National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR, pronounced "EN-car") has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Studies include meteorology, climate science, atmospheric chemistry, solar-terrestrial interactions, environmental and societal impacts.
Research, services, and facilities
- 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
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
NCAR is organized into five laboratories and two programs:
- Computational & Information Systems Laboratory (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)
Computational and Information Systems Laboratory
The Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) is a laboratory within the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 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.
Participation in 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
Many NCAR scientists participate in national and international collaborations, projects, assessments, and panels. Notable among these is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Scores of NCAR researchers and technical staff have contributed time and expertise to the IPCC assessments of climate change since they began in 1990, and all of them shared with colleagues around the world in the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC.
NCAR's flagship building is the award-winning  Mesa Laboratory, designed by architect I.M. Pei in the 1960s. This Boulder landmark sits atop 600-foot high Walter Orr Roberts mesa above the city, against the Flatirons formation of the Rocky Mountains.
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.
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.
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. Roger Wakimoto became director of NCAR in 2010.
- Quick Facts about NCAR & UCAR
- 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.
- NCAR's Clickable Organization Chart
- UCAR Community Programs
- UCAR Highlights
- NCAR Reviewers for the IPCC
- Nobel Peace Prize 2007
- Gallon, Zhenya (1997-10-02). "NCAR Mesa Laboratory Recognized for Outstanding, Enduring Design". University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
- Gordon, Nicole (March 2007). "Mesa Lab a medieval castle?". University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
- "Architecture of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)". University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Visitor Programs – Opportunities for Scientific Visitors & Students
- NCAR Directors
- Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XVIII.
- Official Web-site
- Public tours & exhibits, at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
- High-end Computing at NCAR, at the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory
- NCAR & Mallory Cave downloads, Information on hiking in the NCAR vicinity
- NCAR Archives
- OpenSky Repository