A Message from the Director

Roger Wakimoto

With 2013 upon us, the NCAR Annual Report allows me to take a look back at some of the community science and support highlights of the previous year. Among these highlights was the much-anticipated opening in October of the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The NWSC provides advanced computing capabilities to scientists via one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers dedicated to the geosciences, and also provides a premier data archival facility that will preserve valuable research data. The NWSC results from a broad public-private partnership among NCAR, the National Science Foundation, University of Wyoming, the state of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, the Wyoming Business Council, and Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power.

Among the field campaigns this year, the DC3 (Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry) project investigated the impact of deep, mid-latitude continental convective clouds on upper tropospheric composition and chemistry. With university scientists, NASA, and the German Aerospace Center participating, the experiment investigated the influence of thunderstorms on air just beneath the stratosphere, allowing a comprehensive look at both thunderstorm chemistry and physics, including air movement, cloud physics, and electrical activity. A vital tool for this effort was the Mission Coordinator Display system, which provided rapid-refresh visuals of evolving weather situations, and linked ground-based researchers with airborne crews through interactive chat. This system has become mission critical, facilitating real-time decision-making, and allowing those on the ground to direct airborne crew to areas of research interest, thereby optimizing atmospheric sampling.

Continuing NCAR’s focus on helping educate the next generation of scientists, the Integrated Science Program (ISP), Advanced Study Program, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) graduated its first two post-doctoral students from the two-year fellowship focused on the health-climate nexus. Now assistant professors – Chris Uejio at University of Florida, and Sean Moore at University of New Mexico – continue their work in this area, and the leaders of the ISP-ASP-CDC partnership look forward to continuing the joint post-doctoral program in this relatively new study area.  This year’s ASP colloquium focused on the Weather-Climate Intersection. The colloquium again featured a three-week program for student participants, with top researchers invited to a Researcher Colloquium during the second week. Structured this way, professional colleagues that otherwise see each other infrequently had an opportunity to meet and  identify areas for future collaboration, while students not only have an opportunity to talk to experts in their field, but they add to their cohort of future research colleagues.

NCAR and our community participated in many other notable scientific efforts. Please take time to read the suite of stories that comprise the 2012 NCAR Annual Report for details on these projects and many other exciting research efforts that occurred in 2012. I encourage you to see the annual reports created by each of our Laboratories, Programs and our Observatory. These provide a further variety and breadth of details on 2012 work.

With best wishes for 2013 and sincere thanks for your ongoing support, and the hard work of the past year,