2015 Metrics

The metrics featured below offer qualitative and quantitative measurements and assessments of the productivity, quality, and impacts that NCAR staff, programs and activities have on our research community, sponsors, and society in general for data reported in the Metrics Database, iVantage HRIS system and OpenSky Database as of November 10, 2015 for fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014-September 30, 2015).  Staff continue to update their entries and expand their contributions throughout the year so visit the Metrics Database for the most current data. (2015 METRICS AS OF NOVEMBER 10, 2015)


NCAR-Hosted Community Events

Each year, events are hosted by labs, divisions, and programs.  These include colloquia, conferences, symposia, tutorials, and workshops.

In FY15, a total of 85 events were hosted: 49 workshops, 11 tutorials, two symposia, five conferences, and 17 colloquia with an average audience of 44 colleagues per event and estimated total audience of over 3,700.  Event co-sponsors groups included  the National Business Aviation Association and the The Climate Corporation, the Department of Energy and the Climate and Cryosphere group and universities including the University of Washington STATMOS Group and the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia).

Field Campaigns

NCAR’s geosciences research facilities, instrumentation and field support services support field campaigns around the globe.

In FY15, NCAR participated in 11 field campaigns ranging in duration from 5 to 2,283 operational field days.  A total of 174 institutions, including 66 UCAR member institutions participated in these campaigns.  The projects involved 155 investigators, 86 undergraduate students, and 157 graduate students.

Campaign Acronym

Campaign Full Name


Airborne Research Instrumentation Testing Opportunity


High Altitude Ice Crystals - High Water Ice Content Project


Tropical Cyclone Intensity Experiment


Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology

IceBridge 2015

IceBridge 2015


Wintertime Investigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity


Plains Elevated Convection at Night


Cloud System Evolution in the Trades



For example, the Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) was a multi-agency project (NSF, NOAA, NASA, DOE) designed to advance the understanding of continental, nocturnal, warm-season precipitation. PECAN focused on nocturnal convection in conditions over the Southern Great Plains with a stable boundary layer (SBL), a nocturnal low-level jet (NLLJ) and the largest CAPE (Convectively Available Potential Energy) located above the SBL. Thunderstorms are most common after sunset across this region in summer and much of the resulting precipitation falls from mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Nocturnal MCSs may produce heavy rainfall; their intensity is correlated with the NLLJ. To date, an accurate prediction and an in-depth understanding of elevated convection in this environment remains an elusive goal.

Facility Tours

Each year, NCAR facilities host a number of participants for tours organized for a specific organization or group.  This year, NCAR hosted a total of 79 tours.

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputer Center hosted 59 tours in FY15, for groups ranging in size from 1 to 57 people.  Fourteen tours were by K-12 groups, including the Boy Scouts of Douglas, Wyoming and various local high school visits. Fourteen groups took science- or technical-related tours, including a group from the NSF and the US Senate. There were twelve college or university groups, ranging from the Front Range Community College in Fort Collins to the Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY.  Green building and engineering tours were provided to groups such as l Phelps Construction and the Black Hills Corporation. There were twelve tours by political/sponsor groups, including the South Korean Consulate and WYDOT.  There were also five tours by peer centers to include the San Diego Supercomputing Center and USGS Powell Center.

The Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport hosted a total of 19 tours in FY15. Thirteen tours were by college and university groups, including Front Range Community College and Colorado State University.  Two tours were by science and technical groups, including the US Air Force and NOAA.  Four tours were made by political/sponsor groups, including Senator Thom Till’s Office and James Change, Congressional Staffer for Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

NWSC Walk-In Public Tours

The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The Center provides advanced computing services to scientists studying a broad range of disciplines, including weather, climate, oceanography, air pollution, space weather, computational science, energy production, and carbon sequestration. The Center is open to the public for self-guided tours, field trips for school groups, and non-school group special tours.

In FY15, the Center received 811 walk-in public visitors, and averaged 68 visitors per month.


Contributions to Individual Graduate Student Education

NCAR staff serve as research advisors and committee members for graduate students around the world.

Of the  239 graduate students that have NCAR staff serving as graduate advisors or committee members,  73% hail from U.S. universities; 27% study at schools in 23 countries around the world, including a student from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia who was advised by Kyle Augustson.


NCAR staff serve as publication editors. These positions recognize the appointee's leadership in the field and serve a critical role in developing a given field's future focus.

78  NCAR staff served in 108 different editorial roles on 75 different publications or journals. Publications included top-tier journals such as AMS Journal of Hydrometeorology and Geoscience Data Journal.

External Awards

Each year a number of NCAR Staff are honored for their work and contributions to the Atmospheric and related sciences.

Twenty-nine staff received special recognition for their work.  Mary Barth (Principal Investigator), Jim Bresch, Louisa Emmons (Principal Investigator), Laura Pan and Christine Wiedinmyer received the NASA Group Achievement Award to SEAC4RS for outstanding accomplishments, Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RD).  This award is one of the most prestigious awards a group can receive and is presented to selected groups who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission.   

Matthias Steiner (RAL) was named as a American Meteorology Society Fellow.  The AMS Fellow honor celebrates outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years.

George Bryan (MMM) received the Atmospheric Science Letters Editor’s Award from the Royal Meteorological Society (UK).  Dr George Bryan has made a significant contribution to the increasing impact of Atmospheric Science Letters on the atmospheric science community.  His expertise in the area of severe storms, tropical cyclones and their numerical modelling has proved invaluable.


A fellowship is typically a special appointment granting support for a term in order to support advanced research or study.

Eleven NCAR staff received fellowships in 2015.   Among the highlights:  Tanya Peevey (ACOM) was awarded a place in the International Research Fellowship Program (IRFP) offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  

K-12 Outreach

Staff across NCAR work directly with classes and groups of K-12 students to develop or deliver lectures, conduct tours, and lead or participate in field trips and other educational activities.

Forty-nine NCAR Staff worked with K-12 students from  57 schools. Activities included a career fair, helping teachers, mentoring, and field trips reaching 21 different communities. Examples range from a career fair at Lake County High School and Peak to Peak Charter School to advising K-12 students at the Monash Lab Rats facility in Melbourne Australia to advising as a consultant and contributor to the Solar Superstorms Planetarium show in New York.

Among the highlights: David Schneider (CGD) a Science Speed Dating event for K-12 teachers hosted at NCAR; Tara Jensen (RAL) built an automated weather station for Mead Elementary School in Mead, Colorado; and Thomas Cram (CISL) taught Bubbles on Bottle classroom kit to a second-grade class at Laurel Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Talks and Posters

NCAR Staff give presentations about data, models, theories, hypotheses, reviews, and results around the world in talks and posters to audiences ranging from scientists and engineers to the general public.

Many thousands of people were in the audience when 242 NCAR staff gave more than 1,100 talks across the country and around world, from Biddeford Maine  to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Examples range from Matthias Rempel’s (HAO) talk on “Magnetoconvection - the Global and the Local Dynamo” at the Conference on Coupling and Dynamics of the Solar Atmosphere in Pune, India to Wojciech Grabowski’s (MMM) talk “Untangling microphysical impacts on deep convection applying a novel modeling methodology” in La Jolla, California.  

One hundred and two NCAR staff made more than 170 poster presentations across the country and around world, from Madison, Wisconsin to Montpellier, France. Examples include Peisang Tsai’s (EOL) poster “Real-time, Active Platform Stabilized HIAPER Cloud Radar and its engineering challenges” in Norman, Oklahoma  at the 37th Conference on Radar Meteorology and Sarah Gison’s (HAO) poster “Coronal Magnetism and FORWARD IDL SolarSoft Package” in Punta Leona, Costa Rica at the IAU Symposium 305.

External Committee Service

NCAR staff are called upon to participate in and often lead external scientific, technical, policy, and educational committees. These committees are instrumental to advancing and promoting the work of the scientific and technical community.

This year, 163 NCAR staff served in a multitude of roles on 526 external committees for national and international scientific, education, and governmental organizations, including entities such as the Department of Energy, Environmental Canada and the World Meteorological Organization. More than 63% served on more than one committee.

Staff Collaboration Visits to Universities

NCAR staff take leaves to visit other institutions for two weeks or more for intellectual growth, professional development, collaboration with research community peers, community support, teaching, or sabbatical. Examples of work include teaching courses or workshops, lecturing, giving tutorials, working with graduate students on dissertation-focused research, student mentoring, collaborative research, and participating in the host institution's outreach to community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and high schools.

This year, 15 NCAR staff members took leaves at 17 different institutions, ranging from the University of Leeds to the Korean Institute of Atmospheric Prediction Systems (KIAPS).  Among the highlights: Paul Kucera (RAL), a Project Scientist II, visited the University of Hamburg to engage in collaborative research.

Teaching in University/College Classrooms

NCAR staff make important contributions through teaching appointments at institutions of higher education in different positions ranging from Graduate Faculty to Professor.

Teaching appointments at institutions of higher education currently number 31. Twenty-one  percent of these appointments occur in 9 countries around the world; 79% took place in 15 U.S. states, including Puerto Rico.  The longest term is 30 years, by Grant Branstator (CGD) who is an Adjunct Professor at Iowa State University. The class sizes range from 5 to 150 students.

Teaching or Training at Workshops/Tutorials/Colloquia

NCAR staff teach classes and offer training in workshops, tutorials, and colloquia to colleagues and students ranging from model users, to scholars, to fellow researchers.

During this year, 65 staff members taught at a total of 119 workshops, tutorials, and colloquia.  In all, 497  individual classes were taught, with class sizes ranging from one to 45 people.  Fourteen percent of these events occurred in 13 countries around the world including Seychelles and Croatia; 86% took place in five U.S. states, including Michigan and Kansas.  Examples range from Mary Barth's (ACOM) contributions at the “Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Monsoon Training School” in Bangkok, Thailand to Mary Haley’s (CISL) teaching at the Visualization with NCL - Hands on Workshop Fall 2014 in Hamburg, Germany.


NCAR staff participate in mentoring colleagues and students.

During this year, 71 staff members mentored mentees both inside and outside of NCAR. John Ortega (ACOM) mentored a student from the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) from the Kogi State University in Nigeria on various ways of sampling common pollutants from urban emissions and photochemistry.   These included ozone, NO/NOx, volatile organic compounds using gas chromatography and CO.  The mentoring also included instrument calibration, instrument control using Labview software, data logging, and instrument maintenance.

Special Appointments

NCAR Affiliate Scientists: Select university and research-community scientists are invited to carry out long-term, highly interactive, collaborative work with UCAR scientists and are appointed as Affiliate Scientists with three-year terms. This appointment is particularly suitable for parties who desire an extended, close-working relationship on scientific problems of mutual interest. Currently, 34 hold appointments including Dr. Guido Cervone of Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Cervone is collaborating with scientists in the Research Applications Laboratory on forming better methods of optimization that can be applied to numerous problems including wind energy optimization.

Emeritus/Emerita: Scientific and Research Engineering staff who have made significant contributions to NCAR through long and distinguished service in senior positions in research may be granted emeritus or emerita status. This designation confers a life-long honorary distinction. Approval of the President and the Board of Trustees is required. Currently the ranks of Emeritus/Emerita number 25 with the recent appointment of Dr. Maura Hagan who is continuing her research on upper atmospheric physics and the exploration and investigation of the mesosphere, thermosphere and ionosphere.

Scientific and Technical Visits to NCAR

Each year students, scientists, engineers, weather forecasters, and other professionals from around the country and world receive special visitor appointments from labs and programs across NCAR to collaborate with scientific, educational, or technical staff; conduct independent research; or participate in and/or oversee a professional project. Many receive financial support for their visits and some visitors temporarily join the NCAR staff.

This year, colleagues visited NCAR 864 times and hailed from 360 institutions, located in 47 different U.S. states and 43 different countries.

Visit Length - Number of Scientific and Technical Visits in FY15

1 day to 1 week:  191

8 days to 2 weeks: 94

>2 weeks to 2 months:  241

>2 months to 6 months:  163

> 6 months to 1 year or more:  157

Total:   846

Scientific and Technical Visit Types - FY15

Visits by Visitors on Payroll: 58

NCAR funded Visits:  285

Externally funded Visits:  503

Total:   846

Publications in the UCAR Open Sky Institutional Repository as of March 15, 2016

NCAR’s publication records are curated in the UCAR Open Sky Institutional Repository. OpenSky is the open access institutional repository supporting UCAR, NCAR, and UCP, extending free and open access to our scholarship for the benefit of research and education.

OpenSky is operated by the NCAR Library, with the goal of providing free and open access to the scholarship of UCAR, NCAR, and UCP. Founded on the principle that public access to the scholarly record is essential to the advancement of science and society, the vision of OpenSky is to support the broad mission of UCAR to foster science, support its community, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

In support of this vision, OpenSky will provide long-term storage, preservation, access to scholarly works and the products of scientific research created by UCAR, NCAR, and UCP authors.

A publication is an academic or technical work of writing containing original research results, reviews of existing results, or scholarship. "Refereed" publications undergo an editorial "blind" or anonymous process of peer review by one or more referees (who are experts in the same field) in order to check that the content of the paper is suitable for publication in the journal. A paper may undergo a series of reviews, edits and re-submissions before finally being accepted or rejected for publication. "Non-refereed" articles have been reviewed by editors or boards before being accepted for publication but have not gone through a formal blind review. Attached are NCAR's refereed lists for the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. To search for recent NCAR publications by author, date, keyword or status please visit the OpenSky database. For excellent library resources please go the NCAR Library Web site.

697 Refereed  Total Publications

  • No UCAR Authors 0 (0%)

  • UCAR and Other 75 (10.76%)

  • UCAR and University 209 (29.99%)

  • UCAR only 67 (9.61%)

  • UCAR, University and Other 345 (49.5%)

UCAR Outstanding Publication Award:

Stephen Yeager (NESL/CGD), Alicia Karspeck (NESL/CGD), Gokhan Danabasoglu (NESL/CGD), Joe Tribbia (NESL/CGD), and Haiyan Teng (NESL/CGD) received the Outstanding Publication Award for 2014 for their paper "A decadal prediction case study: Late Twentieth-Century North Atlantic Ocean heat content," published in the Journal of Climate, 25, 5173–5189, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00595.1.

Predicting climate change in the near-term, over time horizons of up to a few decades into the future, is a relatively new and rapidly evolving field of climate science. Such “decadal prediction” research is aimed at bridging the gap between seasonal-to-interannual forecasting carried out by many operational weather services worldwide, and the centennial timescale future climate change projections that are the mainstays of the periodic IPCC assessments. Decadal time scales and regional spatial scales are particularly relevant to policy makers and other climate stakeholders. Skillful decadal predictions have the potential to confer tremendous benefits to society by providing advance warning of climate changes such as prolonged droughts, severe heat waves, and increased hurricane activity. This publication distinguishes itself as an outstanding publication on the topic of decadal prediction in several respects:

  • This study has provided impetus for continued and expanded decadal prediction efforts at NCAR, and influenced the latest Strategic Plans of NCAR, NESL and CGD that now highlight decadal climate prediction as a Grand Challenge objective (NCAR Strategic Plan: 2014-2019).

  • It demonstrates that significant decadal prediction skill is possible today using community models developed by NCAR.

  • It goes beyond simply documenting predictive skill by providing a clear explanation of the physical processes that give rise to that skill through a rigorous and innovative analysis of a relevant case study.

Its immediate and lasting impact on the international research community is evidenced by a high and accelerating citation rate.