Strategic Goal 1: Improve Understanding of the Atmosphere, the Earth System, and the Sun

Please enjoy selected scientific highlights by clicking on the thumbnail images below the "overview", or by using the arrows above to move page-by-page.

The National Science Foundation supports the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to advance basic research in the United States in the atmospheric and related sciences in support of the university community. As a federally-funded research and development center, NCAR is able to sustain a long-term commitment to this scientific enterprise. Our research and understanding of the atmosphere, the Earth System, and the Sun and their environments is essential to fulfilling our other strategic goals. We pursue this basic research to advance our knowledge. Concurrently, we also are able to improve the modeling, computing, and observational facilities we provide; and, to transfer the results of our work to the public and private sector.

Our research includes atmospheric chemistry; meteorology, solar physics, solar-terrestrial interactions, and the Earth's upper atmosphere; climate research; societal impacts of climate change and severe weather; biogeochemistry; water cycle; geophysical turbulence; and applied mathematics and statistical analysis. We conduct our research in close collaboration with university partners; local, state and federal agencies; and with strategic international partners and private sector sponsors. Our goal is also to make our research accessible and widely available.

NCAR addresses four broad priorities within this goal:

Priority 1: Exploring Atmospheric, Earth System, and Solar Processes, Variability and Change

Exploring atmospheric, Earth system, and solar processes, and the variability and change of these processes, are critical components to reaching NCAR's Strategic Goal #1. Exploration into these areas will focus on three key activities: simulation of natural Earth system variability, research on magnetic-flux eruptions from the sun, and understanding the effects of gravity waves, including the coupling between the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.... Read more about this priority

Coronal Magnetometry (CoMP and COSMO)

Space Weather

Priority 2: Investigating the Interactions of the Atmosphere, the Broader Earth System and Human Society

Whereas in the past, meteorology and climatology were separate fields, be it only because of disparate time (and length scales as well), it appears today that the two fields are strongly coupled, not only as the climate gives the boundaries for investigating the weather, but also because localized events can influence the larger climatological scales.... Read more about this priority



Short-term Weather Forecasting: The Colorado REFRACTT Demonstration

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs

Priority 3: Improving Prediction of Weather , Climate, and Other Atmospheric Phenomena

Understanding of the Earth system is a prerequisite to predicting its behavior, the latter being however of a more direct use to many components of society. In that context, the key activities within the laboratory deal with improving climate models, exploring new approaches to prediction across scales and global and local weather prediction.... Read more about this priority

THORPEX support with Hurricane Genesis Research


Model Development and Enhancement

Priority 4: Developing Community Models

Developing numerical models and making them available to the scientific community is at the heart of NCAR's research and service to the community. Key activities in this priority are community models, research models, and progress toward an Earth system model. Leading the way in the key activity of community models are the CCSM and the WRF... Read more about this priority


IPCC Scientific Contributions

Nested Regional Climate Modeling