ESIG FY04 Involvement
in NCAR's Strategic Initiatives
The Weather and Climate Impact Assessment Science Initiative (herein referred to as the Assessment Initiative), with Director Linda Mearns, Doug Nychka (CGD), Acting Director for much of FY04, and Lisa Dilling as Project Manager, is based in ESIG. The Assessment Initiative brings together scientists from ESIG, CGD, RAP, UCAR's E&O, and several UCAR member universities to address the themes of climate uncertainty, extremes, and climate and health.
The Assessment Initiative's interactions with the university community include projects involving the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), University of Kansas, University of Colorado in Boulder, and the University of North Carolina. University involvement extends across several of the Initiative's projects, including the role of climate in human health, land cover forcing from the SRES scenarios in climate models, climate variability in past centuries, and the effects of extreme meteorological events in climate models. A comprehensive high-quality website (www.assessment.ucar.edu) was created during FY04 for the Initiative to provide extensive information on each of the subprojects and reinforces the Assessment Initiative as a bridge between regional assessments and global/regional modeling observations. The Initiative held a Summer Colloquium on Climate and Health (co-Chaired by Jonathan Patz (JHU), in collaboration with ASP. It is hoped that a Colloquium series based on this initial prototype will become an annual world-class training and capacity-building program in interdisciplinary climate and health studies.
The main objective of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Strategic Initiative is to promote and support the use of GIS as both an analysis and an infrastructure tool in atmospheric research, and to address the broader issues of spatial data management, interoperability, and geoinformatics research in the atmospheric sciences. As an integrating technology, GIS directly addresses NCAR's strategic goal of serving as an Integrator. The GIS Initiative is co-hosted in ESIG and RAP, with Olga Wilhelmi as Director and Jennifer Boehnert (ESIG/RAP) as NCAR's GIS Coordinator. Terri Betancourt (RAP) was a co-Director in FY04. The Iniative continued its work in each of its four major program elements: (1) education, training, and user support; (2) research enabled by GIS; (3) data integration and distribution, and (4) research in GIS technology. In FY04, the Iniative added an fifth important element to its program: community building. (Click on the image to the left to see a larger image of an ArcMap illustration.)
This year, the Initiative has opened a GIS Lab at NCAR with hardware, software, and personnel support available to all NCAR/UCAR staff and continued to provide GIS education and technical assistance with scientific projects and proposals. In FY04, the GIS Initiative started a "GIS Climate Change Scenarios" project to serve a wide external community of GIS users interested in interdisciplinary issues of global climate change. A GIS data portal will allow for a web-based distribution of climate change model output data in a GIS format, which will be used in the upcoming Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the IPCC by the Community Climate Systems Model. The Initiative has also been collaborating with representatives of the atmospheric science community and ESRI to develop an atmospheric data model that aims to provide a structure for seamless integration of atmospheric data in GIS. The Initiative website is available at www.gis.ucar.edu.
Other ESIG scientific staff contributed in FY04 to NCAR's Wildland Fire Strategic Initiative (Kathleen Miller, Robert Harriss, Seth McGinnis, and Olga Wilhelmi). Harriss and McGinnis collaborated with Brian Muller and Ernesto Arias (both of the University of Colorado at Boulder) on the development of computer-aided tools and methods for mitigation of wildfire hazards at the urban-wildland interface.
All these Strategic Initiatives received positive external reviews during FY04. The Review Committees assessed their relevance to national and international needs as well as their ability to cut across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.