MMM Director's Message
Rich Rotunno, MMM Interim Director
This past year has been one of scientific achievement and management change for the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Division. As an extension to my responsibilities as Assistant Director, I assumed leadership of the division as Interim Director following Bob Gall’s appointment to Director of the Development Testbed Center (DTC). I am pleased to share with you the scientific accomplishments achieved throughout the division during FY2004. Selective highlights are summarized in the Executive Summary of this report, and further accomplishments are detailed under MMM Achievements.
The mission of MMM is to advance understanding of the mesoscale and microscale aspects of weather and climate, and to apply this knowledge to benefit society. Our research is organized within two principle thematic programs. The first, Prediction of Precipitating Weather Systems (PPWS), is focused on reducing forecast errors toward predictability limits. The second, Cloud and Surface Processes and Parameterizations (CaSPP), is focused on quantifying the collective effects of small-scale processes.
Our research integrates modeling, observations, and theoretical understanding. By focusing our efforts and establishing effective collaborations with universities and other research agencies, we have successfully accelerated progress towards achieving the goals of the MMM Science Plan, which directly supports the NCAR Strategic Plan. For example, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a highly successful collaborative endeavor that benefits not only the research community but also the operational community. MMM contributions to the Data Assimilation and Water Cycle Across Scales Initiatives are other examples where collaboration and focused effort are integral to success.
As will be evident as you read through our ASR report, MMM fosters both external and internal collaborations. In addition, this past year MMM recruited three new Scientist Is, two of which hold joint appointments. Arlene Laing holds a joint appointment with COMET while Paul Field holds a joint appointment with RAP. George Bryan, currently an ASP post doc, will join MMM’s scientific ranks in January 2005. These three early career scientists add scientific talent and acumen to our research program and will strengthen our program in the areas of warm season climatology of precipitating systems, quantitative precipitation forecasts, ice-related microphysical processes in clouds, and model simulations of moist convective processes.
MMM continued its strong commitment to community service and educational activities throughout FY2005. For example, division staff participated in a number of field campaigns that covered a broad spectrum of science. MMM scientists, in collaboration with Woods Hole and Penn State, conducted the Ocean Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (OHATS) in Martha’s Vineyard in an effort to investigate wind-wave interactions and improve our ability to assess the impacts on weather forecasts and climate variability. MMM researchers also played a major role in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME), an internationally coordinated, joint CLIVAR-GEWEX study aimed at determining the sources and limits of predictability of warm season precipitation.
MMM, as part of a national center, fosters collaborations with national and international universities and other research institutions as a means of advancing the understanding of weather and climate for the benefit of society. In FY2004, MMM hosted 463 visitors, representing 72 different universities and 27 foreign countries. These and other statistics in this report are evidence of the broad contributions that divisional staff makes to the atmospheric community.
Looking forward, the new year will bring more change and opportunity. NCAR will reorganize to be more responsive to the changing world of atmospheric sciences. MMM will move forward within the reorganization under the leadership of a new director, Greg Holland. The integration of the science divisions within the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory (ESSL) will provide new opportunities for multidisciplinary interactions and successful implementation of our strategic plan. I invite you to peruse our FY2004 Annual Scientific Report and encourage you to return next year for more exciting accomplishments.