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MARCH 2020
Tony Busalacchi I am pleased to announce that construction has begun on a new, state-of-the-art facility at NCAR's Research Aviation Facility. We had a successful groundbreaking on February 14 with a number of distinguished guests, including Anjuli Bamzai and Sarah Ruth of the National Science Foundation and staff members of the Colorado congressional delegation. The 42,391-square-foot building, more than twice the size of the previous structure, will enhance our ability to support field campaigns for the community. Once the facility opens its doors at the end of this year, it will provide space for briefings, real-time remote participation in field experiments, and outreach and education activities. I am deeply appreciative that NSF has made this significant investment, which underscores the importance of NCAR’s role in supporting field campaigns for the research community. For more information about the new facility, please see our news release.
A rendering of the new RAF building
Renderings of the new building that is being constructed at the Research Aviation Facility in Broomfield, Colorado. (Image: TreanorHL.)

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.

An artist's rendering of a COSMIC-2 satellite.
(Image: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.)

Finally, I want to welcome the three new members of the UCAR Board of Trustees: Michael Freilich (Oregon State University and former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division), Kathy Jacobs (University of Arizona), and Vernon Morris (Howard University). I am very grateful for the service provided by Eric Barron (Pennsylvania State University) and Harlan Spence (University of New Hampshire), who rotated off the Board. See a list of all the trustees.

Sincerely,
Antonio J. Busalacchi

This is the second of my new quarterly emails. In "From the UCAR President," I am highlighting recent events that I believe are significant for our community. I look forward to any feedback that you may have. Please email me at tonyb@ucar.edu with comments or suggestions. 

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