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Dear UCAR community,

A week ago, a giant among atmospheric chemists passed away. Paul Crutzen served as the director of NCAR's Atmospheric Quality Division, since renamed the Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Lab (ACOM), in the late 1970s. He subsequently took a position as the director of the atmospheric chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, and shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his work into the depletion of the ozone layer. Paul also made significant contributions to our understanding of air pollution, nuclear winter, and climate change. I invite all of you to read the tribute posted on ACOM’s website.

UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi


A simulation run on CESM using the Cheyenne supercomputer


NCAR finalized a contract with Hewlett Packard Enterprises for its next supercomputer, which will become operational in early 2022. The 19.87-petaflops system will be capable of about 3.5 times the speed of scientific computing performed by NCAR's current supercomputer, Cheyenne. The new system will get 20% of its sustained computing capability from graphical processing units (GPUs), which will facilitate more machine learning applications and the possibility of running high-resolution models more efficiently.

Read more


University research requests for large-scale allocations on the Cheyenne supercomputer are due March 22. Allocations for the newly announced supercomputer will be made in the fall.

Submit a request
A CESM tutorial
The 2021 Community Earth System Model (CESM) Tutorial will take place Aug. 9-13 online. The tutorial will consist of lectures on simulating the climate system; practical sessions on running CESM, modifying components, and analyzing data; small group discussions with CESM scientists; and student networking.
Applications are due March 19 for the Undergraduate Leadership Workshop. The five-day experience, to be held online June 6-11, gives undergrads a chance to explore careers in the atmospheric sciences and develop their leadership potential.
Image from the National Water Model
Registrations for the one-day Introduction to the WRF-Hydro Modeling System short course, hosted by the American Meteorological Society, are due Feb. 17. The course will be held Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. 
Applications are due Feb. 28 for the Ralph Cicerone Fellowship in Atmospheric Chemistry. The two-year fellowship is open to graduate students. 
Applications are due Feb. 15 for the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research Explorer-In-Training Program 10-week summer internships, which equip students with skills to meet the demands of the ocean exploration workforce.


FY22 budget and COVID relief:

The House and Senate are focused on considering the Biden administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package, which comes on the heels of a more than $900 billion dollar COVID relief package signed into law late last year as part of the FY21 omnibus deal. Senate Republicans have recently countered with a proposed $618 billion package, and votes are expected to start next week while talks are ongoing. Behind the scenes, Congress and the administration are also preparing lists of priorities for a separate package focused more on new infrastructure investments and economic stimulus aimed at boosting job growth. This package will likely be taken up by Congress later in the spring or summer.

The annual federal budget request for the National Science Foundation and all other agencies, which is usually delivered to Congress in the second week of February, will likely be delayed at least two months while the Biden administration revises the documents that were already prepared by the previous administration.


The Senate is now an even 50-50 split, after Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won their runoff elections in Georgia. With Vice-President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the new Senate majority leader, though the rare 50-50 situation also necessitated the negotiation of a power-sharing agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in order to conduct Senate business.

The Senate is now working through the process of confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and preparing for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which is scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8.

White House science team:

President Biden has announced key members of his White House science team. Eric Lander, a genomics medicine pioneer, who was the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, will lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and serve as the presidential science advisor, a position that has been elevated to the Cabinet level for the first time. Alondra Nelson will serve as OSTP deputy director for science and society, and Frances H. Arnold and Maria Zuber will serve as the external co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). They will be the first women to serve as PCAST co-chairs.

White House climate team:

President Biden announced additional members of his climate team in January, including David Hayes as special assistant to the president for climate policy; Cecilia Martinez as senior director for environmental justice at the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Maggie Thomas as chief of staff for the Office of Domestic Climate Policy; Sonia Aggarwal as senior adviser for climate policy and innovation; Jahi Wise as senior adviser for climate policy and finance; and Jeff Marootian as special assistant to the president for climate and science agency personnel, working within the Presidential Personnel Office.

Cabinet nominee confirmations:

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week. A committee vote on whether to advance her nomination as secretary of energy to the full Senate for a vote has not yet been scheduled. Separately, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) also appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee last week to consider her nomination to be the secretary of commerce. The committee approved her nomination yesterday, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. President Biden has yet to name his picks to lead NASA and NOAA. For the time being, NASA will be led by Acting Secretary Steve Jurczyk.

Biden’s NOAA political appointees:

Though it is unclear who will be NOAA’s next administrator, President Biden announced his picks for other key NOAA positions, none of whom require Senate confirmation. Karen Hyun, an expert in marine conservation science, will serve as chief of staff. Walker Smith was named general counsel, Letise LaFeir will be senior policy advisor, and Emily McAuliffe will be special assistant to the NOAA administrator.

Biden’s executive order on the climate crisis:

On Jan. 27, President Biden signed an executive order to tackle the climate crisis, restore scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking across the federal government, and re-establish the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Additional details on the order can be found in a fact sheet from the White House.


Software Engineering Assembly's Improving Scientific Software Conference and Tutorials
March 22-26
Registration due March 17

Tropical Pacific Observing Needs Workshop
May 24-26
Abstracts due March 5


Ocean heat anomalies at different depths


The temperatures in the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by a research team that included scientists from NCAR. The five hottest years for the upper ocean on record have all occurred since 2015.

Read more


Although cities occupy just 3 percent of Earth's land surface, they are home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population and will bear the burden of the effects of global climate change. A new study shows that urban regions around the world could warm by more than 4 degrees Celsius.

Read more


The lockdowns and reduced societal activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic affected emissions of pollutants in ways that slightly warmed the planet for several months last year, according to new research led by NCAR.
Read more


The Earth's magnetic fields


The COMET Program recently published an interactive lesson that supplements late astronomer John Eddy’s heliophysics text “The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space, 2nd Edition." The lesson contains more than 200 images and animations, and over 200 interactions, comprising more than 10 hours of reading material. 

Learn more


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Copyright ©UCAR 2021, All rights reserved. About our banner image: Visualization of present-day total water vapor as seen in the Community Earth System Model (CESM), see NCAR VizLab animation for more information.

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