technology for Climate Change) - related to Union Session U23ATuesday, December 13, 4 p.m. - Moscone West 3000 (Press Conference Room)Note: The Moscone West Q&A follows Union Session U23A with these participants in Moscone North Hall E from 1:40-3:40 p.m.Selected Talks MONDAY | TUESDAY | WEDNESDAY | THURSDAY | FRIDAYFull calendar, special events& exhibitsNCAR & UCAR at AGU 2016>@AtmosNewsLive | #NCARscience MONDAY, December 12Getting Space Weather Data and More From 'Noise' in GPS Signals: The COSMIC MissionsWilliam Schreiner, UCARSA11A-04: Satellite Constellations for Space Weather and Ionospheric Studies: Overview of the COSMIC and COSMIC-2 Missions8:45-9:00 a.m., Moscone West 2016Climate Change, Lyme, Zika, and Other Vector-Borne DiseasesAndrew Monaghan, NCARGC12A-02: Assessment of Climate Change and Vector-Borne Diseases in the United States10:35-10:50 a.m., Moscone West 2020Extreme Rainfall Could Increase Fivefold Across Parts of the U.S. Later This CenturyAndreas Prein, NCARGC13H-04: The Future Intensification of Hourly Precipitation Extremes2:25-2:40 p.m., Moscone West 3003Building Resilient Cities and Ecosystems: Food, Energy, and Water SecurityPatricia Romero-Lankao, NCARU13A-05: Urbanization, Extreme Climate Hazards, and Food/Energy/Water Security2:54-3:12 p.m., Moscone West 2022/2024TUESDAY, December 13Carbon Dioxide's Opposite Effects in the Upper AtmosphereStan Solomon, NCARSA21C-03: Climate Change in the Upper Atmosphere8:30-8:45 a.m., Moscone West 20163D-Printed Weather Stations Aid Forecasting in Developing NationsPaul Kucera, NCARH23F-1637: Development of Innovative Technology to Expand Precipitation Observations in Satellite Precipitation Validation in Under-developed Data-Sparse Regions1:40-6:00 p.m., Moscone South - Poster HallScenarios for Reaching the Paris Agreement TargetsBen Sanderson, NCARGC24D-02: Pathways to 1.5 Degrees: New GCM Simulations for Scenarios Which Meet the Paris Temperature Targets4:15-4:27 p.m., Moscone West 3003WEDNESDAY, December 14Seeing Into Tornadoes and Hurricanes with High-Resolution SimulationsGeorge Bryan, NCARIN31F-07: Insights into Tornadoes, Hurricanes from High-Resolution Simulations9:30-9:45 a.m., Moscone West 2000A Weather Resiliency Toolbox for Communities and BusinessesJames Done, NCARPA32A-03: Tools in Support of Planning for Weather and Climate Extremes10:58-11:11 a.m., Moscone South 304Exploring Unanswered Questions in the Evolution of Prehistoric Climate - The Emiliani LectureBette Otto-Bliesner, NCARPP32A-01: Resolving Some Puzzles of Climate Evolution Since the Last Glacial Maximum: A Melding of Paleoclimate Modeling and Data11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Moscone West 2022/2024THURSDAY, December 15Novel Uses of Climate Information for Water Utility Planners David Yates, NCAR U42A-02: The Novel Use of Climate Information in Water Utility Planning 10:40-10:58 a.m., Moscone South 102What's In Wildfire Smoke? Jerome Barre, NCAR A42D-04: Quantifying Fire Emissions and Associated Aerosol Species Using Assimilation of Satellite Carbon Monoxide Retrievals 11:05-11:20 a.m., Moscone West 3004 <FRIDAY, December 16What's Causing Errors in Hurricane & Tropical Storm Forecasts? Chris Davis, NCAR A54F-06: On the Origin of Large Tropical Cyclone Track Errors 5:15-5:30 p.m., Moscone West 3012  Full calendar, special events & exhibit infoNCAR & UCAR at AGU 2016>@AtmosNewsLive | #NCARscience | #AGU16

Two NCAR scientists honored by American Geophysical Union

BOULDER, Colo. — Martyn Clark, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will be honored next week as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for his exceptional contribution to Earth science.Clark is an expert in the numerical modeling and prediction of hydrologic processes. His current research includes developing new modeling methods to improve streamflow forecasts and better understand climate change impacts on regional water resources. Clark, who grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, has authored or co-authored 135 journal articles since receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1998.NCAR Senior Scientist Martyn Clark (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)"This well-deserved honor reflects Martyn's eminent work in the increasingly critical area of water-resource prediction and management," said NCAR Director James W. Hurrell.Clark said he was delighted to see NCAR's hydrologic modeling recognized. "Hydrology is beginning to play a much stronger role in addressing important interdisciplinary science questions about Earth System change, such as how changes in the terrestrial water cycle affect biological productivity and how groundwater can buffer water stress in ecosystems and human societies. It's exciting to advance modeling capabilities in these areas."NCAR Senior Scientist Bette Otto-Bliesner. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)Clark is among 60 individuals from eight countries recognized as Fellows this year; only one in one thousand AGU members receive this recognition in any given year. Nearly 40 percent of this year's fellows are from the 110 member colleges and universities of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR. This year's class will be honored next Wednesday at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.NCAR Senior Scientist Bette Otto-Bliesner, who was named an AGU Fellow last year, is being honored by her peers in the Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Focus Group and Ocean Sciences Section by being asked to give the 2016 Emiliani Lecture. She will give the lecture next Wednesday at the AGU Fall Meeting on the topic of "Resolving Some Puzzles of Climate Evolution Since the Last Glacial Maximum: A Melding of Paleoclimate Modeling and Data."The AGU, dedicated to advancing Earth and space sciences for the benefit of society, is a not-for-profit, professional organization representing 60,000 members in more than 140 countries. 

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