|ASR 2004/HAO/Director's Message|
HAO Director's Message
The High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research explores the Sun and its effects on the Earth's atmosphere and physical environment. The achievements for this year stand out with breakthrough measurements of coronal magnetic fields through polarimetry in the near infrared, and the first physics-based prediction of aspects of the solar dynamo. The NCAR-wide effort to develop a Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) continued. The expansion of the HAO upper atmosphere modeling effort to the near-Earth environment through coupling of modeling the ionosphere and the magnetosphere has gained momentum this year, making a significant contribution to the Boston University led Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM).
After aggressive recruitment of young scientists in previous years, HAO focused on the consolidation of the program with the new staff and the expansion of the program, given the long-term priorities of the so-called four cornerstones of our research: The Dynamo, The Flux Eruption Process, The Structure and Dynamics of the Corona, and The Impacts of Solar Variability on the Earth's Atmosphere and Magnetosphere. Significant progress was achieved in all four cornerstones, as is described in this report. Beyond that, HAO has maintained its strong standing in the >identification of extra-solar planets.
HAO remains committed to a strong Education and Outreach program that, among other things, consists of program elements for short-term visitors, long-term visitors and post docs, graduate students, and affiliate scientists. The HAO Visitor Program remained a major commitment for the Observatory. Indeed we were able this year to moderately increase the allocation.
The HAO Instrumental and Observational program is running solar instrumentation at the >Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and at the observatory in Izaņa, Tenerife. Furthermore, HAO has had deployed for many years, the Advanced Stokes Polarimeter as a community post focus instrument at the Dunn Telescope at National Solar Observatory at Sacremento Peak. In combination with the other astrophysics and solar physics observatories, HAO is well suited to help the community to do specific measurements on solar variability at the source. HAO also continues the instrumental/observational program at Resolute Bay, Canada, a Fabry Perot instrument deployed there delivers data of high quality. The instrument is meeting all of our expectations and is making contributions to understanding physical processes above the Earth's magnetic north pole.
HAO's contributions to the NASA programs continued with the Solar-B instrument. Nearing completion and with the launch of that satellite not too far away, HAO has shifted activities towards comprehensive data analysis of spectropolarimetric data. HAO/NCAR has started a strategic initiative to ultimately provide the community with standardized sets of tools for this kind of work.
As in the years before, I invite you to peruse the web pages of this Annual Scientific Report to share the excitement that we feel in pursuing our research, in working with people in the community, and in getting ready for new research frontiers in the solar planetary research scenario.
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