Campus News

UGA elected to national atmospheric sciences consortium

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has been elected to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, recognition of its growing reputation in atmospheric and related science.

UCAR, a nonprofit consortium of North American research universities, manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the National Science Foundation and fosters basic and applied research, outreach, education in the atmospheric, oceanic, space and related sciences.

“Being a member of UCAR means being a part of a community that helps shape the future direction of the atmospheric and related sciences both nationally and internationally,” said Marshall Shepherd, professor of geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and director of the UGA Atmospheric Sciences program. Shepherd is president-elect of the American Meteorological Society; he will assume the presidency in 2013.

UGA is the 78th member of UCAR, which was founded in 1960. Universities invited to join UCAR must demonstrate continuing commitment to programs of study and research in atmospheric sciences as well as a commitment to active participation in UCAR activities. Members are elected for eight-year terms.

“This is a significant honor as well as an important resource for UGA,” said David Lee, UGA vice president for research.

In welcoming its new partnership with UGA, UCAR president Thomas Bogdan praised UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences program.

“The school’s curriculum is highly innovative and forward-looking, offering an unusually broad interdisciplinary focus that ranges from anthropology to geography, while retaining the fundamentals so critical to our field of study,” he said.

The UGA Atmospheric Sciences program addresses the needs of students interested in studying meteorology or climate science. Certificate programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels have been offered since 2000. Faculty in the departments of geography and marine sciences in Franklin College, the Collge of Engineering, the College of Education, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Odum School of Ecology are actively engaged in atmospheric-related research.

Lee said that the growing stature of the program also is reflected in extramural grants awarded, a robust publication record and the program’s prominent standing in the national and international community. Faculty in UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences program have been awarded more than $10 million in federal funding in the past five years. Research spans a range of topics, including aviation hazards, paleoclimatological records, climate and renewable energy, satellite remote sensing, urban climatology, human health and applied climatology, climate modeling, climate education, and weather and climate hazards.

Beyond the UGA Atmospheric Sciences program, UGA faculty in marine sciences also are engaged in climate change research. Georgia Sea Grant, supported by NOAA, investigates weather-climate hazards in the coastal zone. Two long-term ecological research projects-and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems-include studies of climate related to the Southern Appalachia and the Georgia coast, respectively. Agricultural climatologists in UGA’s Cooperative Extension assist the state’s farmers in understanding the relationships among agriculture, climate change and climate trends. And through the Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society, faculty across UGA’s colleges and schools work to improve understanding of the complex processes and effects of climate variability and change on natural, managed, human-built and societal systems.

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the National Science Foundation. UCAR also provides services to support, enhance and extend the capabilities of the universities through its community programs and by advocating for strong federal science budgets on behalf of the geosciences community. UCAR community programs bring geoscience communities together to address large-scale, integrated research and education challenges. Both UCAR and NCAR are headquartered in Boulder, Colo.