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2004 Division Highlights

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ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY DIVISION

Long-range Transport of CO Emissions from Russian Fires

Studying satellite data on global air pollution levels, David Edwards and MOPITT team members at NCAR and other institutions noticed an unusual surge in CO concentrations in late 2002 and early 2003 that affected the entire Northern Hemisphere. Further analysis pointed to two Russian sources: massive peat fires smoldered near Moscow in the late summer and fall of 2002, and unusually intense Siberian wildfires broke out in the spring and summer of 2003. During the peat fires, Russian colleagues working with spectrometer data from the Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Moscow (Leonid Yurganov and Evgeny I. Grechko) took air quality measurements from Moscow and a nearby site at Zvenigorod. This ground-based research was combined with observations of atmospheric pollutants from two instruments on the Terra satellite: CO levels from MOPITT, and aerosol optical depth from MODIS. The results showed that smoke and pollutants from the fires had been carried over much of the Northern Hemisphere, affecting CO levels as far away as North America.

Edwards and colleagues also looked at the impact of emissions from Siberia and other parts of eastern Russia. Massive fires in the giant boreal forests and on the tundra, often started by farmers, typically rage throughout the spring and summer. The 2003 fire season was particularly intense. Satellite data showed plumes from Asia following the jet stream, with high levels of CO crossing the Pacific Ocean, reaching western Canada, and traveling down to the U.S. East Coast-evidence of the global impacts of large-scale fires (Figure 1).

Figure 1: In the spring of 2003, the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite detected a large number of fires in Siberia, especially in the Baikal region (top). These fires produced large amounts of fine carbon aerosol, also detected by MODIS, that spread over the Pacific Ocean but lasted only a few days (center). They also produced CO, which was detected by the MOPITT (bottom). CO can last over a month, which allowed it to cross the Pacific Ocean and reduce air quality over North America before continuing on around the globe.

Quantification of Tropospheric Aerosols over China using Satellite Data

Stephen Massie used satellite measurements to quantify tropospheric aerosols and pollution and their variability over time. An analysis of Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) satellite data showed a significant increase (up to 17.3%) in tropospheric aerosols over China and India during 1980-2000 (Figure 2). These increases were expected, due to large increases in population and SO2 emissions (converted to sulfate aerosols) in China and India, but this is the first study to quantify the changes based on satellite observations. This analysis was in collaboration with Omar Torres (Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) and Steven Smith (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute).

Figure 2: Winter averages of TOMS total aerosol optical depths, averaged for consecutive months from November through February for the China coastal plain and the Gobi desert. Aerosols over the Gobi desert are mainly due to desert dust, while aerosols over the coastal plain have a large contribution from sulfate. Linear fits and decadal trends are indicated.

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ADVANCED STUDY PROGRAM

The Advanced Study Program is pleased to highlight the Junior Faculty Forum and two summer colloquia held in the summer of 2004.

Junior Faculty Forum

ASP supported the Early Career Scientists Assembly second annual Junior Faculty Forum on 23-25 June 2004. This year 40 participants from 19 universities and institutions of the U.S., Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom discussed the sun-climate connection and the role of coastal zones in global biogeochemistry. New this year, the ECSA invited representatives of the National Science Foundation and NASA to discuss issues regarding funding opportunities, grants and ethics.

Summer Colloquia

ASP co-hosted two summer colloquia in 2004. The first, on atmospheric remote sensing using the global positioning system (GPS), was held from 21 June to 2 July 2004, coordinated with the UCAR Office of Program’s COSMIC program, and organized by Ying-Hwa Kuo (NCAR/UCAR), Chris Rocken and Sergey Sokolovskiy (both of UCAR), E. Robert Kursinski (University of Arizona), and George Hajj (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). This two-week colloquium brought together 51 student participants and 31 lecturers for tutorials and discussion sessions. The students represented 36 universities and institutions from 11 countries and the 18 outside lecturers came from 12 universities and institutions plus an additional 13 lecturers from within NCAR/UCAR, so the colloquium had a strong international character. Following the colloquium, 10 U.S. students, under the sponsorship of the NSF International Programs grant, participated in a special 10-day field trip to visit key GPS atmospheric remote sensing facilities in Taiwan and Japan, including the National Space Program Office of Taiwan and the Meteorological Research Institute and the Geological Survey Institute of Japan.

The second colloquium was held 21-28 July 2004 on climate and health and was coordinated by Linda Mearns of the NCAR Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, Doug Nychka of the NCAR Geophysical Statistics Project and Jonathan Patz of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Thirty-one lecturers from 16 organizations and universities of the U.S. and the United Kingdom presented talks and hands-on interactive exercises to the 43 participants representing 26 universities and institutions of the U.S., Canada, Germany, Austria, Kenya, Israel, Spain, the West Indies and the United Kingdom.

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ATMOSPHERIC TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

Carbon in the Mountain Experiment (CME)

CME Deployment - ISFF and C130The overarching objective of NCAR’s Biogeosciences Initiative is to incorporate relevant aspects of the biological sciences into geophysics and atmospheric research. In FY04, ATD has contributed in a number of ways to the objectives outlined in the Initiative, which is a 5-year NSF-funded collaborative project involving the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, University of Miami as well as NCAR’s ATD, CGD and MMM.

For the Carbon in the Mountains Experiment (CME), conducted at the Niwot Ridge Research Site, ATD deployed instrumentation to investigate the local forest CO2 exchange. These observations will be used to resolve the atmospheric transport of CO2 in order to accurately measure the net ecosystem carbon exchange, and as input to a regional-scale data-assimilation model to improve our understanding of the processes controlling carbon cycling by mountain forests.

ATD developed an autonomous, inexpensive, and robust CO2 analyzer [AIRCOA]. RAF’s Britt Stephens constructed 4 AIRCOA units after our initial design testing and deployed three of these in the field during the CME campaign. Diagnostics and Results. A key component in the robustness of these analyzers is near real-time data processing with extensive automated diagnostic tests to verify normal operation, with new results available from a web interface every day. In addition, ATD conducted the first Airborne Carbon in the Mountains Experiment (ACME I) in May and July of this year to explore methods for constraining regional-scale CO2 fluxes over complex terrain and to collect measurements useful for devising and testing strategies for long-term monitoring of these fluxes.

Raman-Shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL)

REAL Pentagon DeploymentFY04 saw exceptional advances for REAL. REAL now stands as a uniquely capable eye-safe aerosol and atmospheric structure detecting system, capable of both long range (up to 10km) and fine scale sensing (as small as 3 m features can be detected over full range). Its eye-safe design and relatively high laser power per laser pulse provides a flexibility unique in lidar systems. REAL's defining strength is that it can be deployed in support of scientific field experiments without concern for population density or aircraft presence. As a result of this capability REAL is participating in plume identification testing in support of a potential homeland security application scanning heavily populated areas. As a testament to the wisdom of the choice to develop a lidar in the eye-safe wavelength band, REAL is poised to further evolve into a system that can detect water vapor concentration, Doppler or structure-tracking-basded velocity, carbon dioxide concentration and methane concentration. This development has resulted in multiple patent filings, peer-reviewed publications and was recently honored with the cover of the optics journal, Applied Optics, and, finally, has been nominated for Outstanding Accomplishment Award for Scientific and Technical Advancement.

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CLIMATE AND GLOBAL DYNAMICS

Release of CCSM 3.0

Scientists in the Climate and Global Dynamics (CGD) Division, with strong external collaboration, spent much of the past year improving the Community Climate System Model (CCSM). Enhancements to versatility and sophistication have been made in all individual model components: atmosphere, land, ocean and sea ice. The latest version of the model, CCSM3, is being used to unravel the complex interactions and feedbacks among climate, atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem dynamics under past, present, and potential future conditions. An extensive suite of CCSM3 simulations (Figure 1) was made for the next major assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  These simulations were not only done at NCAR, but at several Department of Energy (DOE) labs as well as the Earth Simulator in Japan. Such collaborations allowed for larger ensembles of simulations at higher resolution for longer periods of time than would have otherwise been possible. The IPCC integrations also include provisions for model data needed by groups interested in impacts, mitigation, and regional modeling at high resolution.

Figure 1: The CCSM3 DOE/NSF IPCC scenario runs as of October 4, 2004 . Observed forcings (solar, volcanoes, greenhouse gases, sulfate aerosols, carbon aerosols, and ozone) are used during the historical period, from years 1870-2000. A variety of future forcing scenarios (20th century freeze, B1, A1B, and A2) are used from years 2000-2200 to simulate the most likely range of future climates. Two of the commitment scenarios (A1B and B1) will be executed out to year 2300.

Climate Diagnostics: The role of tropical oceans in regional climate change

With sponsorship from NSF and NOAA, CGD scientists have found slow (multi-decadal) variations in tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) to be important forcings of Northern Hemisphere extratropical climate change over the last half-century. The atmospheric circulation changes include the trend in the leading spatial structure of Atlantic variability, known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and decadal-scale climate fluctuations over the North Pacific Ocean and adjacent continents that have substantial impacts upon society and marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The origin of the North Pacific climate variations has been under considerable debate, with some theories proposing a middle latitude origin involving the ocean gyre circulation and others involving air-sea interaction in the tropics. The recent work (Figure 2) provides the strongest evidence to date that the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans play an integral role in decadal-scale climate variability over the North Pacific and adjacent continents during boreal winter months.  In particular, the decadal variability is present in many different variables and indices: note especially the high correlations of North Pacific sea level pressure (SLP) with tropical Indian and Pacific Ocean precipitation, cloud, and SST.

Figure 2: Various Indo-Pacific climate indices and their correlation (1900-1999) with seal level pressure (SLP) area-averaged over the North Pacific Ocean (November-March). The North Pacific interdecadal variability has significant impacts on North American climate. From Deser et al. (2004).

 

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ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIETAL IMPACTS GROUP

Summer Colloquium on Climate and Health

A Summer Colloquium on Climate and Health, sponsored by ESIG, NCAR's Strategic Initiative on the Science of Weather and Climate Impact Assessment, and NCAR's Advanced Studies Program, brought together 31 senior experts and 30 international graduate and postgraduate students from 21-28 July 2004 to shape a program for research and professional training in climate and health. Linda Mearns and Johns Hopkins scientist Jonathan Patz invited health scientists and students to an intensive series of lectures and hands-on computer labs, which helped students and scientists learn more about the conceptual and methodological challenges for defining the possible effects of climate change on health. Top NCAR climatologists and statisticians, along with health scientists from the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Johns Hopkins University, and other institutions around the globe presented selected case studies (e.g., heat mortality and vector-borne diseases). Statistical methods, such as time-series analysis and extreme value theory, demonstrated ways to analyze climate data. Modelers and risk assessment experts taught integrated modeling and strategies to communicate scientific findings and uncertainties. This event was the first step in a long-term program integrating climate and health recommended by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council. For more information, see the website at www.asp.ucar.edu/colloquium/2004/CH/.

"Communicating Urgency, Facilitating Social Change: New Strategies for Climate Change" Workshop

More than 40 participants from different disciplines convened in Boulder on 8-11 June 2004 to exchange ideas about ways to achieve successful communication between the climate science and climate policy communities. The workshop on Communicating Urgency, Facilitating Social Change: New Strategies for Climate Change was designed to maximize communication among participants from different fields. Organized by Lisa Dilling and Susi Moser of ESIG and sponsored by NSF and the MacArthur Foundation, the workshop explored ways to improve the exchange of information and ideas between different disciplines, took stock of what is known in pertinent fields and identified connections between them, and developed a research and action agenda within the context of climate change. Workshop participants and other invited experts are currently writing an edited volume on climate change communication and social change. The book will highlight effective strategies for communication and for facilitating social change at all levels and in all sectors of society. The book is currently scheduled to be released in late 2005. An article on the workshop, written by Moser and Dilling, appeared in Environment in December 2004. For more information, see the website at www.esig.ucar.edu/changeworkshop/.

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HIGH ALTITUDE OBSERVATORY

The NCAR/HAO Fabry-Perot Interferometer at Resolute Bay

NCAR HAO operates a state-of-the-art Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) at the Early Polar Cap Observatory (EPCO) in Resolute Bay to observe mesospheric, lower thermospheric, and upper thermospheric neutral wind, temperature, and airglow brightness. The EPCO FPI observations provide evidence of high latitude planetary, tidal, and gravity wave activity. In the accompanying illustration the 87-km results provide clear evidence of strong 8-hour wave activity in the upper mesosphere during 9-10 October 2003. Qian Wu and colleagues noted that he shift in phase (i.e., time of maximum perturbation) between the temperature and the brightness oscillations is consistent with the behavior of a terdiurnal tide.

 

Coupled Magnetosphere Ionosphere Thermosphere Model

Under the auspices of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling, the NCAR HAO TISO team coupled the Lyon-Fedder-Mobarry (LFM) magnetospheric model to a high-resolution version of the thermosphere-ionosphere nested grid (TING) model. Michael Wiltberger, Webin Wang, and Alan Burns led the development of this coupled model known as CMIT. The CMIT coupling involves passing the fluxes, the characteristic energy of precipitating particles, and the high latitude convection pattern from the LFM to the TING model. The TING model then uses these inputs to recalculate ionospheric conductivities and the high latitude electric potential. Thereafter, the potential is used to advance the magnetospheric solution in the LFM. This coupling process is nonlinear in that the calculation of the conductivities depends upon the electric potential. An accompanying animation illustrates some results from a CMIT simulation, including the dynamic response of the magnetosphere to a solar coronal mass ejection and the associated magnetic cloud which propagates toward the Earth. The insert illustrates the enhanced auroral production over the North Pole in the Earth's ionosphere in response to the ensuing geomagnetic storm.

Evolution of solar magnetic fields in a predictive Flux-transport Dynamo Model

An HAO team led by Dikpati has recently built a model, based on physical simulations for the first time, that can predict the upcoming sunspot cycle features. Sunspots appear approximately every 11 years. Sunspots have been observed for over 2000 years, but the spot-count started in 1750. The exact period and strength of the solar cycle have always been difficult to predict.

The HAO team demonstrated that the surface flow patterns in the Sun, like winds on the Earth, have a profound effect on the deep interior of the star. Sunspots are tied to the solar magnetic field, which is generated by motions deep inside the Sun, interacting with a global surface flow from the equator to the poles. The solar cycle period and strength are determined by the surface flow. Using the observed flow pattern since 1996 until the present, HAO team predicts that the onset of the upcoming cycle 24 will be in late 2007 or in early 2008, with 6-12 months' delay compared to normal start of a cycle.

 

 

The Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter (CoMP)

The Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter (CoMP) is filter-based polarimeter optimized for the measurement of magnetic fileds in the solar corona. The instrument observes the coronal emission lines of FeXIII at 1074.7 and 1079.8 nm as well as the chromospheric HeI emission line at 1083 nm. The instrument consists of a polarimeter allowing complete Stokes I,Q,U,V measurement followed by a Lyot birefringent filter with dual passbands to measure simultaneously the coronal emission and background signals. Both the polarimeter and filter employ liquid crystals for rapid electro-optical tuning.

The circular polarization signal (Stokes V) in the vicinity of the emission lines carries information about the line-of-sight component of the magnetic field through the Zeeman effect. Linear polarization signal (Stokes Q and U) provides information on the plane-of-sky magnetic fielddirection through the resonance scattering of the plasma. The line-of-sight component of the plasma can also be measured precisely through the Doppler effect.

This instrument was deployed to the 20-cm "Coronal One Shot" coronagraph at NSO's Sacramento Peak Observatory in January of 2004. Measurements of solar prominences and the corona were obtained during observing runs in March and May of 2004.

 

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MESOSCALE AND MICROSCALE METEOROLOGY

WRF Hurricane Ivan Track Prediction

Click on hurricane image to play animation.

MMM scientists conducted a series of real-time forecasts of hurricanes during the 2004 season (Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne) using the updated capabilities of the Weather Research Forecast Model (WRF). Results show that WRF forecasts exhibit realistic structure and intensity from coarse initial data without bogusing. The WRF hurricane track forecasts have accuracy similar to or better than the current operational models, and moving nested grids yield high-resolution forecasts with greatly enhanced efficiency (smaller fine-grid domains). The WRF model is being developed as a collaborative effort with NOAA/NCEP, NOAA/FSL, AFWA, NRL, CAP at U of OK, and the FAA. Significant research was carried out in FY2004 including collaborations with the UK Met Office, U of Munich (Germany), Yonsei U (Seoul, Korea), U of CA at Davis, Hebrew U of Jerusalem (Israel), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Iowa State U, San Francisco State U, U of WA, and Ohio State U. Interdivisional collaborations included ASP, RAP and CGD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OHATS: The Ocean Horizontal Array Turbulence Study

MMM scientists planned, implemented and carried out the Ocean Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (OHATS) utilizing an air-sea interaction tower operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. This field campaign was held off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard from August through September 2004 and led to the collection of 2000 hours of turbulence and wave data from 18 sonic anemometers and 3 laser altimeters. In collaboration with ATD and Penn State University, MMM scientists constructed subfilter-scale (LES) fluxes in the marine surface layer and examined the couplings between atmospheric turbulence and surface gravity waves, using the OHATS and HATS databases to build new subgrid scale parameterizations for LES (large-eddy simulations). Further information, including a gallery of photographs and preliminary data, can be found at: http://www.atd.ucar.edu/rtf/projects/OHATS04

 

 

 

 

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RESEARCH APPLICATIONS PROGRAM

Maintenance Decision Support System

In 2002, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) launched a scientific research and development program aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of winter road maintenance operations. Its goal was to bridge the gap between existing information systems that merely monitored road conditions and the needs of its operations and maintenance personnel for true decision support in fighting snow and ice on the nation's highways. Development of a new decision support system was entrusted to a consortium of five national laboratories - NCAR, NOAA/FSL, NOAA/NSSL, MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL), and the Cold Regions Researchand Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) - each of which had specialized winter weather expertise. NCAR/RAP was chosen to lead the project and was tasked with the development of the operational concept, system design, software development, integration, testing, verification, dissemination, technology transfer and outreach of what would become the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS). Photo courtesy of Morris Richardson II, Detroit News.

Working with limited budgets over the past two years, the development team designed and built the MDSS, operationally demonstrated the system in field campaigns in Iowa and Minnesota, and in 2004 successfully transferred the system to the stakeholder community comprised of representatives from FHWA, State Departments of Transportation, commercial weather services, universities, and national laboratories within and outside the U.S.

The MDSS represents the first successful integration of advanced weather and road condition prediction systems, numerical model output, chemical concentration algorithms, and anti-icing and de-icing rules of practice in a single decision support system. It is a scientifically-based, user-tailored guidance system that allows DOT personnel to better understand and plan for the interplay of complex variables (e.g., road and bridge temperatures, precipitation type, chemical type and concentration) and their own anti-icing and de-icing decisions. State Departments of Transportation officials who have used the system conclude that MDSS is changing the paradigm for the control of snow and ice on roadways. Iowa DOT officials, for example, indicated that the MDSS would conservatively save their state approximately 10% of their annual winter maintenance budget - a savings of $650,000 to $1,000,000 per year. Extrapolating this to all of the states that perform winter road maintenance, the savings could be in the $10s of millions per year.

In developing the MDSS, significant scientific and technical advances were made in five areas: 1) Operational use of an ensemble of high resolution models running on an hourly update cycle using a "hot start" diabatic initialization process; 2) Refinement and implementation of a heat balance model tailored for road temperature and road condition prediction; 3) Further development and implementation of the Dynamic, Integrated Forecast System (DICast) for use in the Road Weather Forecast System (RWFS) for the MDSS; 4) Development of a road condition and treatment module that generates anti-icing and de-icing treatment recommendations specific to each plow route based on chemistry and physics; and 5) An aggressive technology transfer and outreach effort to put the new technologies into the hands of the transportation community.

The MDSS effort is also significant for advancing the need for a national surface transportation research and development program. This multidisciplinary program has bridged a longstanding gap between the meteorological research, civil engineering, and surface transportation communities, demonstrating that weather technologies can and should be an integral part of new transportation systems and programs.

Convectively-Induced Turbulence (CIT)

Deep convective clouds generate turbulence both in-cloud and out-of-cloud. The latter phenomenon, out-of-cloud convectively-induced turbulence (CIT), is poorly understood. A recent study by Lane et al. (2003) examined a single case of above cloud CIT, and found that it was possible for the turbulence to extend far above the convective cloud. It was also shown that the turbulence was due to breaking gravity waves aloft, and the breaking of these waves was controlled in part by the wind shear above cloud top. The results of the Lane et al. study also suggested that the current FAA guidelines for above cloud CIT avoidance may be insufficient to avoid turbulence in all cases.


In 2004 RAP scientists Todd Lane and Robert Sharman expanded the results of the Lane et al. simulations to provide more general conclusions. Specifically a series of high-resolution numerical simulations with background flow conditions, including wind speed, wind shear, and stability, were systematically varied to evaluate their effect on the turbulence generation processes. The figures above show a sample from the simulation results. Turbulence, as measured by the subgrid turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), obviously extends to high altitudes above the cloud. Preliminary results suggest that:

  • The vertical extent of turbulence, and area of turbulence above convection may be approximately inversely proportional to the lower-stratospheric stability.

  • The wind speed of the cloud-top jet does not necessarily affect the area or intensity of turbulence above the cloud, but controls the processes that generate the turbulence (i.e., in low-wind speed cases, the turbulence is derived from propagating waves, and in high-wind speed cases, the turbulence is derived from breaking waves). However, the contribution of the propagating waves may be different in a three-dimensional model.

  • When the maximum wind speed is constant, high wind shear inhibits deep turbulent layers, and some (moderate) wind shears provide optimum conditions for turbulence to develop over deep layers above cloud top.

Further work is planned for next year to extend the parameter space of simulations to include cases of less intense and shallower convection, and more highly-sheared wind profiles.

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SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING DIVISION

Climate Modeling for IPCC

Phase III of the current Advanced Research Computing System (ARCS) was placed in service in FY2004, increasing net computing capacity by two teraflops. Phase III of ARCS expanded the IBM Cluster 1600 system (bluesky) by fourteen 32-way p690 Symmetric Multi-Processor (SMP) servers. Bluesky is now comprised of 50 POWER4 38 Regatta-H Turbo frames, making it the single largest system of this type in the world.

Twelve of these new servers were initially dedicated to NCAR's participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This new supercomputing capability proved essential in completing the IPCC simulations with the high-resolution version of the new Community Climate Simulation Model (CCSM3). Long control simulations, numerous historical recreations, and a wide range of future scenarios were carried out with NCAR's flagship coupled climate model at much finer horizontal resolutions than has ever been possible before.

Model predictions of future global temperatures

The graph shows average global temperature change scenarios that were computed during the IPCC runs on bluesky. The amber line (20thC freeze) shows the temperature trend associated with no change in current worldwide emissions of anthropogenic aerosols. The other three lines show model predictions for other aerosol emission scenarios.

Strong support by SCD staff allowed the CCSM group to run continuously throughout the experiment period, even during determined hacker attacks. The results of this experiment are now being analyzed by NCAR scientists, and the data are being distributed freely to the global climate change research community in time for the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report.

Bluesky contributed over 25 centuries of simulated climate to the IPCC effort -- more than half of all IPCC computing during this campaign. At the conclusion of the IPCC campaign in late FY2004, the 14 new p690 nodes were released to the community to augment SCD's computing capacity for all users. The current aggregate peak capacity of NCAR's supercomputing facility is now 12.1 teraflops distributed across six SMP computers.

Computing Security and Divisional Threat Response

In response to a major cybersecurity incident that involved multiple high-performance computing sites in March 2004, SCD rapidly developed and deployed a long-term solution for protecting the supercomputing and mass storage systems at NCAR. SCD now requires one-time password tokens, arbitrated via encryption devices issued to all users, to access these systems. Security procedures were updated and published to provide all users with guidelines and instructions for working within the secure supercomputing environment.

One of the problems encountered during the March 2004 incidents was a lack of effective communication among the affected institutions. SCD proposed a conference to bring together stakeholders from the nation's research and high-performance computing centers to prepare a coordinated response for future incidents.

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), SCD planned, organized, and hosted a two-day Cybersecurity Summit near Washington D.C. Attended by over 120 cybersecurity experts from some of the nation's leading research institutions, the summit explored the competing needs of having an open, collaborative research environment while protecting the security and integrity of its computing and data assets.

Sites participating in the Cybersecurity Summit

The map shows the locations of the sites participating in the Cybersecurity Summit. This broad-based collaboration aims to coordinate strong response plans for threats against research computing and data.

Cybersecurity Summit 2004 was the first step in laying the foundation for responding to future large-scale security breaches and reducing the disruptive impact of such incidents on the nation's research agenda. These research institutions are increasing their cooperation on security policies, procedures, and incident response to better protect the nation's scientific computing and data resources.

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