UCAR President's Office

UCAR Town Hall - Update on Activities and Q & A

This is one of two All-Staff Town Halls on 11/30:

Mesa Lab, 12:30-1:30 PM in the Main Seminar Room.

There will be a second Town Hall this afternoon at Foothills Lab 2 at 2:00-3:00 p.m.

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.

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.

UCAR statement on nomination of Timothy Gallaudet

BOULDER, Colo. — The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congratulates Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet, a former oceanographer of the Navy, on his nomination to assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. In that position, Gallaudet will serve as the second-in-command at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Gallaudet, who also served as commander of the Navy’s Meteorology and Oceanography Command, is a 32-year Navy veteran. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography."Tim's mixture of operational expertise and scientific knowledge make him an ideal choice for this position," said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. "His understanding of the vital collaborations between NOAA, private forecasting companies, and the academic community can help foster the movement of research to operational forecasting and advance the nation's weather prediction capabilities. Furthermore, his knowledge of Earth system science and his ability to align that science with budget and programs will be essential to moving NOAA forward in the next few years."NOAA runs the National Weather Services, engages in weather and climate research, and operates weather satellites and a climate data center. The agency also works to better understand and protect the nation's coasts, oceans, and fisheries.UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related sciences.

NCAR|UCAR hurricane experts available to explain storm behavior, potential impacts

BOULDER, Colo. — As Hurricane Harvey takes aim at Texas, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its managing organization, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), are closely watching the storm and testing high-resolution computer models.Hurricane experts are available to explain issues such as:How we can better predict the possible impacts of hurricanes, including wind damage, flooding, and subsequent spread of disease-bearing mosquitoes;How people respond to hurricane forecast and warning messages and how risk communication can be improvedWhether climate change is affecting hurricanes and what we can expect in the future;The importance of improving weather models to safeguard life and property.Antonio Busalacchi, UCAR president (please contact David Hosansky for interview requests)An expert on ocean-atmosphere interactions, Busalacchi has testified before Congress on the importance of improving the nation's weather forecasting capabilities to better protect life and property, bolster the economy, and strengthen national security. He has firsthand experience with storms along the Gulf Coast as a part-time New Orleans resident, and he is a member of the Gulf Research Program Advisory Board of the National Academy of Sciences.Christopher Davis, director, NCAR Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory, cdavis@ucar.edu, 303-497-8990Davis studies the weather systems that lead to hurricanes and other heavy rainfall events. His expertise includes hurricane prediction and how computer models can be improved to better forecast storms. His NCAR weather lab is running experimental computer simulations of Hurricane Harvey.James Done, NCAR scientist, done@ucar.edu, 303-497-8209Done led development of the innovative Cyclone Damage Potential (CDP) index, which quantifies a hurricane's ability to cause destruction, using a scale of 1 to 10. It can also be used to examine the damage potential for cyclones in the future as the climate warms.David Gochis, NCAR scientist, gochis@ucar.edu, 303-497-2809An expert in hydrometeorology, Gochis studies the causes of floods and how to better predict them. He helped develop pioneering software that is at the core of the National Water Model. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Water Prediction uses this model to provide a continuous picture of all the waterways in the contiguous United States and alert officials to potentially dangerous floods.Matthew Kelsch, UCAR hydrometeorologist, kelsch@ucar.edu, 303-497-8309Kelsch has studied some of the biggest U.S. flood events connected to hurricanes and tropical storms. He trains scientists and forecasters from around the world on emerging hydrology and weather topics.Rebecca Morse, NCAR scientist, morss@ucar.edu, 303-497-8172Morss studies the predictability of hurricane-related hazards, including storm surge and inland flooding, and hurricane and flood risk communication and evauation decision making.Kevin Trenberth, NCAR senior scientist, trenbert@ucar.edu, 303-497-1318Trenberth is an expert on the global climate system. He has been in the forefront of scientists examining the potential influence of climate change on the intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes and the increased widespread flooding that they cause.Jeff Weber, UCAR meteorologist, jweber@ucar.edu, 303-497-8676As an expert on hurricanes and severe weather in general, Weber closely monitors the behavior of individual storms and the larger atmospheric and oceanic conditions that influence them.

A Farewell to Susan Montgomery-Hodge, Executive Assistant to the UCAR President

Please join the UCAR President's office in bidding a fond farewell to Susan Montgomery-Hodge, whose final day with UCAR is Monday, August 7.  We will celebrate Susan's 30 years of dedication to this organization serving as the Executive Assistant to the President.  The celebration will happen in the Damon Room at the Mesa Lab, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Monday, August 7, so we hope you will join us for food, drink and to wish Susan well.

Michael Farrar joins UCAR leadership

BOULDER, Colo. — The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has named Michael Farrar as its senior vice president/chief operating officer.In this newly created role, Farrar will be responsible for strengthening the organization's efforts in research, education, innovation, and outreach, ensuring that UCAR delivers the highest quality services to its staff and to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). UCAR manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation."UCAR's primary mission is to be an exemplary steward of the National Science Foundation's investment in NCAR," said UCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi. "Mike's leadership experience in the National Weather Service, the U.S. Air Force, the private sector, and beyond has equipped him with the skills we need to ensure that UCAR delivers on this mission. Mike is a highly respected leader in the weather community. His familiarity with NCAR and UCAR mean he can hit the ground running. I look forward to the contributions he will make to our organization."Michael Farrar. (Photo courtesy NOAA.)Farrar comes to the organization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he has worked since 2012. He currently serves as the director of the Environmental Modeling Center at NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), where he oversees 175 staff and more than 20 environmental models that are foundational to NWS forecast operations. Prior NOAA appointments include acting deputy director of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, director of the NWS Meteorological Development Lab, and chief of the Program Management Branch in the NWS Office of Science and Technology.Earlier in his career, Farrar served in the U.S. Air Force, where he commanded a 110-person unit responsible for 24/7 weather operations support. After completing the executive leadership program at the Department of Defense's National Defense University, he managed a DOD program charged with sponsoring basic and applied research, largely carried out at dozens of universities, in physical science, mathematics, engineering, and social science. He retired from the Air Force in 2010 with the rank of colonel.

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