Provide training in data analysis and visualization

Effective analysis and visualization of the vast data produced by CISL resources and the geosciences community at large requires thoughtful outreach and immersive training activities. CISL collaborates with the Climate and Global Dynamics division at NCAR to offer three to five training workshops annually for the NCAR Command Language (NCL) – a free, interpreted language designed specifically for geoscientific data analysis and visualization. Multiple-day NCL workshops combine lectures on data formats, visualizations, and data analysis, with intensive hands-on labs. CISL staff also provides hands-on training for related Python tools and the VAPOR package.

NCL workshop participants
ResCLIM / CHESS hosted an NCL Workshop at the University of Bergen in Norway, August 2016. Students in this workshop worked with data from many climate and weather models, including the CESM, NorESM, and WRF.


CISL integrates research and education to prepare current and future generations of scientists to tackle the challenges of 21st-century computational geoscience research. The NCL and VAPOR training programs are targeted toward students’ specific needs by encouraging students to use their own datasets for analysis and visualization rather than using canned datasets and examples. The instructors work with students individually during the labs, and by the end of the workshop most students have developed nearly complete NCL programs or VAPOR “sessions” that produce meaningful results from their data. CISL proactively reaches out to U.S. university students by offering at least one fully or partially funded NCL workshop at a U.S. university each year, and by covering some of the travel expenses for qualified students from EPSCoR universities and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to attend workshops. (EPSCoR universities are located in states that are deemed to be underserved by federal research and education funding. The goal of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research – EPSCoR – is to balance national research and education support by strengthening it in these states.) These programs also promote diversity, enhance CISL’s culture of teaching and mentorship, and stimulate collaborations with the university community.

VAPOR tutorials were provided at these events:

  • WRF Tutorial, July 2016, Boulder, Colorado (~30 attendees)
  • XSEDE webinar, June 2016, (~90 attendees)
  • WRF Users Conference, January 2016, Boulder (~35 attendees)
  • Korean Supercomputing Conference, October 2015, Seoul, Korea (~20 attendees)


Four NCL Workshops were presented in FY2016:

  • University of Montana, September 2016, Missoula, Montana (9 attendees)
  • University of Bergen / ResCLIM, August 2016, Bergen, Norway (16 attendees)
  • NCAR, June 2016, Boulder (16 attendees)
  • NCAR, February 2016, Boulder (19 attendees)


NCL and Python training was also offered at these events:

  • WRF Users Event, July 2016, Boulder (~30 attendees)
  • SEA Tutorial, April 2016, Boulder (~40 attendees)
  • AMS PyNIO short course, January 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana (~20 attendees)


The University of Montana workshop was fully funded by CISL. Partial travel funds were provided for 10 EPSCoR students to attend the NCL workshops. The VAPOR tutorial at the Korean Supercomputing Conference was funded by the Korea Institute for Science and Information Technology. All other VAPOR tutorials were supported by NSF Core funds. The NCL workshop at the University of Bergen was funded by ResCLIM/CHESS, while all the other NCL Workshops and related Python training were supported by NSF Core funds.