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Scientific Highlights | Fundamental Research | Enhancing Productivity | Protection of Life and Property
Education & Outreach | Additional Educational Activities | Publications | Community Service
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Scientific Highlights

Climate Projections, Uncertainty, and Scenarios for Impacts Assessment

This multidisciplinary workshop, organized by Linda Mearns and Warren Washington (CGD), brought together members of the impacts assessment community, decision makers, climate modelers, researchers of uncertainty and emissions scenarios, as well as representatives from various user agencies and programs. Held at NCAR on 17-19 July 2002, discussion centered around user-oriented climate projections and scenarios at the major climate modeling centers in the United States (NCAR, GFDL, and GISS). More than 75 participants assessed needs and opportunities in the generation of climate projections and scenarios, uncertainty in future climate projections, and also formulated a five-year Action Plan to accomplish the creation of a unified program for developing and distributing climate projections and scenarios in the United States. The workshop is on line at

The Crowded Greenhouse

The Crowded Greenhouse Book CoverA number of books have appeared recently that warn the reader of growing environmental problems, including species loss, freshwater shortages, widespread deforestation, air pollution, and climate change. Other books discuss societal problems, such as too-rapid population growth, increasing ethnic conflicts, voter apathy, and so forth. Although many copies are sold, they frequently leave readers with the feeling that, since there is no visible way to solve these problems, the best thing the reader can do is forget them or hope they will not become too dangerous during the reader's lifetime. John Firor and population policy expert Judith Jacobson adopt a different approach in a book completed and published in FY02 (The Crowded Greenhouse: Population, Climate Change, and Producing a Sustainable World). They select two growing global problems and examine possible solutions. More information on the book is available at

Flood Damage Data Reanalysis Project

Submerged Houses in Grand Forks, MinnesotaSerious floods occur in the United States every year. The President has declared more than twenty US flood-related disasters in 2002 alone. Damage estimates for floods can only be considered approximate, since no one agency in the United States has specific responsibility for collecting and evaluating detailed flood loss information. The National Weather Service (NWS) is the only organization that has maintained consistent long-term historical records of flood damage throughout the country. Mary Downton, Zoe Miller, and Roger Pielke, Jr. (Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, U. Colorado) have prepared a reanalysis of NWS flood damage estimates from 1926 to 2000. Objectives of the reanalysis were to (1) assemble a national database of historical flood damage, making it as complete and consistent as possible; (2) describe what the estimates represent; (3) evaluate the accuracy and consistency of the estimates; and (4) develop guidelines for use of the data and make it widely available to users. These data sets are available on an interactive website created by ESIG at, and a paper has been submitted for publication in FY03.

GIS in Weather, Climate, and Impacts

GIS ImageOlga Wilhelmi is the lead scientist of the NCAR-wide Geographic Information System (GIS) Strategic Initiative. She convened a multidisciplinary workshop in Boulder on 12-14 August 2002 on GIS in Weather, Climate, and Impacts in order to give participants an overview of current and potential use of GIS in meteorology and climatology. The workshop brought together more than 70 participants from NCAR, other universities, and private organizations to explore the capability of GIS as an integrating tool for scientific research and applications at NCAR and in the larger geosciences community. The format provided sessions and panel discussions, breakout sessions, state-of-the-art GIS software demonstrations, and poster presentations. A Summary of Results and Recommendations is available on line at

La Niña and Its Impacts: Facts and Speculation

La Nina and Its Impacts Book CoverIn 1998, Michael Glantz held the first-ever La Niña Summit at NCAR, bringing together researchers, forecasters, and users of La Niña forecasts to draw attention to the importance of improving our understanding of the La Niña phenomenon, the cold phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle. Although people have become familiar with El Niño and its impacts, La Niña is not so well known. A book based on that Summit, which presents updated information about La Niña, was published in FY02 by the United Nations University Press, La Niña and Its Impacts: Facts and Speculation. The book introduces the reader to the La Niña phenomenon, provides a view of the current state of scientific knowledge, presents case studies of La Niña impacts from around the globe, and examines the role of the media in reporting on ENSO, among other topics. More information on the book can be found at


Water, Climate, and Development Issues in the Amudarya Basin

Map of Rainfall Amounts In Central Asian RegionMichael Glantz convened an international, multidisciplinary workshop on Water, Climate, and Development Issues in the Amudarya Basin at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 18-19 June 2002. The overriding objective of this activity, sponsored by NOAA's Office of Global Programs and ESIG, has been to enhance understanding about climate, water, and equity interactions, with a special focus on a major river basin in Central Asia: the Amudarya. Deliberations at the meeting included, among other topics, formal and informal presentations on the setting of Afghanistan, the climate perspective in the area, water law and regional water scarcity, and identified equity issues within as well as among countries in the region. The figure shows distribution of annual precipitation for representative stations (click on the figure to enlarge). A full Summary of the report is available at


Table of Contents | Director's Message
Scientific Highlights | Fundamental Research | Enhancing Productivity | Protection of Life and Property
Education & Outreach | Additional Educational Activities | Publications | Community Service
Staff, Visitors and Collaborators