Tom Bogdan, William (Al) Cooper and Maura Hagan
We collectively report on ASP activities during the past year. Tom Bogdan directed the ASP for much of the time that William (Al) Cooper was on leave working at the National Science Foundation. Maura Hagan served as the Acting ASP Director during the last quarter.
ASP’s role and mission as an integrator within NCAR, brings together the most talented of early career scientists who can be mentored by more senior divisional scientists. This permits the exchange of ideas and fosters mutual educations. ASP functions as a natural catalyst for spurring multi-disciplinary research activities capable of crossing the science and service boundaries of divisions and programs. In turn, many of these young scientists return to the atmospheric sciences community and strengthen ties between our national center and the universities. They are also invited to attend regular seminars and workshops including the Early Career Scientists Assembly annual forum on future scientific directions. Several of ASP’s projects direct attention to timely scientific areas needing special emphasis and promote continuing education of topics in atmospheric science. The most important component of our program is the postdoctoral fellowship program, which has been a part of NCAR for thirty-nine years and has brought over 400 postdoctoral scientists to NCAR. Each year approximately 10 new postdoctoral scientists come to NCAR, usually for two-year appointments. They conduct their research in collaboration with NCAR scientists and work in all areas in which NCAR is involved. NCAR benefits from continuous contact with some of the brightest and most promising young scientists in our field and from the lasting associations that result. The postdoctoral scientists benefit from the opportunity to work with NCAR scientists, from exposure to the breadth of science at NCAR, and from the independence they are encouraged to develop. Many former fellows now occupy prominent positions at UCAR universities or at NCAR, and many of the present collaborations between NCAR and university scientists derive from associations that developed in the postdoctoral program.
The ASP also promotes the examination of research areas that merit special emphasis, either because they are particularly timely or because they seem under-emphasized relative to their importance. This is primarily accomplished by convening workshops and by supporting appropriate visitors. As part of this effort, ASP hosts an annual summertime colloquium that brings graduate students to NCAR for an intensive set of lectures presented by selected scientists from within and outside NCAR. Last summer ASP co-hosted two colloquia. The first was on the topic of "Atmospheric Remote Sensing Using the Global Positioning System" organized by Bill Kuo and co-hosted by COSMIC (UOP). The second was on the topic of “Climate and Health” organized by Linda Mearns and co-hosted by ESIG, NOAA and NASA.
The ASP also provides organizational support for the Early Career Scientists Assembly (ECSA) and their activities, including the Junior Faculty Forum. The second annual ECSA Junior Faculty Forum was held at NCAR on 23-25 June 2004. Participants included 40 early career researchers from 19 universities and institutions in the U.S., Switzerland, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They discussed two topics; the sun-climate connection, and the role of coastal zones in global biogeochemistry. For the first time, this year the ECSA invited National Science Foundation and NASA representatives to participate in the fora, wherein they discussed issues surrounding funding opportunities, grants and ethics. Another function of the ASP is to promote new science initiatives and programs that do not have a natural home in any one of the NCAR divisions. The Geophysical Turbulence Program seeks to represent interests in turbulence throughout NCAR. This very active program normally hosts two annual workshops, sponsors a seminar series, and in other ways helps coordinate and promote turbulence research at NCAR. We are also the administrative home for the NCAR Scientist Assembly (NSA). Finally, ASP supports the NCAR Aerosol Program in its interdivisional effort to serve the diverse community of aerosol researchers at NCAR and in the research community by initiating activities that improve communication and promote collaborative research through a Research Discussion series under the leadership of Jim Smith (ACD), chair.
The ASP also includes: the NCAR Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides a few opportunities for graduate students to conduct Ph.D. research projects at NCAR in collaboration with NCAR scientists; some Senior Research Associates; and several seminar series including the NCAR-wide "Showcase Seminars" that highlight significant advances at NCAR and the "Thompson Lectures" that bring prominent scientists to NCAR to interact with the postdoctoral fellows. We also established plans to develop a new Faculty Exchange Program during the past year. We expect to announce the program details and invite applications in early 2005. For more information on the ASP mission and plans, see the ASP Strategic Plan.