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RAP's Director's Message


The Research Application Program's central mission is in concert with that of NCAR/UCAR: to conduct significant applied scientific research and to facilitate the transfer of the information, expertise, and technology it develops to the public and private sectors. This mission is rooted in the founding philosophy of Walter O. Roberts, the first Director of NCAR, who originally saw NCAR's mission as "science in service to society."

The role of UCAR/NCAR as an integrator is very much at the heart of our work. RAP collaborates with the national community (e.g., federal agencies, national laboratories, universities, and various industries), and also with the international community with projects in places such as Taiwan, Colombia, the People's Republic of China, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Greece, and Italy (2004).

The division contributes to the depth of fundamental understanding in atmospheric science and works to develop new sources of support for such research. Through its program of technology transfer, RAP expands the reach of atmospheric science into weather-sensitive human endeavors that are not currently using weather information or are using such information in inefficient ways. Educating potential users of weather information in the "art of the possible" is an important element in securing new investments in research and development for application towards the betterment of society. The pursuit of science applications that are truly useful to society means that we must have a strong connectivity between our work and the needs of end-users; therefore, end-user requirements are considered at each step along the development path. Our work tends to be heavily oriented towards real-time operational systems, which leads to an emphasis on algorithm development, specialized graphical displays, systems engineering, operational demonstrations, and the associated scientific validations as well as user-oriented evaluations.

Twenty years ago, RAP began as a small effort from within the Atmospheric Technology Division aimed at weather issues involved in aviation safety. Today the division is one of the largest in NCAR with a staff of 180, comprised of 80 scientists, 65 software engineers/systems administrators, 20 managers and administrative staff, and 15 student assistants. Our total expenditures in FY04 were just over $23M, with more than $13M in modified total direct costs. Aviation weather still represents the majority of our work, but significant research, development and technology transfer efforts exist in other application areas such as national security, numerical weather prediction, hydrometeorology, and surface transportation. RAP is a vibrant program with both depth and great breadth, and I am pleased to present it to you in this year's Annual Scientific Report.

Accomplishments in 2004

The Annual Scientific Report presents an opportunity for reflection and consideration of the accomplishments of the Research Applications Program over the past year. Let me summarize a few of them.

In the aviation weather arena, RAP scientists and engineers developed and conducted initial testing of the SPolKa radar system which combines a Ka-band (0.86 cm) radar with ATD's SPol S-band (10 cm.) weather radar. This work was funded by the FAA and NSF and conducted in conjunction with ATD. A commercial prototype of the Weather Support to Deicing Decision Makers (WSDDM) system is now in full operational use at Denver International Airport and serves as a testbed for developing new products as well as obtaining user feedback. A new company, WSDM Technologies, Inc., has been formed to market, build, operate and maintain WSDDM systems at aviation facilities in the future. And, after years of scientific research and development, the operational prototype of the Juneau Airport Wind System was successfully evaluated and installed for testing at the Juneau, Alaska airport.

2004 saw significant expansion in our work for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to continued development of 4-Dimensional Weather Systems (4DWX) for U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command ranges, new programs for other DoD agencies and the Department of Homeland Security were launched. High-resolution analyses and forecasts of winds were created to aid in calculating the transport and dispersion of hazardous materials released into the atmosphere. Global Meteorology on Demand, a tool developed at RAP which allows a non-meteorologist to launch MM5 anywhere in the world, was used in support of counter-terrorist operations at the Athens Olympics. Also in 2004, an operational atmospheric-hazard assessment and prediction system to protect the Pentagon and its 25,000+ inhabitants was developed and tested at the Pentagon. This RAP-led effort includes collaboration with ATD, the University of Colorado, NOAA, and DARPA.

Closer to home, we continued to lead interdivisional activities associated with three NCAR strategic initiatives: Water Cycle Across Scales, the Wildland Fire Research and Development Collaboratory, and Geographic Information Systems. RAP scientists and engineers participate actively in these collaborative efforts, as well as in the Weather and Climate Impact Assessment initiative. 2004 also marked the start of the USWRP Societal Impacts Program, joined with ESIG, aimed at understanding the societal benefits of better weather information for end-users and policy makers.

RAP moves into 2005 as the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL), with NCAR's Developmental Testbed Center joining our ranks. As RAL we remain committed to conducting a comprehensive program of research, development and technology transfer in service to society.

- Brant Foote, Division Director


Director's Message |Table of Contents | Executive Summary |RAP Achievements
Education and Outreach | Community Service | Awards | Publications | People | ASR 2004 Home

National Center for Atmospheric Research University Corporation for Atmospheric Research National Science Foundation Annual Scientific Report - Home Atmospheric Chemistry Division Advanced Studies Program Atmospheric Chemistry Division Climate and Global Dynamics Division Environmental and Societal Impacts Group High Altitude Observatory Mesoscale & Microscale Meteorological Division Research Applications Program National Center for Atmospheric Research Scientific Computing Division