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Director's Message

RAL Director - Brant FooteWelcome to the Research Applications Laboratory's Annual Report for FY2008.  Our mission is to conduct directed research that contributes to the depth of fundamental scientific understanding, to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on earth, and to support technology transfer that expands the reach of atmospheric science.  We are, at present, an organization with an annual budget of more than $30M and a staff comprised of nearly 200 scientists, software engineers, and management/administration personnel. Although NCAR as a whole is largely funded by the National Science Foundation, RAL receives the vast majority of its funding from other sources such as domestic and international government agencies and private companies interested in exploiting the latest advanced weather technologies.

In 2005 we reorganized the Laboratory into five programs dealing with research and applications in topics related to aviation, homeland security, hydrometeorology, weather systems and assessments, and numerical testbeds. The activities within each of these programs are detailed on the RAL website. In this Annual Report, however, we present our program in a different way, highlighting the many areas in which our work supports and advances the NCAR Strategic Plan.

Given our focus on applied atmospheric research and technology transfer, it is natural that much of our work contributes to Strategic Goal 2, Priority 2:  "Building capacity for coping with weather and climate hazards."  It is also important to note, though, that many parts of our program map easily into other goals and priorities of NCAR’s Strategic Plan.  RAL scientists are engaged in fundamental investigations of earth-atmosphere interactions, in improving community models, in connecting science to decision making and public policy, in building scientific and technical capacity in developing countries, in creating new mathematical and statistical tools, and in improving instruments used to observe the atmosphere.  In each of these activities, RAL works to bring science and technology to bear on problems that affect society.