National Center for Atmospheric Research
The US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR, pronounced EN-car) is a US federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The current director is James Hurrell. NCAR has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Studies include meteorology, climate science, atmospheric chemistry, solar-terrestrial interactions, environmental and societal impacts.
Tools and technologies
- Specialized instruments to measure atmospheric processes
- Research aircraft
- High-performance computing and cyberinfrastructure, including supercomputers
- Mauna Loa Solar Observatory
- Cooperative field campaigns
- Atmospheric models of weather, chemical, solar, and climate processes, including cooperatively developed models such as:
- Technology transfer to support societal needs
- Data sets, data services, and other resources
Staffing areas and notable past and present scientists
- Climate (Earth’s past, present, and future climate; the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change; El Niño, La Niña, and other large-scale atmospheric patterns; drought, wildfires)
- Meteorology/Weather (short-term forecasts; weather forecasting and predictability; weather's effect on climate; hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe storms; physical processes)
- Environmental and societal impacts (impacts of climate change on the natural and managed environment; interactions of weather, climate, and society; weather hazard systems for aviation and ground transportation; national security)
- Pollution and air chemistry (air pollution on local, regional, and global scales; air chemistry and climate; chemical evolution and transport in the atmosphere)
- the Sun and space weather (the structure of the Sun, from its interior to sunspots to the solar corona; the solar cycle; the Sun’s effect on Earth’s weather and climate; space weather)
- Other components of the Earth system (the effects on weather and climate of interactions with: the oceans and other components of Earth's water cycle, including sea ice, glaciers, and the rest of the cryosphere; forests, agriculture, urbanization and other types of land use)
Notable scientists on the current staff at the center include Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, and Caspar Ammann,[better source needed] and in past have included Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize in chemistry, 1995); Paul Julian, who with colleague Roland Madden discovered the Madden-Julian Oscillation; Stephen Schneider (a MacArthur Fellow and Member of the National Academy of Sciences), and others. Greg Holland initiated the multiscale modeling project "Predicting the Earth System Across Scales".
Organization of research—laboratories and programs
NCAR is currently organized into five laboratories and two programs:
- Computational & Information Systems Laboratory (CISL)—The CISL was formerly known as the Scientific Computing Division (SCD). CISL manages and operates NCAR's supercomputers, mass storage system, networking, and other computing and cyberinfrastructure services. The Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences (IMAGe) is a research division within CISL.
- Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL)
- High Altitude Observatory (HAO)
- NCAR Earth System Laboratory (NESL)
- Research Applications Laboratory (RAL)
- Advanced Study Program (ASP)
- Integrated Science Program (ISP)
Funding and management
NCAR is managed by the nonprofit UCAR and is one of the NSF's Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, with approximately 95% of its funding coming from the federal government. However, NCAR is not a federal agency and its employees are not part of the federal personnel system. NCAR employs about 1,000 staff. Its annual expenditures in fiscal year 2008 were $181 million.
A list of all NCAR directors since the founding of the National Center is given below.
|NCAR Director||Dates in office|
|Walter Orr Roberts||1960 - 1968|
|John W. Firor||1968 - 1974|
|Francis P. Bretherton||1974 - 1980|
|Wilmot N. Hess||1980 - 1986|
|Richard A. Anthes||1986 - 1988|
|Robert Serafin||1989 - 2000|
|Timothy Killeen||2000 - 2008|
|Eric J. Barron||2008 - 2010|
|Roger M. Wakimoto||2010 - 2013|
|Maura Hagan||2013 (Interim Director)|
|James W. Hurrell||2013 -|
NCAR has many opportunities for scientific visits to the facilities for workshops, colloquia, and collaboration by colleagues in academia, government labs, and the private sector. Many NCAR staff also visit colleagues at universities and labs and serve as adjunct or visiting faculty.
The Visitor Center at the Mesa Laboratory is open to the public daily at no charge. Guided tours and self-guided tablet tours include video and audio on one of the first supercomputers built by Seymour Cray as well as NCAR's modern supercomputer fleet, many hands-on educational exhibits demonstrating weather phenomena and Earth's changing climate, and a scenic outdoor weather trail. Public guided hour-long tours are offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon, excluding holidays.
- Quick Facts about NCAR & UCAR
- "New Director of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research Rose Through the Ranks". July 31, 2013.
- NCAR Research & Resources
- National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences)
- Atmospheric & Earth System Research: NCAR research topics, 2008, accessed 2010-06-22.
- Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XVIII.
- M. Gad-el-Hak Large Scale Disasters Prediction Control and Mitigation" 2008 "was initiated by Greg Holland"
- NCAR's Clickable Organization Chart
- UCAR Community Programs
- UCAR Highlights
- NCAR Directors
- Visitor Programs – Opportunities for Scientific Visitors & Students
- Official website
- Atmos News on Twitter
- on 's channelYouTube
- Public tours & exhibits, at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
- High-end Computing at NCAR, at the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory
- NCAR Archives
- NCAR Research Data Archive (RDA)
- OpenSky Repository
- NCAR & Mallory Cave downloads, Information on hiking in the NCAR vicinity
- NCAR news in The New York Times