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NCAR Annual Report
Director's Message

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to introduce the new web-based 2006 NCAR Annual Report for the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This report is a merging of NCAR’s annual Program Plan that describes NCAR’s planned activities for the next two years and the Annual Scientific Report that reports on NCAR’s recent accomplishments. Instead of reporting by organizational unit as we did in the past, the new report is arranged in accordance with our strategic planning efforts and provides a closer mapping between our goals and priorities and respective plans and accomplishments. Other changes include an emphasis on higher-level summary descriptions of our activities that is intended to reach a wider audience. Program details are available through weblinks and I encourage you to use the report’s search function to find your particular area of interest. Here are a few of our report’s highlights:

In March 2005, the HIAPER(High performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research) aircraft arrived at its new hangar at Jeffco airport after more than two decades of planning. HIAPER, also known as the Gulfstream 5, or GV, has just completed a series of progressive science missions to test an initial set of community instruments installed on the aircraft. Community researchers are also developing additional instrumentation funded by NSF’s $12.5 million proposal opportunity.

NCAR continues plans to meet the scientific community’s growing computational needs. The Computing and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) entered FY 2005 with 12.1 teraflops of total computational capacity at NCAR and ended the year with a capacity increase to 21.2 teraflops. In August 2005, CISL took delivery of a new IBM p5-575 supercomputer named "bluevista", supplementing our existing bluesky supercomputer. Bluevista will be made available to general users in January 2006, roughly doubling the supercomputing capacity provided by NCAR from 400 to almost 800 gigaflops. A typical application is expected to run twice as fast on bluevista as it currently does on bluesky.

In the next year, NCAR will work with community partners to develop an integrated science, facility, and funding plan to expand NCAR’s supercomputing facility capabilities. The goal is to create a new supercomputing facility that can support the technological developments projected over the next several decades; expand the investment in new supercomputing systems at they become available, and engage the broad geosciences community to utilize and support this initiative.

A major new accomplishment in our climate analysis research is the completion of the simulations in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, AR4. Over 200 scientific papers have been written or are in process based on available IPCC data sets, including the comprehensive runs of the

Community Climate System Model (CCSM), version 3, managed by NCAR on behalf of the research community. The IPCC AR4 is due to be published in 2007 with NCAR scientists playing a leading role. The Earth System Grid (ESG) is now providing simple, Web portal access to over 70 terabytes of climate simulation data, including the data repository for Working Group 1 of the IPCC AR4. More than 1,400 users have accessed model simulations within these records.

The Earth System Modeling Framework(ESMF), developed and maintained by NCAR and its partners, has become the standard software framework for international environmental modeling. NCAR scientists are currently collaborating on nesting the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF), a weather model, into the CCSM and Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) climate models to simulate more complex, multiscale interactions. Planned activities will also focus on aspects of tropical variability which are poorly simulated in the current CCSM and CAM .

Other weather modeling efforts at NCAR also played a critical role in tracking this year’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. The results of NCAR's Advanced Research version of the WRF have been impressive, with track and intensity forecasts demonstrating high accuracy. The focus in FY 2006 and FY 2007 will be on the modeling of internal dynamics of tropical cyclones and hurricanes and on developing WRF enhancements to improve its accuracy and efficacy.

Education and outreach efforts continue to grow at NCAR and special funds will be committed toward this effort. In this past year, our first Faculty Fellowshipprogram provided extended visits for 3 university faculty and their graduate students. During NCAR’s fourth annual Undergraduate Leadership Workshop, 21 undergraduates in the geosciences spent a week at NCAR this summer to learn more about career and resource opportunities. These are just initial steps and we plan to grow and strengthen these and similar programs.

Our 2005 Postdoctoral recruitment brought 140 highly qualified candidates for the nine positions available. We also just completed our 2005 Scientist Irecruitment with a total of six positions hired, including a research engineer to work with HIAPER. Other research emphases will be in multiscale modeling, biogeosciences, the water cycle, and math.

At the management level, we have been involved in extensive strategic planning activities in this last year. These planning activities, which resulted in the goals and priorities you will read about in this report, were facilitated by the new management structure we instituted in early FY 2005. The new structure incorporates a broadly representative Executive Committee, five laboratories, and several new cross-cutting institutes to complement the familiar research divisions and programs. The newest group, created this past spring, is the Center for Capacity Building (CCB)which will focus on human and institutional capacity building related to climate-society-environment interactions.

I hope you visit this Web report to learn more about NCAR's contributions and plans to areas of your research interests as well as other aspects of our program.

Tim Killeen
NCAR Director