Director's Message

NESL Annual Report - Director's Message

Dear Colleagues:

Greg Holland
Greg Holland - NESL Director


Preamble: FY 2010 has seen us steadily consolidating our new NCAR Earth System Laboratory and setting it on its future path. At the administrative level our goal has been to develop a strong, coordinated and responsive decision and administrative process, one that encourages laboratory-wide collaboration whilst retaining the identities and individual approaches of the Divisions. Our Executive and reorganized administrative structure is in place. And we have established a project management structure that provides a coordinated approach to establishing and running our many projects and collaborations, both within and external to NESL. I am confident that these provide a solid basis for us to weather the difficult times ahead and to benefit from those opportunities that arise.

We have developed the first NESL strategic plan. This sets out our priorities, major goals and frontiers for the next five years and beyond and is closely coupled to the NCAR strategic plan. Core to our strategic approach is the maintenance and enhancement of our leading-edge, integrative science, community interactions, and major community-facility support. NCAR has also developed a landmark Workforce Management Plan (WMP), which sets out your recommendations for your working and professional environment. Implementation of the WMP across NCAR has commenced with the enthusiastic and active involvement of the NESL Executive.

Evolution has been a hallmark of NCAR and is the basis of many of our flagship programs. This occurs in many ways, from subtle changes to existing programs to the development of major frontier areas. The Integrated Studies Program has evolved towards taking an entrepreneurial approach to nurturing new projects of merit; those that succeed move into the laboratory structure to become established programs, those that do not are closed and the funds applied to the next project. We are seeing this happening already with the transfer of BEACHON, UTLS and Water Cycle out of ISP and the closing of BGS. I am confident that ISP operating in this mode will support NESL strategic goals in the establishment of exciting new programs in much the same way that ASP has served us in helping excellent new scientists become established in our field.

Our mission: To advance understanding of weather, climate, atmospheric composition and processes; to provide facility support to the wider community; and, to apply the results to benefit society.

In performing this mission, we shall continue to:  

  • Work closely with other NCAR groups in furthering both our and NCAR’s strategic goals
  • Sustain and nurture fundamental disciplinary programs, while reaching out to engage other disciplines in accomplishing our goals
  • Undertake transformational research, which involves an element of risk but is essential to improving our understanding of the earth system and to developing major community facilities
  • Engage with community leaders and policy makers to convey research findings, to develop new research directions, and to emphasize the importance of investment in research and major facility development
  • Invest wisely in the maintenance and continuing development of community modeling, instrumental and experimental facilities
  • Develop next-generation tools and techniques in support of the atmospheric and related sciences utilizing cutting-edge research and in collaboration with the wider community
  • Encourage and promote new, diverse talent into our field through participation in educational programs from K12 through graduate university, and by mentoring students and young scientists

Laboratory Annual Report: This year we have mapped our LAR to the NESL strategic plan, which is closely aligned with NCAR Priorities and Frontiers. For 2010, our priority activities include:

  • Advancing knowledge across a wide range of atmospheric, biological, chemical, climate and societal areas
  • Prediction Across Scales and Earth Teleconnections
    • Decadal Global and Regional Climate Prediction, including preparation for IPCC V and time-slice decadal predictions of high-impact weather
    • Earth System Modeling, including the development of the Model for Prediction Across Scales and the Community Earth System Model
    • Development and expansion of the Weather Research and Forecasting modeling system, including the extensive data assimilation work
    • Development and maintenance of major instrumentation systems in support of the community
    • Participation in international field programs

Outlook: The next year will be a difficult one from a budgetary perspective. In minimizing the impacts, our priority will continue to be on supporting our colleagues in academia through advancing knowledge and through further development and continued support for our major modeling and experimental facilities. We shall further fine tune our lab structure and see implementation of parts of the WMP. It will also be a year of transition as a new Director will take over. I look forward to returning to a more scientific role and want to take this opportunity to thank the many NESL folks who have helped in the establishment of the laboratory and of our strategic plan.

Greg Holland
NCAR Associate Director
Interim Director, NCAR Earth System Laboratory