UCAR is also evaluating the future of the nine UCAR-titled buildings at the Foothills and Center Green campuses, which have significant maintenance and infrastructure needs. NCAR and UCAR staff last month took part in a survey, which is part of a larger study that we are undertaking to determine whether we should retrofit our FL and CG buildings or move to a new modern campus within a 15-mile radius of Boulder. We recognize any discussion about the future of our buildings must include the Mesa Lab. NSF owns the Mesa Lab and any significant changes to the use of the building would need to be determined by NSF and the NCAR Director in consultation with staff and the wider community. In the meantime, NSF has generously provided funding for significant upgrades to the Mesa Lab this year, including conference room renovations and Americans with Disabilities Act enhancements.
On a very different topic, I want to share the good news that COSMIC-2 has just passed a critical test: its neutral atmosphere initial operational capability review. This means that UCAR will begin publicly releasing radio occultation data on a daily basis at the end of this week from the newly launched constellation of six small satellites. Preliminary research indicates that these observations can have a significant impact on weather prediction. Meteorological centers since December have analyzed COSMIC-2 data that were released every two weeks and reported that the observations will provide a major boost to short-term weather forecasts. For more information about the data’s potential impacts, please see the news release.