UCAR Annual Outstanding Accomplishment Award Nominations

Listed below are the UCAR 2013 Outstanding Accomplishment Award Nominations.  Please note that if there was only one nomination received in a particular category, that single nomination will not be included below. 

We hope you will join us on Friday, December 6th beginning at 3:00 pm for the all-staff annual Holiday party.  The Trouble With Dr. T band will start the festivities.  The honoring of our external award winners will follow, after which the announcement of the winners for these internal UCAR annual awards will be made. 

And don't forget the fabulous food our Events Services will be dishing up.  The Nasal Ridge Pickers will be entertaining in the lobby, and Elite Entertainment will provide music in the auditorium.   Please plan on attending and bringing your family.  You won't want to miss this special event.


Publication Nominations

Jean-François Lamarque (ACD), G. Page Kyle (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Maryland), Malte Meinshausen (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany), Keywan Riahi (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria), Steven J. Smith (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Maryland), Detlef P. van Vuuren (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Bilthoven, Netherlands), Andrew J. Conley (ACD), and Francis Vitt (ACD).

Lamarque, J-F, G. P. Kyle, M. Meinshausen, K. Riahi, S. Smith, D.P. van Vuuren, A. Conley, F. Vitt, 2011:  Global and regional evolution of short-lived radiatively-active gases and aerosols in the Representative Concentration Pathways. Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0155-0.

Using chemistry-climate simulations based on the recently defined scenarios of future greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions, the paper shows projections for 2100 of surface ozone (a strong pollutant) that are very similar to present-day conditions. Aerosol levels are projected to drop below 1950s levels, while nitrogen deposition (and its influence on the carbon cycle) will rise due to the increased use of fertilizers to feed an increasing world population. The findings are in stark contrast with the previously published projections of air quality and nitrogen deposition. It came together as the result of a multi-year collaboration between economists, climate and chemistry modelers. This unique group of scientists was able to tackle the challenge of providing such projections to the climate, atmospheric chemistry and air quality communities; this is already demonstrated by the ISI citation rate (38 times in less than 2 years).

Thomas Garlarneau (MMM) and Chris Davis (MMM).

Galarneau, T. J., Jr., and C. A. Davis, 2013: Diagnosing forecast errors in tropical cyclone motion. Monthly Weather Review, 141, 405–430.

As exemplified by Hurricane Sandy, predicting the track and timing of landfalling hurricanes (more generally, landfalling tropical cyclones) is critical for providing timely and accurate warnings to the public. While the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts has improved steadily over the past four decades, such improvements have occurred largely as a byproduct of overall improvements in global weather prediction.  But weather prediction models still make errors, sometimes by hundreds of kilometers, in predicting hurricane position more than two or three days in advance. These inaccuracies hinder efficient evacuations and plans to minimize damage to infrastructure.  But what causes forecast errors, and how can we use that information to improve prediction models that society relies on? Galarneau and Davis (2013) developed an original diagnostic method for quantifying the phenomena responsible for forecast errors in storm track. The method is founded on the notion that errors in storm motion at relatively short lead times (12-48h) lead to large position errors at later times. The paper is notable for its clarity, originality, practicality, and considerable insight into factors that contribute to errors in hurricane storm track.

Julie Demuth (NCAR/RAL), Rebecca Morss (NCAR/MMM), Betty Hearn Morrow (SocResearch, Miami, FL), and Jeff Lazo (NCAR/RAL).

Demuth, J.L., R.E. Morss, B. Hearn Morrow, and J.K. Lazo, 2012:  Creation and Communication of Hurricane Risk Information. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93(8), 1133-1145.

This work represents an important effort to connect the forecast community that generates high-impact weather warnings, the emergency management community that uses these warnings to determine protective response actions, and the media who deliver the risk, warning, and response action information to the public to save lives and property. In doing so, this effort fully embraces an institutional imperative set forth in the new NCAR Strategic Plan: "Integrate the physical and social sciences to provide meaningful, useable information on the societal impacts of and vulnerabilities to climate change ...and improve the communication of risk and uncertainty to a diverse population." In their article, Demuth et al. outline the complex interactions among components of the United States hurricane warning system and elucidate the challenges in communicating risk through an effective partnership. This paper identifies concepts that researchers may have observed or thought of, and it ties those ideas together in a novel, coherent way of explaining the warning system. The study clearly reveals that collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, and between researchers and practitioners, is needed to understand and improve the translation and communication of weather threats into risk­ reduction actions.

Clara Deser (CGD), Reto Knutti (ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science), Susan Solomon (MIT), and Adam Phillips (CGD)

Deser, C., R. Knutti, S. Solomon, and A. S. Phillips, 2012: Communication of the role of natural variability in future North American climate. Nat. Clim. Change, 2, 775-779, doi: 10.1038/nclimate1562.

The co-existence of natural decadal climate variability and human-induced climate change poses great challenges for the understanding and prediction of regional climate in the coming decades. Deser et al. (2012) present a concise, accessible and insightful analysis of this topic based on a unique set of climate model simulations that allows, for the first time, a clear separation of natural and anthropogenic influences on future climate. In particular, they delineate the range of possible future climate states for North America in the next 50 years resulting from the superposition of unpredictable decadal variability and human-induced climate change. Their results have broad applicability to other regions of the globe and time horizons. Although the subjects of natural decadal climate variability and anthropogenic climate change are well known to the broad atmospheric sciences community, they have generally been considered in isolation. A key contribution of the Deser et al. (2012) paper was to bring these two aspects of climate together in a unified treatment, offering a new perspective on how to assess climate change projections across different models.

Stephen A. Cohn (EOL), Vanda Grubišić (EOL), and William O. J. Brown (EOL).

Cohn, S.A., V. Grubisic, W.O.J. Brown, 2011:  Wind profiler observations of mountain waves and rotors during T-REX.  Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 50, 826-843.

Atmospheric rotors are traditionally described as intense low-level horizontal vortices that form along an axis parallel to and downstream of a mountain ridge in association with large-amplitude stationary mountain lee waves. Rotors are commonly associated with very high levels of turbulence and are of practical importance because they pose a considerable hazard to general aviation and occasionally cause commercial aviation accidents. The Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX)’s investigators assembled a wide array of instruments – including a deployable and reconfigurable network of three radar wind profilers, a Doppler sodar, and an advanced research aircraft. The assembled instruments and platforms enabled measurements pertaining to the genesis and physical characteristics of rotors; and their dynamical relationship to mountain waves and boundary-layer circulations. High-resolution measurements from the wind profilers – some using an innovative “spaced-antenna” technique – are critical because they provide an unprecedented fine-scale view of rotor internal circulations. The observations reveal a rare wealth of circulations, in and around rotors, heretofore absent from the observational literature. The full T-REX instrument array enabled discovery of similar interior circulations, notably rotors filled with smaller-scale vortices, or “subrotors”. The three wind profilers in a network configuration diagnosed the three and four dimensional aspects of mountain wave characteristics such as the horizontal wavelength and changes of the wavelength over time. Such an analysis is both unprecedented and serves as a powerful demonstration for future mountain wave studies.

Bruce Lites (HAO), Masahito Kubo (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Hector Socas-Navarro (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), Thomas Berger (National Solar Observatory), Zoe Frank (Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory), Richard Shine (Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory), Ted Tarbell (Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory), Alan Title (Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory), Kiyoshi Ichimoto (Kyoto University), Yukio Katsukawa (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Saku Tsuneta (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Yoshinori Sematsu (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), Toshifumi Shimizu (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science), and Shinich Nagata (Kyoto University).

Lites B.W., M. Kubo, H. Socas-Navarro, T. Berger, Z. Frank, R. Shine, T. Tarbell, A. Title, K. Ichimoto, Y. Katsukawa, S. Tsuneta, Y. Suematsu, T. Shimizu, S. Nagata, 2008: The Horizontal Magnetic Flux of the Quiet-Sun Internetwork as Observed with the Hinode Spectro-Polarimeter, The Astrophysical Journal, 672:1237-1253.

Solar magnetism is key to understanding solar activity and variability. This highly cited paper overturned 40 years of accepted wisdom regarding the nature of the magnetic field as it emerges through the surface of the Sun (the photosphere).  The paper presents a very careful analysis and a deeply insightful physical interpretation of a series of observations performed by Bruce Lites, senior scientist, High Altitude Observatory (HAO), and colleagues, using the Solar Optical Telescope Spectro-Polarimeter (SOT/SP) on board the Hinode spacecraft.  These observations have demonstrated incontrovertibly for the first time the ubiquitous presence of large-scale horizontal magnetic fields in the quiet Sun photosphere.  This result has important implications for our understanding of the emergence of magnetic flux through the solar photosphere, its connection with the convection-driven local dynamo at the solar surface, and for the study of the dynamics and energetics of the entire solar atmosphere, from the lower photosphere, through the chromosphere, and into the solar corona.

Education and Outreach Nominations

Janice Kauvar (CISL, posthumous), Rich Loft (CISL), Marijke Unger (CISL), Susan Cross (CISL), Stephanie Barr (CISL), Kristin Mooney (CISL), Jim Vandyke (CISL), Teri Eastburn (Spark), Marc Mueller (Spark), Brian Bevirt (CISL), Tim Barnes (Spark), Bryan Shader (University of Wyoming), and Lucie Osborn (Laramie County Library).

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) project was the result of a partnership among several entities, spanning the private sector, state government, academic institutions, non-profits, and NCAR/UCAR, with the sponsorship and support of the National Science Foundation. The NSF, our Wyoming-based partners, and NCAR all understood from the beginning that the NWSC project presented a unique opportunity, as one of the largest facilities of its kind in an EPSoR state, to perform a truly transformational educational and community relations role, in addition to serving its scientific mission.  An integrated public visitor program (PVP) that encompasses both the NWSC site in Cheyenne, Wyoming and NCAR's Mesa Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, as well as a traveling NCAR interpretive display was created.  Implementing the integrated PVP involved designing displays, creating content and overseeing construction for the NWSC Visitor Center on a tight, six-month timeline, building a cross-cutting EO collaboration between CISL, NCAR, UCAR Spark, the Wyoming State EPSCoR Office, the University of Wyoming, and other Wyoming educators, and using that collaboration to create integrated programmatic elements around that exhibit. Not only was the project completed on time and on budget, but the PVP results have exceeded expectations - as of September 2013, the exhibit has hosted nearly 3,000 visitors, including over 20 student groups and 33 non-student groups in the 11 months since the facility's Grand Opening in October 2012.

Joan Burkepile (HAO), Don Kolinski (HAO), Mark Miesch (HAO), Becca Hatheway (Spark), Linda Carbone (formerly UCAR E&O), Greg Card (HAO), Rebecca Centeno Elliott (HAO), Yuhong Fan (HAO), Ben Foster (HAO), Susan Foster (formerly UCAR E&O), Sarah Gibson (HAO), Alice Lecinski (HAO), Gang Lu (HAO), Ron Lull (HAO), Dave Maddy (UCAR Facilities Management & Sustainability), Astrid Maute (HAO), Art Richmond (HAO), and Randy Russell (Spark).

This nomination recognizes the outstanding efforts by a team of scientists and staff at the High Altitude Observatory (HAO), the UCAR Science Education program Spark, and the UCAR Facilities Management & Sustainability (FM&S) department to design, build, and display the HAO mural and the Sun-Earth Connections exhibit at the Mesa Laboratory. Since its inauguration in the fall of 2011, the Sun­ Earth Connections exhibit has attracted thousands of visitors of various ages. The exhibit is now a focal point of NCAR/UCAR education and public outreach tours. Behind the colorful mural, shining graphic panels, touch screens, and interactives are the commitment and dedication of the nominees, whose expertise, creativity, and insights contributed to this successful, modern museum installation.

Bruce Muller (COMET), Brannan McGill, (formerly COMET), Malte Winkler (COMET), Mark Mulholland (formerly COMET), Bob Bubon (COMET), Ken Kim (UCAR F&A IT), David Russi (COMET), Alan Bol (COMET), Dave Linder (formerly COMET), Patrick Dills (COMET) and Marianne Weingroff (COMET), Matt Kelsch (COMET), Lon Goldstein (COMET), Amy Stevermer (COMET), Vickie Johnson (formerly COMET), Tsvetomir Ross-Lazarov (COMET), Bryan Guarente (COMET), Bill Bua (COMET), Arlene Laing (NESL/MMM), Dolores Kiessling (COMET), Steve Deyo (COMET), Dan Riter (COMET), Carl Whitehurst (formerly COMET), Hildy Kane (COMET), Michelle Harrison (COSMIC), and Lorrie Alberta (COMET).

In 2011 the MetEd website was redesigned and expanded to develop training on a wider range of scientific topics as well as further enhance the website’s functionality so that it can be better utilized by the UCAR Community, educators, students, and scientists around the world.  MetEd, originally developed by the COMETâ Program to serve online geophysical training developed for our sponsors, has evolved into a free collection of hundreds of training lessons providing access to enhanced features. MetEd’s main sponsors include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Meteorological Service of Canada, the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. With the agreement of the sponsors, all training materials on the MetEd site have been made freely available to the public, including universities and the scientific community worldwide. As of October 1, 2013, the site offers nearly 500 unique, high-quality training modules providing over 800 hours of training and 25,000 media elements to a worldwide audience of over 300,000 registered users. The nominated talented team is responsible for the new MetEd website functionality including better organization of content, enhancement of the registration and tracking system, a robust new search engine, expanded distance learning courses, teaching resources for incorporating MetEd content in the classroom, and a new quiz functionality that allows for feedback.

Eric Apel, Mary Barth, Louisa Emmons, Frank Flocke, Alex Guenther, J.-F. Lamarque, Sasha Madronich, Steve Massie, John Orlando, Gabriele Pfister, Jim Smith, Geoff Tyndall, and Christine Wiedinmyer (all NESL/ACD). 

In 2011, these scientists taught an introductory graduate-level course in Atmospheric Chemistry to a group of five students at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NC A&T), a Historically Black College/University.  As part of the course, these five students enjoyed a unique experience - a one-week visit to NCAR where they were immersed in scientific activities, attending lectures, touring labs and facilities, conducting hands-on experiments and exercises, and developing a student project in close collaboration with ACD scientists. The course material and derivatives of it continue to be used to augment atmospheric chemistry education at Universities. It has been used by NC A&T faculty and staff (with supplemental lectures in this and another course given by a subset of the nominees) to teach the Atmospheric Chemistry class in subsequent years. One of the nominees (Massie) is building on the material to teach a graduate course entitled Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistryin the Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University (Fall, 2013). Another nominee (Orlando) presented four lectures in Atmospheric Chemistry as part of a graduate course entitled “Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science” at the Dept. of Meteorology, Univ. of Oklahoma, Autumn 2013.

Diversity Nominations


Brigitte Baeuerle

Brigitte Baeuerle has made significant contributions to the NCAR Diversity Mission through her roles as member and chair of the NCAR Diversity Committee, PI on successful NCAR diversity proposals, and by promoting diversity within EOL and NCAR. Brigitte understands that the future Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce must draw on the talents of all sectors of a diverse population. She has championed efforts within EOL to expand recruitment efforts to include underrepresented groups and to include diversity-focused questions in interviews; to expand outreach to mitigate educational and psychological obstacles that inhibit individuals in these groups from learning about and competing for educational and career opportunities; and to improve retention through increased understanding, respect, and engagement.

 Scott Sewell

This nomination recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of Scott Sewell of the High Altitude Observatory (HAO)/NCAR in the area of diversity through his involvement in the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) Program, the UCAR Spark Pre-College Program, the University of Colorado (CU) Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center, and the CU Your Own Undergraduate Research Experience at CU (YOU'RE @CU) program . Scott is strongly committed to the goals of these programs, and has volunteered his time and shared his expertise by mentoring a number of minority high school and college students interested in careers in engineering and the sciences. Scott reached out to the CU BOLD program and initiated HAO participation in that program by recruiting BOLD minority students as interns in compelling engineering projects at HAO. Scott has made a significant impact on the lives of the students he has mentored, providing them with the experience, the opportunities, the tools, and the encouragement they needed to fulfill their desires to succeed in engineering and science careers.

Scientific and/or Technical Advancement Nominations

Laurie Carson (RAL), Ming Hu (NOAA/ESRL), Xiang-Yu Huang (MMM), Louisa Nance (RAL), Kathryn Newman (RAL), Hui Shao (RAL), Don Stark (RAL), and Chunhua Zhou (RAL).

This team is responsible for establishing and maintaining the code management plan for the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) data assimilation (DA) system. GSI is a state-of-the-art DA system developed by numerous contributors throughout the U.S. It is currently the DA system used operationally within many of the weather forecasting systems run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). Given the distributed nature of the code development for GSI, as well as the need to ensure an effective transition from the research environment to the demands of 24x7 operations, NOAA and AFWA recognized the importance of rigorous code management for GSI. In 2009, they chose to work with staff at the Developmental Testbed Center (DTC), jointly operated by NCAR/RAL and NOAA/ESRL, to develop, maintain and support a code management framework for GSI. Since 2010, the nominated GSI Code Management Team (GSI­ CMT) has provided that framework for DA development, creating and managing a code repository for members of the research and operational communities working to advance the science of DA. The GSI team has facilitated and supported the release of five versions of GSI, each providing the community with the latest GSI capabilities, as well as complete documentation and user support. Use of the GSI system has grown dramatically in the past five years and there are now more than 800 registered users in 60 countries.  The code management team has played a critical role in this success.

Britt Stephens (EOL), Pavel Romashkin (EOL), Henry Boynton (EOL), Ed Ringleman (EOL), John Cowan (EOL), Greg Bruning (EOL), Brent Kidd (EOL), Alison Rockwell (EOL), Vidal Salazar (EOL), and Janine Aquino (EOL).

The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) program was a multi-year, multi-phase field campaign, designed to study the latitudinal and vertical distribution of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric constituents from the Arctic to the Antarctic by employing a new and creative mode of global operations. Following transects across the Pacific Basin, scientists from several institutions across the U.S. used the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER), the NSF/NCAR GV, and a suite of sophisticated airborne sensors to sample over one hundred chemical, aerosol, and state variables from the ocean surface to the upper troposphere (~29,000-47,000 feet). Measurements were made during five separate, month-long aircraft missions from 2009 through 2011. The completed HIPPO data set provides the first ever highly detailed global survey of a comprehensive suite of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols pertinent to understanding the carbon cycle, at the same time challenging global climate models.  For EOL, HIPPO represents one of the most successful and important field campaigns conducted in recent years, bridging observational and climate science.  The project is an impressive example of the scientific leadership, excellent field project management and   outstanding operational and technical support that EOL provides to the scientific community.

Piyush Agrawal (CU), Justus Brosche (CU), Greg Card (HAO), Rebecca Centeno-Elliott (HAO), ClemensHalbgewachs (University of Freiburg), Bruce Hardy (consultant), Michael Knolker (HAO), Alice Lecinski (HAO), Ron Lull (HAO), Chris Mahan(EOL), Courtney Peck (CU), Jim Ranson (EOL), Rich Summers(HAO), and Thomas Wissman (EOL).

The Sunrise balloon-borne observatory produced the highest resolution images ever taken of the Sun. Engineers and scientists in the High Altitude Observatory (HAO) and the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) worked with international partner institutions and the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility to win two science proposals totaling more than $6M to realize two science flights of Sunrise. The objective of the NCAR effort was threefold: 1) to develop a gondola observing platform that was strong enough to protect the delicate 1m Sunrise primary mirror and post-focus scientific instrumentation while, 2) to design an agile and intelligent control system that would maintain solar pointing accuracy to within one tenth of an arc second for prolonged periods of time in the harsh wind shears of the Earth's stratosphere and 3) to bring the mirror, instruments, and the valuable science data safely to the ground again. This Outstanding Accomplishment nomination recognizes the NCAR team that designed, built, rebuilt, and flew the gondola and pointing system, enabling groundbreaking observations of the Sun at spatio-temporal resolutions never before achieved.

Dan Marsh (NESL/ACD) and Aaron Ridley (University of Michigan)

Dan and Aaron were chairs of the Whole Atmosphere Working Group (WAWG) from the period of 2008-2011.  They led the effort to transform the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) from a specialized research model to a widely used climate model.  One ambitious aspect of the development was to couple the WACCM atmospheric model to the ocean, ice, and land surface models of the Community Earth System Model so that it could be used for climate prediction and analysis studies.  This effort was successful technically and has had a strong scientific impact within and beyond NCAR.  The evidence that the middle atmosphere affects the evolution of climate is now incontrovertible.

Will this event be webcast to the public by NCAR|UCAR?: 
Announcement Timing: 
November 25, 2013 to December 6, 2013