National Center for Atmospheric Research
DirectorEverette Joseph[1]
StaffNearly 1,400[2]
LocationBoulder, Colorado, United States
39°58′41″N 105°16′30″W / 39.97815°N 105.27492°W / 39.97815; -105.27492 Edit this at Wikidata

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR /ˈɛnkɑːr/)[3] is a US federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).[4] NCAR has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. Studies include meteorology, climate science, atmospheric chemistry, solar-terrestrial interactions, environmental and societal impacts.

Tools and technologies

NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V research aircraft.

NCAR was instrumental in developing lidar, light radar, now a key archaeological tool, as well as providing a broad array of tools and technologies to the scientific community for studying Earth's atmosphere, including,[5][6]

Staffing areas and notable past and present scientists

The center is staffed by scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel.[4] Key research areas include:[8]

Notable scientists on the current staff at the center include Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Clara Deser, and Caspar Ammann,[9][better source needed] and in past have included Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize in chemistry, 1995); Paul Julian, who with colleague Roland Madden discovered the Madden–Julian oscillation; Stephen Schneider . Greg Holland initiated the multiscale modeling project "Predicting the Earth System Across Scales".[10]

Organization of research—laboratories and programs

NCAR is currently organized into seven laboratories and two programs:[11]



NCAR's service to the universities and larger geosciences community is reinforced by the offerings of UCAR's community programs.[12][13]

Funding and management

NCAR is managed by the nonprofit UCAR and is one of the NSF's Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, with approximately 95% of its funding coming from the federal government. However, it is not a federal agency and its employees are not part of the federal personnel system.[3] NCAR employs about 761 staff. Its annual expenditures in fiscal year 2015 were $167.8 million.[3][14]

NCAR directors

The founding director of NCAR was Walter Orr Roberts.[15] The current director is Everette Joseph.[16][4]

NCAR Director Dates in office
Walter Orr Roberts 1960–1968
John W. Firor 1968–1974
Francis P. Bretherton 1974–1980
Wilmot N. Hess 1980–1986
Richard A. Anthes 1986–1988
Robert Serafin 1989–2000
Timothy L. Killeen 2000–2008
Eric J. Barron 2008–2010
Roger M. Wakimoto 2010–2013
Maura Hagan 2013 (interim director)
James W. Hurrell 2013–2018
Everette Joseph 2019–present


Scientific visitors

NCAR has many opportunities for scientific visits to the facilities for workshops, colloquia, and collaboration by colleagues in academia, government labs, and the private sector.[17] Many NCAR staff also visit colleagues at universities and labs and serve as adjunct or visiting faculty.[13][17]

Public tours

The Visitor Center at the Mesa Laboratory is open to the public daily at no charge. Guided tours and self-guided tablet tours include video and audio on one of the first supercomputers built by Seymour Cray as well as NCAR's modern supercomputer fleet, many hands-on educational exhibits demonstrating weather phenomena and the changes in Earth's climate brought on by global warming, and a scenic outdoor weather trail.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Leadership | University Corporation for Atmospheric Research". Retrieved 2024-04-26.
  2. ^ "Staff | University Corporation for Atmospheric Research". Retrieved 2024-04-26.
  3. ^ a b c Quick Facts about NCAR & UCAR
  4. ^ a b c "New Director of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research Rose Through the Ranks". July 31, 2013.
  5. ^ NCAR Research & Resources
  6. ^ National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences)
  7. ^ "CISL's NCAR Command Language (NCL)". UCAR.
  8. ^ Atmospheric & Earth System Research: NCAR research topics, 2008, accessed 2010-06-22. Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XVIII.
  10. ^ M. Gad-el-Hak Large Scale Disasters Prediction Control and Mitigation 2008 "was initiated by Greg Holland"
  11. ^ a b "NCAR's Clickable Organization Chart". Archived from the original on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  12. ^ "UCAR Community Programs". Archived from the original on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  13. ^ a b UCAR Highlights
  14. ^ NCAR Annual Report
  15. ^ NCAR Directors
  16. ^ Hosansky, David (December 7, 2018). "Everette Joseph is named NCAR director". NCAR & UCAR News. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  17. ^ a b Visitor Programs – Opportunities for Scientific Visitors & Students