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MARCH 2020


The S-Pol radar in the field
As of Feb. 1, there's a new way of requesting access to the National Science Foundation's Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities (LAOF), which includes research aircraft; ground-based and airborne remote-sensing instrumentation; surface, sounding, and profiling systems; and more. 

Principal investigators requesting access to the LAOF for small and large campaigns must submit their requests through PRESTO (Project Requests Online), a web-based, integrated documentation-handling system that automates and streamlines the main aspects of the request process.

NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory handles the request process. Please visit EOL's Facility Request site for more information.
A visualization from CESM
The 2020 CESM Tutorial will be held Aug. 3-7 in Boulder, Colorado. The tutorial provides a week-long opportunity for graduate students, postdocs, research scientists and faculty members to experience hands-on, practical sessions on running the Community Earth System Model. Applications are due March 15; some funding support is available.
Screenshot from the COMET module
The weather, water, and climate enterprise is rapidly evolving to provide highly tailored forecasts, connect to decision-makers at all levels, and collaborate across private, public, and academic sectors. Learn more in a new online COMET module.


FY21 federal budget requests released

The White House released most of the federal agency budget requests for fiscal year 2021 on Feb. 10 and they again recommend a wide assortment of cuts to federal science agencies. The requested cuts mimic previous proposals that have been firmly rejected by Congress for the past three years, and they target a range of agencies, focusing most heavily on extramural research programs. 

The request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) would reduce the agency’s budget by 6% from its FY20 level to $7.7 billion. Only the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering would receive a higher funding level.

For the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the request is $4.6 billion, a proposed cut of $727 million. Previously proposed cancellations of Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) extramural programs are again included, but some important new initiatives and increases have been added, including $15 million for the second year of the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC), $4 million for increased observational data sharing with the World Meteorological Organization, and $3.2 million to establish a Tornado Warning Improvement and Extension Program. 

NOAA supercomputerNOAA supercomputing announcement

Two weeks ago NOAA announced the United States will triple its operational weather and climate supercomputing capacity and double its storage and interconnect speed, thanks to the installation of a pair of new Cray systems in Manassas, Virginia, and Phoenix, Arizona, in the next two years. The goal is to boost weather and climate forecasting with more detailed, higher-resolution Earth system models that will employ larger ensembles, advanced physics, and improved data assimilation. The new machines will complement and help implement advancements made under NOAA’s new EPIC program. NOAA awarded an eight-year support contract to CSRA LLC, a General Dynamics Information Technology company.

Capitol Hill ramps up FY21 hearings and appropriations work

Last week Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, testified to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee about the request for federal research and development broadly. This week featured a House hearing on the budget for the Department of Commerce, and the coming weeks will feature hearings for all the key science agencies. The House Appropriations Committee has an aggressive schedule, with plans to start bill markups on April 21. The committee will lead off with the bill that funds NOAA, NSF, and NASA that day. They are targeting May 19 for completing all bill markups, with a goal of passing all the bills on the floor before the start of July. The Senate has yet to announce the schedule for their process. 

White House seeking additional input on open access to federal research

Following a recent flurry of letters opposing or praising a potential executive order on open access, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is seeking additional input from the research community. OSTP held the first in a series of stakeholder meetings on Jan. 30, and this week it released a request for information on “approaches for ensuring broad public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, and code that result from federally funded scientific research.” The potential executive order would facilitate compliance with an OSTP policy memorandum on the subject released in 2103. Under that policy, publications arising from research funded by these agencies must be made freely available following a post-publication embargo of 12 months.



As currently scheduled
7th North American Carbon Program Open Science Meeting
The Future is Here: North American Carbon Cycle Science for a Changing Climate
March 23-26
McLean, VA

Workshop on Societally Relevant Multi-Year Climate Predictions
March 31-April 2
Boulder, CO

2020 Space Weather Workshop
April 20-24
Boulder, CO
*Student abstracts due March 9. Poster and speaker abstracts due March 20

24th Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic /Tropical Atlantic Variability Meeting (PIRATA-24/TAV)
April 20-22
Miami, FL

NCAR SEA's Improving Scientific Software Conference 2020
April 27-May 1
Boulder, CO

NASA 2nd Eddy Cross-Disciplinary Symposium: Sun, Earth, Planet, Space, Atmosphere and Ocean
June 8-12
Vail, CO
*Graduate student and postdoc funding applications due March 16. Poster and speaker abstracts due April 1. Registration deadline is May 22.

2nd European Fully Coupled Atmospheric-Hydrological Modeling and WRF-Hydro® Users Workshop
June 15-19
Cosenza, Italy
*Applications due April 30

Check out more upcoming events in the
NCAR/UCAR Earth System Science Community Calendar


A snow-crusted radar used in the SNOWIE campaign


Scientists have successfully used a combination of radars and snow gauges to measure the impact of cloud seeding on snowfall. The new research addresses decades of speculation about the effectiveness of artificial methods to increase precipitation, demonstrating unambiguously that cloud seeding can boost snowfall across a wide area if the atmospheric conditions are favorable.

Architect's illustration of new NCAR aviation facility


Construction started last month on a major NCAR facility, funded by the National Science Foundation, that will support aircraft flown on scientific field projects worldwide, leading to new advances in weather, climate, and air quality research.


Screenshot from the app
Screenshot from the app


The COMET Program recently released Storm Surge AR, its first augmented reality app. This app allows you to see the potential impacts of hurricane storm surge inundation and visualize how it will affect your home. The app also offers helpful information about preparations prior to the arrival of a hurricane. To get the app, search for Storm Surge AR in the Apple and Google Play stores.

Join UCAR OppsList

A community email group for exchanging timely information about  job openings, events, and other opportunities in the Earth system science community.
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Copyright ©UCAR 2019, All rights reserved. About our banner image: Visualization of present-day total water vapor as seen the Community Earth System Model (CESM), see NCAR VizLab animation for more information 

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