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UCAR CURRENTS

AUGUST 2020

NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES

The Cheyenne supercomputer

NOW ACCEPTING REQUESTS FOR LARGE-SCALE ALLOCATIONS ON THE CHEYENNE SUPERCOMPUTER

NCAR is now accepting large-scale allocation requests from university-based researchers for the 5.34-petaflops Cheyenne supercomputer and the Casper data analysis and visualization cluster. Allocations are generally open to researchers at U.S. universities who are funded by the National Science Foundation. Submissions are due September 10. 

Learn more.

Holly Gilbert
Astrophysicist Holly Gilbert has been selected to lead NCAR's High Altitude Observatory. Gilbert, who currently serves as director for the Heliophysics Science Division at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, will join NCAR October 5. Gilbert first came to HAO as a student assistant in 1996. Over the next decade, she stayed to work first as an associate scientist and then as a visiting scientist. 
A high-resolution simulation made using Cheyenne
The MultiCore 10 Workshop, which will be held virtually the week of Sept. 28, is now accepting abstracts and registrations. The purpose of this workshop is to provide a forum for open discussion to better understand the application of new high performance computing technologies for the next generation of weather, climate, and Earth system models.
GLOBE students around the world respond to the question: What changes are you seeing in nature during the COVID-19 pandemic?

SCIENCE POLICY INSIDER

FY21 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill update:

The House of Representatives FY21 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill was finally unveiled in July, and it includes a number of modest proposed increases to important programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA. The bill was approved by the full House last week. The Senate Appropriations Committee is not expected to introduce and mark up their CJS bill until September.

The House bill would restore numerous proposed cuts to various NSF and NOAA programs and provide targeted increases to others. While the House committee rejected a requested 12% budget increase for NASA to fund larger lunar exploration programs, it restored funding for numerous NASA Earth science research programs, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) and Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder missions, which have been repeatedly targeted for termination in recent years.

The legislation includes $8.55 billion for NSF, which is $270 million above NSF’s FY20 funding level. Most of this increase is for the main “Research and Related Activities” account and the bill also provided NSF the requested $70 million for the Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure program. For NOAA’s budget, the bill proposes a small increase of $102 million and rejects almost $800 million in proposed cuts, resulting in a proposed level of $5.45 billion for FY21. Important budget restorations and proposed increases include $146 million for the Weather and Air Chemistry Research programs ($12 million increase), $190 million for Climate Research programs (restored to FY20 level), and a $6 million increase for Climate Competitive Research.

NOAA program and policy provisions in House CJS bill:

In addition to the agency funding levels provided in the FY21 House CJS bill there are several important new proposed programs or policies involving federal Earth science and climate research at NOAA. The House bill would provide $1.5 million to NOAA for a new effort to contract with the National Academies so that they may undertake an inaugural weather decadal study, with the participation of all relevant federal agencies, to evaluate current capabilities and needs and to guide future federal investments. The committee also provided $28.75 million for the new Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) within NOAA’s Weather Research Program, rejecting a proposed cut and increasing funding by $3.5 million over FY20.

Senate Republicans release COVID relief package:

The novel corornavirusSenate Republicans released their proposed COVID relief package last week, which is made up of multiple bills that collectively are called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools, or HEALS, Act. Congress is still negotiating the package, with talks ongoing with the White House as well. The proposed legislation would provide $1.5 billion in funding for NASA and $20 million for NOAA to support the continuity of weather modeling and forecasting. Other components of the package include liability protections, extended unemployment insurance, tax credits, health care provisions, a new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, rescue committees for Social Security, Medicare, and highway trust funds, school and childcare legislation, supply chain protection, and a temporary expansion of a restaurant deduction.

New Democratic climate plan unveiled in the House:

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released a congressional action plan in mid-July that conveys legislative steps the panel’s Democrats believe are needed for the U.S. to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Produced by committee staff, the 547-page document is an ambitious effort that took over a year to produce. To meet UN recommended targets on future warming the plan recommends Congress take broad actions across 12 “pillars” that encompass different economic sectors and decarbonization policy issues. In the areas of science and technology, these actions would include substantially increasing investment in clean energy R&D and strengthening support for climate science research across federal agencies.

Commerce Department's Inspector General report released on Hurricane Dorian statement:

In a report released last month, Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson found that there was a flawed process leading up to the White House statement that Alabama would likely be hit by Hurricane Dorian and that the Department of Commerce and NOAA did not act in an apolitical manner. The report finds that this incident damaged NOAA’s credibility and impacted the morale of NOAA’s employees but that there is a sense that employees want to move on from the situation. The release of the report has further complicated the effort to confirm Neil Jacobs to be the leader of NOAA, which requires a vote in the full Senate. The release of the IG report caused several key Democratic Senators who were awaiting its release to now declare their opposition to his nomination.

An image of solar flares

Space weather bill passes in Senate, heads to House:

Last week the Senate passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, also titled the PROSWIFT Act, by unanimous consent. The bill now heads to the House for consideration. The legislation provides statutory authority for the National Space Weather Program’s efforts to work with multiple agencies in their research, operations, and mitigation of space weather. The agencies include NOAA, NSF, and NASA among a few others.

DOE trying to Improve research collaboration with NSF:

The director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Chris Fall, said there should be a streamlined process agreed upon by DOE and NSF to improve their project collaboration. Director Fall also shared that the DOE’s Office of Science has successfully implemented a similar approach with international partners.

NCAR | UCAR SCIENCE NEWS

Phytoplankton off the coast of South America

A SURPRISING RANGE OF CLIMATE EVENTS MAY BE PREDICTABLE YEARS IN ADVANCE

A slew of new papers collectively show that a wide range of phenomena across the atmosphere, oceans, and land may be predictable on time horizons that stretch from a year to a decade out. The new studies are all derived from the Decadal Prediction Large Ensemble.

Read more.

DID YOU KNOW?

YOU CAN EVALUATE THE EFFECTS OF CLOUD SEEDING USING WRF-WXMOD

The WRF-Wxmod model allows scientists to evaluate the impacts of cloud seeding on precipitation, design new or optimize existing cloud-seeding programs, and forecast cloud-seeding opportunities when run in a real-time forecast mode. WRF-Wxmod uses a new silver iodide (AgI) cloud-seeding parameterization to simulate the physical effects of AgI nucleation into ice, and growth into snow. 

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