What is it like to work at NCAR|UCAR?! Join us as we talk with experts to learn about what they do in their work, the highlights and challenges, and how it impacts us and our world. Then ask them anything you want to know about what it's like to do their jobs! The program will last ~20 minutes.
*Our Meet the Experts series has finished for the 2020-2021 school year. We'll be working this summer to revise and update the structure of the program, so watch this page for updates on our fall 2021 program!
Previous Meet the Experts sessions:
Click on the links for video recordings.
Nowadays many tools in our lives from phones to watches and even light bulbs, are getting “smart”– taking measurements and sharing data about their surroundings. Did you know that advances in this Internet of Things may actually help us better forecast the weather? Many of our weather forecasts use data collected from everyday people around the world, and now, like something out of science fiction, you can even 3D-print your own weather science station! Join NCAR scientist Agbeli Ameko for the next “Meet the Experts” session to explore amazing new opportunities for you and me to make weather observations in our own backyards.
How can a butterfly in Brazil trigger a snowstorm in Colorado? And what does this mean for weather predictions? Scientists in the NCAR Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory used one of the most-detailed weather models ever developed to “hunt” for the ultimate limit of weather predictability. Get your questions ready for this week’s session with scientist Falko Judt, talking about chaos theory, the butterfly effect, and why we will (likely) never be able to forecast the weather for more than 2-3 weeks into the future.
The remote Southern Ocean around Antarctica supports diverse ecosystems in harsh conditions, exchanges heat between our atmosphere and the deep ocean, and absorbs a large amount of industrial CO2 emissions. Despite its importance in our dynamic world, we know relatively little about the Southern Ocean and how it will respond to climate change. Scientists are working to shed light on this mystery using a special Gulfstream V research aircraft, which can tell us about the large-scale workings of biology and physics within the Southern Ocean. Join NCAR scientist Britt Stephens in this week’s “Meet the Experts” as he tells us stories and answers your questions live about his adventures flying around Antarctica in the name of climate science.
Supercomputers allow scientists to conduct an extraordinary number of calculations to predict hurricanes, wildfire paths, solar storms and when it might start raining in your own backyard. But what exactly is a supercomputer? What goes into taking care of them? Join NCAR systems engineers Jenett Tillotson and Ben Matthews behind the scenes at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center to get an inside look at the NCAR supercomputer, Cheyenne.
Wildfires are deadly and expensive, but also natural and inevitable. One key to living with wildfires while reducing their harm is to predict them with computer models. In some ways that is even harder than predicting the weather, because the weather forecast is only one piece of a good wildfire prediction! Join an NCAR scientist to explore how weather affects wildfires AND how wildfires affect weather. He will also describe new modeling technology called the Colorado Fire Prediction System, which NCAR recently developed for the state of Colorado.
Curtis Walker, a scientist at NCAR's Research Applications Laboratory, studies how weather impacts travel, specifically cars and trains. Whether you're traveling to work or school, driving across the country on vacation, or waiting for a package, all kinds of weather can have big impacts on surface transportation. He will share his story of how he came to work at this unique intersection, overview weather impacts to roads and rails, and preview the future of self-driving cars in a world of weather!
When we can learn in three dimensions, we build deeper understanding. It looks more like the world we live in! Bryan Guarente, a meteorologist and educational designer with the UCAR COMET program, will help us explore one meteorological example in 3D that will take us from a personal understanding to a global perspective. *If you are able, join from your computer, and bring your web-enabled mobile device to participate more fully!
UCAR SOARS program alumnus Karl C. Clarke will share his experience working at the intersection of science and education at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He'll share how his experience in atmospheric science, citizen science, and science teaching allows him to help scientists connect with the public, and prepare the next generation of scientists to collaborate at one of the Department of Energy’s national laboratories.
Join us to hear about the work of Adriana Bailey, an NCAR atmospheric scientist who studies clouds, rain, and moisture in our air, all from a flying laboratory! She'll tell us about her trip to Barbados last winter to fly on a hurricane hunter airplane named "Miss Piggy", studying the trade wind cumulus clouds that matter so much for climate.
If you live in a place with snowy winters (or even just visit!), you have heard meteorologists predicting how much snow we might get, or discussing how much snow fell in a certain storm. We need to know whether it's an inch or a foot! NCAR scientist Roy Rasmussen will tell us about different methods that are used for measuring snowfall, and why it's important to know.
Alice DuVivier, a scientist in NCAR's Climate & Global Dynamics Laboratory, studies polar sea ice—how it changes both seasonally and over longer periods of time. She'll describe her job and what she's finding, and explain what that tells us about the impacts of rising global temperatures.
Many NCAR|UCAR scientists rely on the use of specially-equipped research aircraft to gather critical data. Andrew Green, an Aircraft Mechanic, will tell us about what happens at the NCAR Research Aviation Facility, and how he works tp keep the NCAR planes in shape and ready for their missions.
NCAR scientist Nihanth Cherukuru's experience with Doppler Lidars, data visualization, computer programming and game development led him to his current job. He'll tell us about his work using augmented reality and games to help scientists and the public visualize scientific data.
UCAR's COMET program supports education and training for environmental science all over the world. But "all over the world" means they can't do everything in English! David Russi will tell us how his work as a translator combines science, travel, language skills, and technology to help Spanish-speaking students learn in their home language
High-impact weather events such as hurricanes are notoriously hard for weather models to forecast, especially days in advance! Using 2019's Hurricane Barry as an example, Tracy Hertneky—a scientist in NCAR's Research Applications Laboratory—will describe how her research provides vital information to help improve those forecasts.
Thunderstorms are one of the most dangerous and destructive types of weather, as they can produce strong winds, hail, and tornadoes. But they're also very difficult to predict! NCAR scientist Christina Kalb will tell us about her work using weather models and field experiments to improve predictions of thunderstorms and their related hazards.
The ocean absorbs a large amount of fossil fuel carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to slow the rate of global warming. However, as it takes up more and more carbon, the ocean becomes more acidic. Holly Olivarez is an oceanographer at the University of Colorado Boulder who does research with NCAR studying the ocean's absorption of carbon dioxide. Holly will tell us how climate change motivated her to become a scientist and what she's learning in her research, and then answer your questions! *Want to play along on a demo with Holly? Be ready with a small glass of vinegar, and a piece of chalk or antacid tablet (like Tums).
NCAR manages two aircraft that are specially equipped to collect data on atmospheric phenomena ranging from hurricanes and convective storms to wildfire's effects on the atmosphere to how mountains change weather. Software engineer and data manager Janine Aquino will share her adventures writing code to control robots that collect weather measurements, and traveling all over the world while supporting NCAR’s mission of providing state-of-the-art resources to answer fundamental research questions.
There are so many paths you can take in the world of science; not every PhD has to lead to a career in teaching and research. Dan Zietlow, NCAR visual media specialist, will describe his journey from geophysicist to science filmmaker. Then he'll take us on an adventure to learn about an NCAR-supported field project (you vote on which one!), get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to document them, and answer your questions about his work!
Atmospheric scientists often use computer models to simulate and study the atmosphere, but sometimes we leave the virtual world to observe storms IRL (in real life)! NCAR Advanced Studies Program postdoctoral fellow Annareli Morales will share stories from her field work in Argentina, where she launched weather balloons into thunderstorms.
Ozone is an invisible gas that can be both helpful and harmful, depending on where in the Earth's atmosphere it's located. But how can we understand and monitor it if we can't see it?! Carl Drews, a software engineer from NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Lab, will use computer-generated images to take us on an aerial tour to see ozone billowing off the Denver-Boulder area, and fly us through the recent Arctic ozone hole.
We all use plants every day in many ways, but NCAR scientist Danica Lombardozzi uses plants to learn what's in the air! Some plants are bioindicators of air pollution, which means that they are sensitive to certain pollutants such as the gas ozone. Danica will tell us about her work at NCAR, including how plants help her understand ozone pollution!
Hurricanes are one of the most destructive weather phenomena on Earth. Damaging winds, flooding, rains, and storm surge frequently impact our vulnerable coastlines. What can we expect future hurricanes to look like? NCAR scientist James Done runs computer simulations of hurricanes on powerful supercomputers to figure out how bad our weather could get. Join James to discuss how the science is done and what it is telling us.