Staff Notes Daily Announcements

An International Collaborative for NextGen Modeling of Human and Earth Systems

C. Michael Barton,   Arizona State University
Director, Center for Social Dynamics & Complexity 
Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Head, Graduate Faculty in Complex Adaptive Systems Science

The world today is no longer one governed by "natural" processes, in which humans have variable impacts. The dynamics of Earth's critical zone are now driven by tightly coupled human and biophysical processes at scales spanning the microscopic to global. For over half a century, increasingly sophisticated numerical and computational modeling has provided us insights into the complex interactions natural process that make up the Earth system, insights that we cannot gain through our innate, intuitive capacity. Model sophistication has come at the expense of adding to legacy code of first generation monolithic models that have become increasingly difficult to validate, understand, or run today.  

It is clear that we must now extend our modeling efforts to include human social and technological systems. Yet adding the code needed to do this to large, legacy first generation models is impractical, expensive, and will make them even more difficult to validate or understand. We need an approach to modeling that mirrors and benefits from the architecture of the complexly coupled systems we hope to model. Such an approach employs an ecosystem of models that can be connected to each other as needed, in multiple ways. This enables a more flexible, multi-scale modeling environment to help address diverse issues. It is more scalable than monolithic first generation models, based on smaller, focused, component models that are easier to understand and validate.   

Over the past two years, an expanding group of human and earth system modelers have been meeting to create the conceptual and technical framework for such an architecture--one that can enable the development of next generation modeling of coupled human and Earth systems. I will update you on these efforts, and hope to stimulate an open discussion as well as challenge you to contribute to this initiative as it moves forward.

2-3 pm Tuesday  August 1, 2017, NCAR FL2-3107

Posted by Jessica Johnson at ext. 2751,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Novel Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network for Ocean and Weather Forecasting
Robert Firth

Numerical weather prediction is a computationally expensive task that requires not only the numerical solution to a complex set of non-linear partial differential equations, but also the creation of a parameterization scheme to estimate sub-grid scale phenomenon.

The proposed method is an alternative approach to developing a mesoscale meteorological model – a modified recurrent convolutional neural network that learns to simulate the solution to these equations. Along with an appropriate time integration scheme and learning algorithm, this method can be used to create multi-day forecasts for a large region. The learning method presented is an extended form of Backpropagation Through Time for a recurrent network with outputs that feed back through as inputs only after undergoing a fixed transformation.

An initial implementation of this approach has been created that forecasts for 2,744 locations across the southeastern United States at 36 vertical levels of the atmosphere, and 119,000 locations across the Atlantic Ocean at 39 vertical levels. These models, called LM3 and LOM, forecast wind speed, temperature, geopotential height, and rainfall for weather forecasting and water current speed, temperature, and salinity for ocean forecasting.

A method for implementing this approach using TensorFlow will also be discussed. 

Dr. Firth received his B.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2016) in computer science from Louisiana State University, where he researched the use of recurrent convolutional neural networks to forecast the ocean and atmosphere. His research interests include meteorology, machine learning, and quantum computing. He is currently a software engineer in the private sector.

Friday, August 25th, 2017
10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Mesa Lab, Main Seminar Room

Posted by Michelle Patton at ext. 1253,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Friday, August 25, 2017

Currently on display in the Mesa Lab Library is a special issue of Computers and Fluids, dedicated to Cecil E. (Chuck) Leith, in honor of his research contributions and leadership in the areas of statistical fluid mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, and climate theory. Chuck joined the staff of the NCAR Advanced Study Program as a senior scientist. He became the director of the Atmospheric Analysis and Prediction division in 1977 and was the director of NCAR’s Climate division from 1978 until 1982. 

Posted by Michael Flanagan at ext. 1180,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Friday, July 28, 2017

Exciting news! A secured, indoor bicycle parking facility is now available at Mesa Lab. The room features parking capacity for over 30 bikes, as well as a self-service repair station with tools and a pump. The room location is ML042E on Floor 2B. Check it out and let us know what you think at! Thanks for riding! 

Posted by Chelsea Castellano at ext. 8549,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Friday, July 28, 2017

UNEION 101 is an opportunity to join colleagues from across NCAR|UCAR to share, learn, and talk about topics related to diversity and inclusion. This four part, introductory, training series provides opportunities for participants to discuss ways in which various identities can impact our experiences in society and the workplace. Topics include: individual identity & our place in society, gender, race, and bystander intervention. There will be about 2-3 hours of pre-session preparation for each training session. 

UNEION 101 will take place from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday, August 8, Tuesday, September 12, Tuesday, October 17, and Tuesday, November 7. 

You must register for ALL FOUR sessions in order to participate- the sessions are  under the general title "UNEION". Be sure to registrer for the courses with PRO144, PRO145, PRO146, and PRO 147 in the titles. 

For more inforamtion please visit the UNEION page on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion website or contact Kristen Luna Aponte (

Target audience: Open to all NCAR|UCAR employees (who have not already completed UNEION 101) interested in learning more about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and who are willing to approach these topics with an open mind and willingness to be challend and consider alternative viewpoints. Attendance at all four sessions is mandatory as the sessions build on each other. Please DO NOT sign up if you are unable to attend ALL FOUR sessions. 

Posted by Kristen Luna Aponte at ext. 1657,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 to Wednesday, August 2, 2017

On Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, a process will be implemented to synchronize a user’s CIT password to G Suite whenever they change their CIT password. There's a very small number of people this will affect.

*** No user action is required. ***

This will resolve some instances where mail clients or devices are still authenticating to Google using a user’s UCAS password. If you currently have an application authenticating to Google using your UCAS password, the next time you change your CIT password you will need to update that application with your new CIT password.

This is another step in the Identity and Access Management (IAM) project to require fewer passwords, reduce staff frustration with entering multiple passwords over the course of a day’s work, and enable easier collaboration with partner  organizations.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Lab or Program IT Help Desk.

Posted by Nick Wehrheim at ext. 1374,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 to Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Software engineers from NCAR, NOAA, NREL, UCAR, and other institutions are invited to attend a free, one-day training session on Intel Parallel Studio from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16.

Topics to be covered include Intel’s performance and threading analysis tools as well as Intel MPI, cluster tools, Python distribution, and Intel libraries. A detailed agenda is available here.

Intel staff members will provide the training at the Foothills Lab (FL2-1022) in Boulder. Please register here to attend, either in person or by webcast. The training will not be recorded. 

Posted by B.J. Smith at ext. 1273,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 to Thursday, August 17, 2017

These new acquisitions will be displayed at each NCAR Library location for one week, first at FL Library and then at ML Library. If you have questions regarding the items or want to suggest additions to the library collection, please contact the NCAR Library at or ext. 8505.

Ocean Studies, 2nd edition
Editor: Joseph M. Moran
Publisher: AMS
Location: FL Library
Call Number: GC 11.2 O24 2008

Deep Learning
Authors: Ian Goodfellow and others
Publisher: MIT Press
Location: ML Library
Call Number: QA 325.5 .G66 2016

Python Data Visualization Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Authors: Igor Milovanovic and others
Publisher: Packt
Location: ML Library
Call Number: QA 76.73 .P98 M55 2015

Python Machine Learning by Example
Author: Yuxi Liu
Publisher: Packt
Location: ML Library
Call Number: QA 76.73 .P98 L783 2017

Posted by NCAR Library at ext. 8505,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 to Monday, July 31, 2017

Parents’ Night Out is a great opportunity for you and your significant other to go out to dinner and a movie!

Contact Stephanie Ivancic, Director of KinderCare Learning Center at UCAR, to sign your child up from 6 pm - 8 pm ($30 for one child or $40 for two children) or 6 pm - 10 pm ($50 for one child and $60 for two children).

Children are welcome to wear their pajamas for a fun evening of movies and pizza! If your child has a video that he or she would like to share, bring it along! Please make sure it is labeled and let the fun begin! Siblings under the age of 7 are welcome, too.

We invite all UCAR employees to take advantage of this fun evening as your child does not need to be enrolled at the KinderCare Learning Center at UCAR to partake! 

Mark your calendars for future dates:   FridaySeptember 1, 15 & 29; October 13 & 27; November 10: December 1 & 15.

Please contact Stephanie Ivancic for enrollment as well as drop-in care rates.  Stephanie’s email address is sivancic@cclc.comand her phone number is 303-443-5595.

Posted by Laurie Carr at ext. 8702,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 to Friday, August 18, 2017

A free seminar series presented by the Pre-Retirement Planning Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization specializing in financial planning and pre-retirement counseling services, will begin on August 4.  Combining elements of both financial planning and pre-retirement planning, the series is offered in five, mini-session modules. Participants can choose to attend one or all sessions depending on interest.  At the end of each session module, participants may request to schedule private, consultation services with the certified financial professionals (paid by participants).  Employee spouses/partners are welcome and encouraged to attend.  Each module session requires a minimum of 10 participants.

To enroll, access the Connect Employee Self-Service Web site using the link below, click on the "EOD Training Catalog" link.  To see all of these sessions at once, "Select Course Type" as "Informational" and click "Display".


UCAR Benefits, TIAA Retirement Planning Resources
August 4, 2017
12:00-2:00 pm MST
FL2 – 1001 or Webcast
Overview - Learn about UCAR's retirement benefits including the TIAA retirement program and how to maximize their value. 

Empowerment of Income Protection Planning & Social Security
August 11, 2017
12:00-2:00 pm MST and Webcast
Overview – During the first part of this session, you will learn whether your family and income is properly protected and empowered.  Also learn about Social Security Benefits.

Financial Planning & Investments
August 18, 2017
12:00-2:00 pm MST (no Webcast due to state licensing issues)
Overview - Discover the benefits of financial planning and different types of investment options.

Medicare Basics
August 25, 2017
12:00-2:00 pm MST and Webcast
CG1 – Room 2126
Overview - Gain a better understanding of Medicare, what is and isn't covered, how to register, and review various plan options.

Estate Planning and Housing/Transitions
September 1, 2017
12:00-2:00 pm MST and Webcast
Overview - Learn key elements of Estate Planning and what to expect in the work-to-retirement transition.

Posted by Laurie Carr at ext. 8702,

Monday, July 24, 2017 to Monday, July 31, 2017