Outstanding Accomplishment Award Winners Announced

Staff Achievements recognized at annual holiday event

Many UCAR staff members and their families turned out for the annual EAC all-staff holiday party and awards presentation on Friday, December 11. Staff enjoyed a great meal, music, awards, and time to connect with colleagues.

The Nasal Ridge Pickers bluegrass band kicked off the event in the main ballroom. NCAR Director Jim Hurrell then recognized our external award winners, followed by UCAR Interim President Michael Thompson’s presentation of the UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Awards. Following the awards ceremony, Events Services served a fabulous holiday feast and Soul Sacrifice took center stage with some great music from Santana.

Outstanding Accomplishment Award Winners

The full list of nominations appeared in Staff News on December 2. Nominations are not announced in a given category if there is only one nominee or if that award is not granted in a particular year. For details on the internal awards process, and archives of internal and external award winners from past years, see the Honors and Awards website.

Scientific and/or Technical Advancement Winners

Linda Mearns (CISL), Seth McGinnis (CISL), Don Middleton (CISL), Eric Nienhouse (CISL), Nathan Hook (CISL), and Chi-Fan Shih (CISL)

The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) addresses the challenges in producing useful climate model results at a regional scale. Global models supply large-scale information, while the regional models provide more detail. The higher resolution results are desirable, but using regional models also adds some uncertainty. NARCCAP explored these uncertainties by running multiple regional climate models driven by multiple global models over the North American domain. It produced multiple climate change scenarios and further evaluated the performance of global and regional climate models. NARCCAP produced a large volume of data and made it available to the larger climate research community with background documentation and recommendations for use. NARCCAP's data products has been used across widespread, targeted research communities, with 1,000 users registered, more than 130 scientific publications produced, and more than 1,000 citations to date.

Scientific and/or Technical Advancement Winners are presented their awards. Front row: Bill Kuo, Maria Isquierdo, Eric Nienhouse, Michael Thompson, and Seth McGinnis. Back row: Melissa Miller, Jim Hurrell, Linda Mearns, and Don Middleton (Not pictured: Chi-Fan Shih and Nathan Hook). (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Diversity Award

Mary Barth (ACOM)

Over the past five years, Mary Barth has performed an extraordinary amount of work in contributing to the diversity of the workforce in the field of atmospheric sciences. She has also been an excellent role model, in particular for females entering and working their way through the field of atmospheric sciences. Through a combination of mentoring, teaching, and training of students, ranging from high school through graduate school, Barth has influenced more than 50 students from underrepresented groups or developing countries. Her efforts have led to the establishment of continuing collaborations between NCAR/ACOM and minority-serving institutes such as Howard University, and the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, and thus her efforts continue to impact the diversity of our workforce and of the larger atmospheric sciences.

Diversity Award Winner Mary Barth (third from left) is presented her award from (left to right) Melissa Miller, Jim Hurrell, Maria Isquierdo, Bill Kuo, and Michael Thompson (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Education and Outreach Winners

Olga Wilhelmi (RAL), Jennifer Boehnert (RAL), and Kevin Sampson (RAL)

These nominees work as a team to enable students, researchers, practitioners, and public officials worldwide to more effectively use weather and climate research data and knowledge products for research, education, and decision-making with Geographic Information System (GIS) methods and tools. Through community workshops, scientific colloquia and focused training events, the GIS team is helping atmospheric scientists learn how to use GIS approaches, tools and data to bring many previously unavailable physical, ecological and social data streams to bear on their research. Through workshops, tutorials and Internet-based applications, such as “Climate Inspector”, they are making research data accessible, available and useful to students, educators, decision makers, and the general public throughout the world. The end result is that educators, researchers and decision-makers have become much more adept at incorporating weather and climate information using GIS-based analysis and decision support tools to address weather preparedness and climate adaptation issues.

Education and Outreach Award Winners Olga Wilhelmi (third from left), Jennifer Boehnert (fourth from left), and Kevin Sampson (sixth from left), are presented their awards by (left to right) Melissa Miller, Jim Hurrell, Maria Isquierdo, Michael Thompson, and Bill Kuo (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Mentoring Winner

Geoff Tyndall (ACOM)

Geoff Tyndall has made a sustained and exemplary effort, over the last six to seven summers in particular, to incorporate students into the ACOM research environment. Tyndall willingly made his laboratory facilities available to them, and worked shoulder to shoulder in the lab in order to instill a vision and excitement about the science. These students have all benefited from Tyndall’s personal approach to mentoring and attention to detail, and many have been inspired by this experience to move on to graduate careers in atmospheric sciences. Of particular note, many of the students hosted have been from historically underrepresented groups.

Geoff Tyndall (third from left) is presented with the Mentoring Award by (from left to right) Melissa Miller, Jim Hurrell, Michael Thompson, Maria Isquierdo, and Bill Kuo (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Outstanding Publication Winners

Roy Rasmussen (RAL), C. Liu (RAL), K. Ikeda (RAL), D. Gochis (RAL), D. Yates (RAL), F. Chen (RAL), M. Tewari (IBM Watson Research Center), M. Barlage (RAL), J. Dudhia (MMM), W. Yu (RAL), K. Miller (RAL), K. Arsenault (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), V. Grubišić (EOL), G. Thompson (RAL), and E. Gutmann (RAL)

Roy Rasmussen, C. Liu, K. Ikeda, D. Gochis, D. Yates, F. Chen, M. Tewari, M. Barlage, J. Dudhia, W. Yu, K. Miller, K. Arsenault, V. Grubišić, G. Thompson, and E. Gutmann, 2011: High-resolution coupled climate runoff simulations of seasonal snowfall over Colorado: A process study of current and warmer climate. Journal of Climate, 24 (11), 3015-3048.


This cross-disciplinary, groundbreaking and transformative paper utilizes both observations and state-of-the-art numerical modeling to extract key insights about the impacts of climatic changes on snowfall and runoff in mountainous regions and illuminate the physical causes of the projected changes. The study boldly explores the unchartered territory of very high-resolution regional climate modeling down to 2 km resolution over the Colorado Headwaters region, effectively connecting climate change with hydrologic sciences. Rasmussen et al. demonstrate the ability to accurately simulate seasonal snowfall and snowpack under present and future climate conditions, allowing realistic estimation of spring snowmelt runoff from Headwaters regions for the first time, which in much of the western United States is the main source of water for agriculture and human consumption. This paper is expected to exert considerable influence on regional climate research and policy decisions regarding water resources management in the western United States and beyond.

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Outstanding Publication Winners are presented their awards. Front row (left to right): Mukul Tewari, Vanda Grubišić, Maria Isquierdo, Changhai Liu, and Kathleen Miller. Back row (left to right): Melissa Miller, Ethan Gutmann, Jim Hurrell, Roy Rasmussen, Bill Kuo, Michael Barlage, David Gochis, and Michael Thompson (Not pictured: Kyoko Ikeda, David Yates, Fei Chen, Jimy Dudhia, Wei Yu, Gregory Thompson, and Kristi Arsenault). (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Distinguished Achievement Award Winner

Charlie Martin (EOL)

Charlie Martin received the Distinguished Achievement Award for his unique vision, which led to the development and integration of Field Programmable Gate Array technology into several NSF remote sensing platforms, including the HIAPER Cloud, S-Polka, and Doppler on Wheels radars as well as the 449 Megahertz Wind Profiler. Originally designed for telecommunications, this signal processing technology can acquire data at very high speeds and eliminates the need for hardware changes. As a result of Martin’s transformative work, NCAR and NSF remote sensing instruments can now achieve unprecedented range, resolution, and sensitivity; provide a common platform for multiple systems; and greatly reduce development and maintenance costs. This technology has been used in several recent field campaigns, such as DYNAMO, DEEPWAVE, NOR’EASTER, C-SET, and PECAN. Principal investigators from these campaigns have testified that this technology has led to the collection of “unprecedented long range and high-resolution measurements” and has been “crucial to the success of” these campaigns. Furthermore, Martin’s work has been adopted beyond NCAR, leading to great benefits for the atmospheric sciences community and enhancement of NCAR’s reputation as a leader in high bandwidth signal processing applications.

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Charlie Martin (third from left) is recognized as the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner by (from left to right) Melissa Miller, Jim Hurrell, Michael Thompson, Bill Kuo, and Maria Isquierdo (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)


Rebecca Swisher, Internal Communications Specialist