of Contents | Director's Message | Executive
Advanced Institute on Urbanization, Emissions, and the Global Carbon Cycle
For three weeks in August 2003 (4-22 August), 18 outstanding natural and social scientists, engineers, and urban planners from 12 countries (Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda) were invited to NCAR to examine the interaction of cities with their environments, particularly emissions of both long-lived greenhouse gases and short-lived polluting gases and particulates. This Advanced Institute is the second in a series implemented by START (the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training) that aims to enhance early- to mid-career professionals from developing countries to play a leadership role in key issues of global environmental change and sustainable development. Sponsored by NCAR and START, and supported by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change, this Advanced Institute emphasized trans-disciplinary thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration. Curriculum topics during the intensive seminar session in Boulder included: (1) conceptual frameworks for the study of urban ecosystems and urban metabolism; (2) methodologies for estimating and measuring emissions of greenhouse gases from metropolitan regions and their application in developing regions; (3) socioeconomic factors that control urban emissions; (4) institutions and incentive/disincentive systems for managing urban carbon and greenhouse gas emissions; (5) innovative technologies and their potential impact on emissions; and (6) future trajectories of urban emissions as a component of the global carbon cycle. More information is available on the website.
During FY03, Katz continued maintenance of the website for the American Meteorological Society Committee on Probability and Statistics. He redesigned and updated this site, whose purpose is to promote the sound use of statistical methods in the atmospheric sciences. www.esig.ucar.edu/ams
This comprehensive website categorizes recent case studies of the value of weather and climate forecasts and is maintained and updated by Richard Katz. Originally developed by Shelly Knight (U Colorado, now RAP), its scope is focused on prescriptive studies that obtain quantitative estimates of forecast value. Katz continued to update the site regularly during FY03. www.esig.ucar.edu/HP_rick/esig.html
Michael Glantz's notion of Climate Affairs continued to develop during FY03. Glantz has been working with Columbia University's Earth Institute to establish a Climate Affairs master's program. Such a program is in the final stages of university approval and is scheduled to begin in the fall semester of 2004 as a "Climate and Society" Master's program. Following a keynote lecture at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok in 2002 on "El Niño Affairs" and subsequent discussions, AIT has also decided to develop a Climate Affairs education program. Work continues with the United Nations University and NCAR in bringing to fruition an education and training program on Climate Affairs in Malaysia at the University of Malaya. A program is expected to begin by the summer of 2004. Two spin-off activities include Water Affairs and Weather Affairs, which will be developed during FY04 with the appropriate academic institutions. Additionally, Glantz published a book about Climate Affairs (see below) with Island Press that outlines the need for this concentration of study. For more information about Climate Affairs, see the ESIG Alert on the topic.
Shannon McNeeley is working on initiating a Climate Affairs education and outreach program with the Alaska Native Science Commission and the University of Alaska. It will focus on the impacts of climate and environmental changes in Alaska, with a particular focus on Alaska natives. This program combines knowledge and techniques from western science and from indigenous traditional knowledge and wisdom. Begun in FY03, this project will continue through FY04.
The idea to look at climate and climate-related issues through the multidisciplinary lens of Climate Affairs has been catalyzed by the spirit of the times: an obvious growing concern about a broad range of climate-related issues that affect society and the environment. In May 2003, after more than two years of preparation, Island Press published Climate Affairs: A Primer. Stimulated by the notion of Marine Affairs, a multidisciplinary activity that emerged during the negotiations to establish a "Law of the Sea" in the post-World War II period, Climate Affairs is designed to foster a multidisciplinary "Law of the Atmosphere" in the twenty-first century. Basically, this program fosters the training of educators and professionals in six areas: Climate Science, Climate Impacts on Ecosystems and Societies, Climate Policy and Law, Climate Politics, Climate Economics, and Climate Ethics and Equity. Establishing a Climate Affairs program will enable undergraduate as well as graduate students to concentrate their educational training in areas of research, impact assessment, and policy implications that center on climate and climate-related issues. They will be better prepared than those without such training to work in various disciplinary areas such as industry, agriculture, fisheries, mining, insurance, education, health, civil defense, government agencies, and disaster prevention. See the website for more information.
The history of the earth's climate is a major focus of the Climate Discovery exhibit unveiled in June in the Mesa Lab. Linda Mearns, along with Caspar Ammann and Bette Otto-Bleisner of CGD, and Roberta Johnson and Susan Foster (both of E&O) have joined forces to outline a plan and draft preliminary content addressing the period of the Little Ice Age. Through this effort, ESIG will be the first NCAR division to focus E&O resources on building a prototype K-12 teachers' resource guide about a topic featured in an NCAR Mesa Lab exhibit. Products to date include an outline for an overall Climate Discovery Teachers' Guide and Little Ice Age section, draft content describing the Little Ice Age, lists of hands-on activities, a concept for an interactive electronic and three-dimensional global greenhouse-gas model that might be developed for the exhibit, and links to related websites. Scientists and UCAR staff are also exploring how this content can be incorporated into Mesa Lab classroom presentations and disseminated locally and remotely to the E&O website.
The Economics of Climate Variability and Global Change list (Clim-Econ) is a moderated electronic discussion group, created and managed by Kathleen Miller, which serves to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion on the economic aspects of climate variability and change. The initial subscribers included the participants in the Institute on the Economics of the Climate Resource held at NCAR in June 1995. The list currently has more than 500 subscribers from around the world, including individuals with a variety of backgrounds and professional affiliations. csf.colorado.edu/clim-econ/
During FY03, Seth McGinnis and Eric Scharff joined the Disaster Dynamics project. The team has created several computer-based simulation prototypes targeted at undergraduate emergency management education. In addition to creating new tools, the team has researched and facilitated existing games to encourage systems-thinking skills. The primary prototype emphasizes the planning and consensus-building surrounding hurricane mitigation and the consequences of those decisions. The team has presented work at emergency management education workshops and is working with users to design the learning modules. The goal for FY04 is to test prototypes with users and refine the game content and structure. Prototypes and documentation can be found on the project website.
Robert Harriss and Shannon McNeeley began a collaboration in FY02 with universities, colleges, and communities along the Texas-Mexico border on a strategy for an "educational alliance" or "virtual college" dedicated to environmental research, education, and professional training. During FY03, Susan Foster (E&O) joined the team. Focus has expanded to developing tools, training, and support needed to enrich the region's middle school early science curriculum through access to community-based and real-time data about severe weather, climate, and the impact of climate change. Partners now include representatives from U Texas Brownsville-Texas Southernmost College (UTB-TSC), Brownsville School District, City of Brownsville, ENLACE-BASE program based at UTB-TSC, ESRI, USGS, the Texas Natural Resources Information System, and faculty at U Texas-Austin. Grant proposals are being developed to support this endeavor. ESIG's goal is to facilitate collaboration and to provide opportunities and infrastructure for faculty and student career development in border universities, colleges, and communities. The long-term outcome of this program will be an enhanced capacity for increased Hispanic representation in professional careers in the natural, engineering, and social sciences.
Michael Glantz continues to maintain a website of environmental editorials since the late 1990s. He wrote a column for the Boulder Daily Camera for six years and the Boulder Planet for two years thereafter. He then established this website focused primarily on climate-society-environment issues. It includes guest editorials, an Idea Bank, and other editorials on a wide range of climate-related topics. At present, this website receives approximately 6,000 "hits" per week and is growing. www.fragilecologies.com
Richard Katz serves as co-Principal Investigator, along with Joe Tribbia (CGD) and Doug Nychka (GSP) on a five-year grant (renewal started in FY99) from the National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences for a GSP Program at NCAR. Nychka serves as the project leader of GSP. The FY03 accomplishments of the GSP are included under the FY03 ASR section for the Climate and Global Dynamics Division (CGD).
Newsletter has been published quarterly in ESIG for the past nineteen
years. This international, multidisciplinary newsletter was combined in
January 2003 with the ENSO Signal, which
is intended for those interested in the ENSO cycle and its impacts on
ecosystems and societies. The newsletter fosters a network of those interested
in climate-related impact assessment. The ENSO Signal was originally published
at NOAA's Office of Global Programs and has been published in ESIG since
January 2000. Michael Glantz, Editor, and D. Jan Stewart, Managing Editor,
continue to work on networking research centers, nongovernmental organizations,
universities, institutes, and individuals in the production of these publications.
The online version of the ENSO Signal receives hundreds of "hits"
every month and continues to grow its list of electronic subscribers.
The printed version of the Newsletter is sent to more than 1,500 foreign
subscribers and more than 2,000 domestic subscribers, who contribute articles,
publications, and meeting news to the Managing Editor. NCAR continues
to support the combined publication, which is distributed free of charge,
and both versions are available in electronic format.
Statistics of Weather and Climate Extremes
Richard Katz designed
a website on the statistics of weather and climate extremes. Besides being
a gateway to the "Extremes
Toolkit" (part of the Assessment Initiative), this site is
intended to serve as a resource for the use of the statistical theory
of extreme values in the analysis of weather and climate extremes and
their impacts. The full site is available at
This refers to relatively long-term computer-based mentoring activities with colleagues in other countries as well as in the United States. Telementoring includes students as well as professionals wishing to know more about climate-society interactions, as well as those who ask for guidance on identifying topics, resources, and networks for research, which includes the physical, biological, and social sciences, and the humanities. ESIG scientists expanded and continued several telementoring activities during FY03.
of Contents | Director's Message | Executive