Policy & Society

Reconciling Paris Agreement goals for temperature, emissions

As society faces the challenge of limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, new research finds an apparent contradiction: Achieving that goal doesn't necessarily require cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero, as called for in the Paris Agreement. But under certain conditions, even zero emissions might not be enough.The Paris Agreement, a global effort to respond to the threats of human-caused climate change, stipulates that warming be limited to between 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). It also stipulates that countries achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of this century. But the relationship between the two — is the emissions goal sufficient or even necessary to meet the temperature goal? — has not been well understood.In a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists used a computer model to analyze a variety of possible future scenarios to better understand how emissions reductions and temperature targets are connected. The study, published March 26, was led by Katsumasa Tanaka at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan and co-authored by Brian O'Neill at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research."What we found is that the two goals do not always go hand in hand," Tanaka said. "If we meet temperature targets without first overshooting them, we don't have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero. But if we do reduce emissions to zero, we still might not meet the temperature targets if we don't reduce emissions quickly enough."The team also found that whether temperatures overshoot the target temporarily has a critical impact on the scale of emissions reductions needed."If we overshoot the temperature target, we do have to reduce emissions to zero. But that won’t be enough," Tanaka said. "We'll have to go further and make emissions significantly negative to bring temperatures back down to the target by the end of the century."The research was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (2-1702) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency in Japan and by the U.S. National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.Drafted in 2015, the Paris Agreement has been ratified by more than 170 countries. President Donald Trump announced last year the intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement.Modeling the problem from both sidesFor the study, the researchers used a simplified integrated assessment model that takes into account the physical connections between greenhouse gases and global mean temperature in the climate as well as the economic costs of emissions reductions."We investigated the consistency between the Paris targets in two ways. First we asked, what happens if you just meet the temperature target in a least-cost way? What would emissions look like?" said O'Neill, an NCAR senior scientist. "Then we said, let's just meet the emissions goal and see what kind of temperatures you get."The team generated 10 different scenarios. They found that Earth's warming could be stabilized at 1.5 or 2 degrees C — without overshooting the goal — by drastically cutting emissions in the short term. For example, total greenhouse gas emissions would need to be slashed by about 80 percent by 2033 to hit the 1.5-degree target or by about two-thirds by 2060 to meet the 2-degree target. In both these cases, emissions could then flatten out without ever falling to zero.Due to the difficulty of making such steep cuts, the scientists also looked at scenarios in which the temperature was allowed to temporarily overshoot the targets, returning to 1.5 or 2 degrees by the end of the century. In the 1.5-degree overshoot scenario, emissions fall to zero by 2070 and then stay negative for the rest of the century. (Negative emissions require activities that draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.) For the 2-degree temporary overshoot scenario, emissions fall to zero in 2085 and also become negative, but for a shorter period of time.On the flip side, the scientists also looked at scenarios where they set the emissions levels instead of the temperature. In those cases, they analyzed what would happen if emissions were reduced to zero around mid-century (2060) or at the end of the century (2100). In the first case, the global temperature peaked around the 2-degree target and then declined. But in the second case, the temperature rose above 2 degrees around 2043 and stayed there for a century or more."The timing of when emissions are reduced really matters," O'Neill said. "We could meet the goal set out in the Paris Agreement of reducing emissions to zero in the second half of the century and still wildly miss the temperature targets in the same agreement if we wait to take action."The new study is part of a growing body of research that seeks to better understand and define what it will take to comply with the Paris Agreement. For example, another recent study — led by Tom Wigley, a climate scientist at the University of Adelaide who holds an honorary appointment at NCAR — also looks at the quantity and timing of emissions cuts needed to stabilize global temperature rise at 1.5 or 2 degrees above preindustrial levels. This work focuses in particular on implications for emissions of carbon dioxide, the main component of the broader greenhouse gas emissions category that makes up the Paris emissions target.O'Neill and Tanaka believe their work might be useful as countries begin to report the progress they've made reducing their emissions and adjust their goals. These periods of reporting and readjusting, known as global stocktakes, are formalized as part of the Paris Agreement and occur every five years."Our study and others may help provide countries with a clearer understanding of what work needs to be done to meet the goals laid out in the agreement. We believe that the Paris Agreement needs this level of scientific interpretation," Tanaka said.

Reaching for GOLD

February 27, 2018 | As diversity becomes an increasingly important focus in the geosciences, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is providing critical support to a nationwide group of pilot projects that use innovative approaches to make the field more inclusive.Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD) is a set of five projects, each of which takes a distinctly different approach to broadening participation by people of color, people with disabilities, women, and others who have been traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences. It focuses on developing leadership. The National Science Foundation developed GOLD in 2016 as part of a broad-based initiative to make the geosciences more diverse and inclusive."There is strength to bringing a diverse group together to generate new ideas," said Brandon Jones, the NSF program director overseeing GOLD. "Equitable input from a diverse group can yield a variety of solutions to address multiple challenges."The GOLD projects, each funded for up to three years, focus on professional development to empower a broad range of both majority and underrepresented professionals with the skills needed for sustained improvements in the areas of diversity and inclusion. The target groups include early career scientists and faculty, those in senior leadership positions, and researchers on field projects, among others."The great thing about GOLD is that the pilot projects each take a very different approach," said Carolyn Brinkworth, UCAR's chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. "Achieving diversity in a systemic way requires a network of projects that support one another while helping us better understand what works and what doesn't."Carolyn BrinkworthBrinkworth is closely involved in the initiative, serving as a principal investigator or collaborator on three of the GOLD projects and as the principal investigator for GOLDEN, which provides the support infrastructure for the five pilot projects. GOLDEN also provides ongoing training for the GOLD principal investigators, fosters collaborations among the projects, and helps get the word out to the research community about GOLD.At a time of growing concern about the lack of diversity in the geosciences as well as increased reports of sexual harassment in workplaces in general, Brinkworth said there is widespread support across the research community for GOLD's objectives."One of the encouraging things is there's a huge community of people working together to increase diversity and inclusion in the geosciences," Brinkworth said. "GOLD is helping to elevate the discussion to a higher level and will hopefully generate gains in diversity that can be sustained over a period of time."Generating new ideas with outside expertsThe GOLD program was conceived in 2016 as part of a suite of NSF initiatives focusing on increasing diversity and inclusion in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.To develop the best approaches for increasing diversity in the geosciences, NSF launched a relatively new funding mechanism called an "ideas lab" in March 2016. This intensive workshop brought together about 30 geoscientists, social scientists, and experts in change management to brainstorm multifaceted ways to foster a more inclusive atmosphere on multiple levels throughout the geosciences. The five resulting programs grew out of that lab, with each representing collaborations between institutions and teams comprised of geoscientists, broadening participation specialists, and social scientists."One key component to the success of the ideas lab was having social scientists and change management experts on equal footing with the geoscience practitioners," said Jones. "This is important for understanding cultural hurdles, like inherent biases, that have to be overcome to create an inclusive environment."The five pilot projects are:ASPIRE, or Active Societal Participation In Research and Education, which aims to cultivate a generation of geoscientists who can broaden participation, partly by emphasizing the social relevance of their fieldsFIELD, or Fieldwork Inspiring Expanded Leadership for Diversity, which focuses on making field experiences more diverse and inclusive, and thereby accessible to anyone with the motivation to take partGeoDES, or Geoscience Diversity Experiential Simulations, which provides professional development to geoscientists to increase their knowledge of prejudice and social justice issues and uses virtual simulations to train them on techniques to counteract prejudiceHearts of GOLD, which seeks to help develop champions for diversity by targeting established scientific leaders in the geosciences who have a history and interest in diversity, and providing them with professional development on the topicSparks for Change, which is an effort to increase the diversity of the geosciences by improving the culture of university departments and better supporting faculty from underrepresented populationsEach project has three to eight principal investigators from universities, UCAR, or other science or specialized training organizations."The success of the programs will come from creating a large network of people with the skills and confidence to be leaders in broadening participation," said Rebecca Batchelor, a principal investigator of the Sparks for Change project and director of UCAR's SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) program. "The goal is to develop both the next generation of geoscience leaders as well as a high number of champions for diversity."The projects, which have funding through 2019, will be evaluated carefully during the next year, Brinkworth said."We don't know the extent to which they have changed behavior yet, but we will be measuring this closely," she said. "There are going to be some great lessons learned from this."On the webGeoscience Opportunities for Leadership in DiversityA Sparks for Change workshop at UCAR in September 2017 drew about 30 participants. (Photo by Kendra Greb.)

UCAR statement on President Trump's budget proposal

Antonio Busalacchi, the president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), issued the following statement about the administration's budget proposal for fiscal year 2019:Today's budget proposal marks the formal starting point of a months-long process by the Trump administration and Congress to determine spending for the 2019 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. UCAR will work with its member universities and other partners in the Earth system science community to ensure that the government continues to invest in crucial research that saves lives and property, fosters economic growth, and strengthens our national security.Although Congress agreed last week to increase spending levels for this fiscal year and next, today's budget proposal from the administration contains significantly lower spending levels in some areas. While it is not yet clear what the government’s investment in science will be, UCAR’s message will not change. We believe it is essential that cuts do not occur in important research areas that could put U.S. scientific leadership at risk. The budget should also support the goals of the Weather Research and Forecasting Improvement Act, which the president signed into law last year to improve forecasts for business and public safety officials as well as the general public. As we saw last year, improved understanding of the atmosphere is crucial for our nation's resilience. The United States endured 16 weather and climate disasters in 2017 that each cost $1 billion or more in damages, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as devastating California wildfires, major tornado outbreaks, and floods. These events, which left hundreds dead, cost a combined total of more than $300 billion — setting a grim new annual record for the nation. Even routine weather events have an annual economic impact of hundreds of billions of dollars, affecting food production, transportation, supply chain management, consumer purchasing, and virtually every other economic sector. High in our atmosphere, space weather disturbances pose an ongoing threat to GPS systems, communications networks, power grids, and other technologies that are essential for U.S. military readiness and the everyday functioning of our society.Responding to these risks, scientists at government agencies, universities, and the multibillion-dollar private weather industry are successfully developing a new generation of observing instruments and computer models. We are gaining the ability to predict major atmospheric and related hazards weeks, months, or even more than a year in advance, providing needed intelligence to public safety, business, and military leaders. As rival nations make major investments into better understanding the Earth system, it is more imperative than ever to focus on this work and maintain U.S. preeminence.UCAR is extremely grateful to the bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate who voted for the Weather Research and Forecasting Improvement Act and who continue to support investments into research funding. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration over the coming months as they negotiate the details of next year’s budget. 

Investing in climate observations would generate major returns

November 14, 2017 | A major new paper by more than two dozen climate experts concludes that a well-designed climate observing system could deliver trillions of dollars in benefits while providing decision makers with the information they need in coming decades to protect public health and the economy."We are on the threshold of a new era in prediction, drawing on our knowledge of the entire Earth system to strengthen societal resilience to potential climate and weather disasters," said Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and one of the co-authors. "Strategic investments in observing technologies will pay for themselves many times over by protecting life and property, promoting economic growth, and providing needed intelligence to decision makers."Elizabeth Weatherhead, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the lead author of the new paper, published last week in Earth's Future. The co-authors include two scientists associated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research: Jeffrey Lazo and Kevin Trenberth.The scientists urge that investments focus on tackling seven grand challenges. These include predicting extreme weather and climate shifts, the role of clouds and circulation in regulating climate, regional sea level change and coastal impacts, understanding the consequences of melting ice, and feedback loops involving carbon cycling.For more about the paper, see the CIRES news release.

UCAR Congressional Briefing: Moving research to industry

WASHINGTON — Federally funded scientific advances are enabling the multibillion-dollar weather industry to deliver increasingly targeted forecasts to consumers and businesses, strengthening the economy and providing the nation with greater resilience to natural disasters, experts said today at a congressional briefing.The panel of experts, representing universities, federally funded labs, and the private sector, said continued government investment in advanced computer modeling, observing tools, and other basic research provides the foundation for improved forecasts.The nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) sponsored the briefing."Thanks to a quiet revolution in modern weather prediction, we can all use forecasts to make decisions in ways that wouldn't have been possible just 10 years ago," said Rebecca Morss, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and deputy director of the center's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Lab. "Now we are looking to the next revolution, which includes giving people longer lead times and communicating risk as effectively as possible."Fuqing Zhang, a professor of meteorology and statistics at Pennsylvania State University, highlighted the ways that scientists are advancing their understanding of hurricanes and other storms with increasingly detailed observations and computer modeling. Researchers at Penn State, for example, fed data from the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES-R satellite into NOAA's powerful FV3 model to generate an experimental forecast of Hurricane Harvey that simulated its track and intensity."The future of weather forecasting is very promising," said Zhang, who is also the director of the Penn State Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques.  "With strategic investments in observations, modeling, data assimilation, and supercomputing, we will see some remarkable achievements."Mary Glackin, director of science and forecast operations for The Weather Company, an IBM business, said the goal of the weather industry is to help consumers and businesses make better decisions, both by providing its own forecasts and by forwarding alerts from the National Weather Service. The Weather Company currently is adapting a powerful research weather model based at NCAR, the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS), for use in worldwide, real-time forecasts.The NCAR-based Model for Prediction Across Scales simulates the entire globe while enabling scientists to zoom in on areas of interest. It is one of the key tools for improving forecasts in the future. (©UCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) "We have a weather and climate enterprise that we can be extremely proud of as a nation, but it's not where it should be," Glackin said. "Weather affects every consumer and business, and the public-private partnership can play a pivotal role in providing better weather information that is critically needed."Antonio Busalacchi, president of UCAR, emphasized the benefits of partnerships across the academic, public, and private sectors. He said that research investments by the National Science Foundation, NOAA, and other federal agencies are critical for improving forecasts that will better protect vulnerable communities and strengthen the economy."These essential collaborations between government agencies, universities, and private companies are driving landmark advances in weather forecasting," Busalacchi said. "The investments that taxpayers are making in basic research are paying off many times over by keeping our nation safer and more prosperous."The briefing was the latest in a series of UCAR Congressional Briefings that draw on expertise from UCAR's university consortium and public-private partnerships to provide insights into critical topics in the Earth system sciences. Past briefings have focused on wildfires, predicting space weather, aviation weather safety, the state of the Arctic, hurricane prediction, potential impacts of El Niño, and new advances in water forecasting.

New approach to geoengineering simulations is significant step forward

BOULDER, Colo. — Using a sophisticated computer model, scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a new research approach to geoengineering could potentially be used to limit Earth’s warming to a specific target while reducing some of the risks and concerns identified in past studies, including uneven cooling of the globe.The scientists developed a specialized algorithm for an Earth system model that varies the amount and location of geoengineering — in this case, injections of sulfur dioxide high into the atmosphere — that would in theory be needed, year to year, to effectively cap warming. They caution, however, that more research is needed to determine if this approach would be practical, or even possible, in the real world.The findings from the new research, led by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Cornell University, represent a significant step forward in the field of geoengineering. Still, there are many questions that need to be answered about sulfur dioxide injections, including how this type of engineering might alter regional precipitation patterns and the extent to which such injections would damage the ozone layer. The possibility of a global geoengineering effort to combat warming also raises serious governance and ethical concerns."This is a major milestone and offers promise of what might be possible in the future,” said NCAR scientist Yaga Richter, one of the lead authors. “But it is just the beginning; there is a lot more research that needs to be done."Past modeling studies have typically sought to answer the question "What happens if we do geoengineering?" The results of those studies have described the outcomes — both positive and negative — of injecting a predetermined amount of sulfates into the atmosphere, often right at Earth's equator. But they did not attempt to specify the outcome they hoped to achieve at the outset.In a series of new studies, the researchers turned the question around, instead asking, "How might geoengineering be used to meet specific climate objectives?""We have really shifted the question, and by doing so, found that we can better understand what geoengineering may be able to achieve," Richter said.The research findings are detailed in a series of papers published in a special issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres.Mimicking a volcanoIn theory, geoengineering — large-scale interventions designed to modify the climate — could take many forms, from launching orbiting solar mirrors to fertilizing carbon-hungry ocean algae. For this research, the team studied one much-discussed approach: injecting sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, above the cloud layer.The idea of combating global warming with these injections is inspired by history's most massive volcanic eruptions. When volcanoes erupt, they loft sulfur dioxide high into the atmosphere, where it's chemically converted into light-scattering sulfate particles called aerosols. These sulfates, which can linger in the atmosphere for a few years, are spread around the Earth by stratospheric winds, forming a reflective layer that cools the planet.To mimic these effects, sulfur dioxide could be injected directly into the stratosphere, perhaps with the help of high-flying aircraft. But while the injections would counter global warming, they would not address all the problems associated with climate change, and they would likely have their own negative side effects.For example, the injections would not offset ocean acidification, which is linked directly to carbon dioxide emissions. Geoengineering also could result in significant disruptions in rainfall patterns as well as delays in healing the ozone hole. Moreover, once geoengineering began, if society wanted to avoid a rapid and drastic increase in temperature, the injections would need to continue until mitigation efforts were sufficient to cap warming on their own.There would also likely be significant international governance challenges that would have to be overcome before a geoengineering program could be implemented."For decision makers to accurately weigh the pros and cons of geoengineering against those of human-caused climate change, they need more information," said PNNL scientist Ben Kravitz, also a lead author of the studies. "Our goal is to better understand what geoengineering can do — and what it cannot."Modeling the complex chemistryFor the new studies, the scientists used the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model with its extended atmospheric component, the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. WACCM includes detailed chemistry and physics of the upper atmosphere and was recently updated to simulate stratospheric aerosol evolution from source gases, including geoengineering."It was critical for this study that our model be able to accurately capture the chemistry in the atmosphere so we could understand how quickly sulfur dioxide would be converted into aerosols and how long those aerosols would stick around," said NCAR scientist Michael Mills, also a lead author. "Most global climate models do not include this interactive atmospheric chemistry.”The scientists also significantly improved how the model simulates tropical stratospheric winds, which change direction every few years. Accurately representing these winds is critical to understanding how aerosols are blown around the planet.The scientists successfully tested their model by seeing how well it could simulate the massive 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, including the amount and rate of aerosol formation, as well as how those aerosols were transported around the globe and how long they stayed in the atmosphere.Then the scientists began to explore the impacts of injecting sulfur dioxide at different latitudes and altitudes. From past studies, the scientists knew that sulfates injected only at the equator affect Earth unevenly: over-cooling the tropics and under-cooling the poles. This is especially problematic since climate change is warming the Arctic at a faster rate. Climate change is also causing the Northern Hemisphere to warm more quickly than the Southern Hemisphere.The researchers used the model to study 14 possible injection sites at seven different latitudes and two different altitudes — something never before tried in geoengineering research. They found that they could spread the cooling more evenly across the globe by choosing injection sites on either side of the equator.The simulations on the left represent how global temperatures are expected to change if greenhouse gas emissions continue on a "business as usual" trajectory. The simulations on the right show how temperature could be stabilized in a model by injecting sulfur dioxide high into the atmosphere at four separate locations. Because greenhouse gases are being emitted at the same rate in the simulations on the left and the right, stopping geoengineering would result in a drastic spike in global temperatures. (©UCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)  Meeting multiple objectivesThe researchers then pieced together all their work into a single model simulation with specific objectives: to limit average global warming to 2020 levels through the end of the century and to minimize the difference in cooling between the equator and the poles as well as between the northern and southern hemispheres.They gave the model four choices of injection sites — at 15 degrees and 30 degrees North and South in latitude — and then implemented an algorithm that determines, for each year, the best injection sites and the quantity of sulfur dioxide needed at those sites. The model's ability to reformulate the amount of geoengineering needed each year, based on that year's conditions, also allowed the simulation to respond to natural fluctuations in the climate.The model successfully kept the surface temperatures near 2020 levels against a background of increasing greenhouse gas emissions that would be consistent with a business-as-usual scenario. The algorithm’s ability to choose injection sites cooled the Earth more evenly than in previous studies, because it could inject more sulfur dioxide in regions that were warming too quickly and less in areas that had over-cooled.However, by the end of the century, the amount of sulfur dioxide that would need to be injected each year to offset human-caused global warming would be enormous: almost five times the amount spewed into the air by Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991.Flipping the research question"The results demonstrate that it is possible to flip the research question that's been guiding geoengineering studies and not just explore what geoengineering does but see it as a design problem,” said Doug MacMartin, a scientist at Cornell and the California Institute of Technology. “When we see it in that light, we can then start to develop a strategy for how to meet society’s objectives."In the current series of studies, adjusting the geoengineering plan just once a year allowed the researchers to keep the average global temperature to 2020 levels in a given year, but regional temperatures — as well as seasonal temperature changes — were sometimes cooler or hotter than desired. So next steps could include exploring the possibility of making more frequent adjustments at a different choice of injection locations.The scientists are already working on a new study to help them understand the possible impacts geoengineering might have on regional phenomena, such as the Asian monsoons."We are still a long way from understanding all the interactions in the climate system that could be triggered by geoengineering, which means we don’t yet understand the full range of possible side effects," said NCAR scientist Simone Tilmes, a lead author. "But climate change also poses risks. Continuing research into geoengineering is critical to assess benefits and side effects and to inform decision makers and society."The research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.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 or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.About the papers:Titles:Radiative and chemical response to interactive stratospheric sulfate aerosols in fully coupled CESM1(WACCM), DOI: 10.1002/2017JD027006Sensitivity of aerosol distribution and climate response to stratospheric SO2 injection locations, DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026888Stratospheric Dynamical Response and Ozone Feedbacks in the Presence of SO2 Injections, DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026912The climate response to stratospheric aerosol geoengineering can be tailored using multiple injection locations, DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026868First simulations of designing stratospheric sulfate aerosol geoengineering to meet multiple simultaneous climate objectives, DOI: 10.1002/2017JD026874Authors: B. Kravitz, D. MacMartin, M. J. Mills, J. H. Richter, and S. TilmesCo-authors: F. Vitt, J. J. Tribbia, J.-F. LamarqueJournal: Journal of Geophysical Research – AtmospheresData access: All the data from the experiments are available on the Earth System Gridathttps://www.earthsystemgrid.org/dataset/ucar.cgd.ccsm4.so2_geoeng.htmlorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.5065/D6X63KMM and https://www.earthsystemgrid.org/dataset/ucar.cgd.ccsm4.so2_ctl_fb.html orhttp://dx.doi.org/10.5065/D6PC313T.Writer:Laura Snider, Senior Science Writer

UCAR statement on nomination of Barry Myers to head NOAA

BOULDER, Colo. — The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congratulates Barry Myers on his nomination as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).Myers is CEO of AccuWeather and a leader of the American weather industry. He lent important support for the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, which emphasizes subseasonal to seasonal weather prediction — a priority for business and community leaders who need more reliable forecasts of weather patterns weeks to months in advance.His nomination, announced today by the White House, comes at a critical time as the United States works to strengthen its resilience to severe weather events and regain global leadership in the field of weather prediction."From my years of working with Barry, I know he appreciates the importance of re-establishing U.S. preeminence in weather prediction," said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. "I look forward to hearing Barry’s plans to improve weather forecasting through partnerships among government agencies, private companies, and the university community. As we have seen from the recent hurricanes, timely and accurate forecasts are critical for evacuating residents and protecting lives and property, as well as strengthening our economy and safeguarding national security.”In addition to running the National Weather Service, NOAA engages in weather and climate research and operates weather satellites and a national environmental data center. The agency also works to better understand and protect the nation's coasts, oceans, and fisheries.  

UCAR statement on nomination of Walter Copan to head NIST

BOULDER, Colo. — The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congratulates Walter Copan on his nomination as undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).Copan, an expert in technology transfer and intellectual property, is president and CEO of Colorado-based Intellectual Property Engineering Group. He previously served at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and at Brookhaven National Laboratory, leading technology commercialization and R&D partnerships."Walt is a widely respected scientist, innovator, and administrator with extensive experience in moving research to the market where it can benefit society," said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. "His knowledge of weather, climate, and space weather will foster new areas of cooperation between NIST and the Earth system science community."NIST is a measurement standards laboratory that promotes innovation and industrial competitiveness. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidance to organizations on reducing cybersecurity risks.UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related sciences.

UCAR statement on nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA

BOULDER, Colo. — The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congratulates U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine on his nomination to serve as administrator of NASA.Bridenstine, a pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve and former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, won election to Congress in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District. As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, he has played a leading role in supporting weather research, including passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017."In the two times I testified before his congressional committees, it became quite apparent to me that Rep. Bridenstine is a true champion for the weather community,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “We appreciate his deep understanding of the importance of improved weather prediction for the U.S. economy and national security, as well as for protecting lives and property. As someone who worked for NASA for 18 years, I look forward to Rep. Bridenstine's confirmation hearings and learning about his plans for the agency, including his support of Earth observations and research that are so essential for understanding our planet's weather and climate."In addition to running the nation's civilian space program, NASA operates a fleet of satellites and observation campaigns to learn more about our planet through the Earth Observing System. Its research also focuses on advancing understanding of the Sun, solar system, and the universe.UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences.

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