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National Center for Atmospheric Research

NCAR is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the National Science Foundation and devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences. Significant additional support is provided by other U.S. government agencies, other national governments, and the private sector.

NCAR supports the community of atmospheric and geoscience researchers with:

tools—such as aircraft and radar, to observe the atmosphere, and technology and assistance—to interpret and use these observations, including supercomputer access, computer models, and user support.

Our research projects cover a vast array of topics and are collaborations between NCAR scientists and university researchers:

atmospheric chemistry—such as the chemical structure of healthy and polluted air climate—including temperature, rainfall, winds, and extreme events over decades or centuries, from prehistoric times to the present and into the future weather science— including cloud physics, storm structure, and other keys to improved weather forecasting weather hazards to transportation—including detection and warning systems for turbulence, icing, and other flight hazards and for weather-related hazards of road and rail travel weather decision support systems for new and emerging economic sectors—including renewable energy, wildfire prediction, precision agriculture, and other areas of societal importance interactions between the Sun and Earth—including solar and space weather computer science innovation—for understanding and visualizing the whole Earth system the effects of weather and climate on society and national security


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July 2021 was Earth’s hottest month on record and was marked by disasters, including extreme storms, floods and wildfires. Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Climate change is relentless: Seemingly small shifts have big consequences

What might sound like small changes – temperatures another tenth of a degree warmer, sea level a few centimeters higher – have big consequences for the world around us.
Sea ice responds to changes in winds and ocean currents, sometimes with origins thousands of kilometres away. NASA/Nathan Kurtz

Why Antarctica’s sea ice cover is so low (and no, it’s not just about climate change)

Antarctic sea ice cover fell to an all-time low recently and hasn’t yet recovered. Why? The initial answers could lie in an unlikely place – the tropics.
On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States will leave the Paris climate accord. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Why Trump’s decision to leave Paris accord hurts the US and the world

A panel of academics and scientists explain the damages to the Earth, the economy and US moral standing in the world by Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate accord.
Nobody can observe events in the future so to study climate change, scientists build detailed models and use powerful supercomputers to simulate conditions, such as the global water vapor levels seen here, and to understand how rising greenhouse gas levels will change Earth’s systems. NCAR/UCAR

Yes, we can do ‘sound’ climate science even though it’s projecting the future

People worry Washington is losing respect for science and even the centuries-old scientific method. Two climate scientists explain how science can be done when talking about the future.
Flooding in Houston, April 18, 2016. Laurence Simon/Flickr

Has climate change really improved U.S. weather?

Extreme weather has an outsized impact on everyday life. Focusing on average weather patterns may make Americans dangerously complacent about how climate change is already affecting our lives.
L’été 2015 extrêmement sec en Californie a donné lieu à de très graves incendies. Max Whittaker/Reuters

2015 aura bien été l’année la plus chaude jamais enregistrée

Portée par un puissant El Niño et par le changement climatique, 2015 a battu tous les records de températures, faisant mentir les défenseurs de l’hypothèse d'une pause dans le réchauffement global.
Extreme drought, a predictable impact of El Niño, fuels wildfires on the island of Borneo on October 14. NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team

What North America can expect from El Niño

The third-ever ‘super’ El Niño is under way. Here’s how it will affect your region in the US and how global warming affects this and future El Niños.
Look to the Pacific for reasons behind the hiatus. diversey/flickr

Is the global warming ‘hiatus’ over?

Study of natural variability explains slowdowns in the rate of warming in recent decades – and is key to improving climate models.
Welcome to Boston - and two feet of snow from one storm. Peter Eimon/Flickr

Does global warming mean more or less snow?

As first glance, asking whether global warming results in more snow may seem like a silly question because obviously, if it gets warm enough, there is no snow. Consequently, deniers of climate change have…
It’s all in the atmosphere. David Gray/Reuters

What caused the ‘pause’ in global warming?

Many people around the world, in certain locations, have asked, “where is global warming?” This is because they have experienced very cold wintry conditions and weird weather that they do not associate…
The IPCC’s reports have been rigorous and comprehensive, but it’s time for a different, more agile approach. Sebastien Wiertz

Time to change how the IPCC reports?

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the outcomes from Working Group I (WG-I) of the Fifth Assessment Report on the physical climate change. The IPCC has issued four…
You can blink, you won’t miss it. Climate change is here for good. rudecactus

Global warming is here to stay, whichever way you look at it

Has global warming stalled? This question is increasingly being asked because the local weather seems cool and wet, or because the global mean temperature is not increasing at its earlier rate or the long-term…
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), which says it regrets the leak of it’s latest major report. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Human role in climate change now virtually certain: leaked IPCC report

A leaked draft report by the world’s top climate scientists has found that is virtually certain that humans are causing climate change but parts of it have been wildly misinterpreted by climate change…
Residents of Virginia have begun sandbagging against the arrival of Sandy. EPA/MIchael Reynolds

Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change

As I write this, Hurricane Sandy remains a very large, powerful hurricane. On Sunday afternoon (local time), Sandy brought winds gusting to 103km/h to coastal North Carolina. Heavy rains are already occurring…


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