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Foundational Capabilities

Our broad scientific and technical expertise builds on many enabling capabilities

NCAR’s broad scientific and technical expertise builds on many enabling capabilities, including but not limited to data services, visualization, numerical weather prediction, algorithms, turnkey systems, consulting, training and outreach. NCAR’s science is designed to serve society.

Research and Development Areas

Data Services

Actionable weather guidance starts with observations and other pertinent information that may come from varied sources and in different forms (text, gridded data, graphical files, etc.). Effective data services can handle a multitude of data formats and conform to national and international standards. Data services provide the underlying infrastructure for the collection of relevant data that feed subsequent processing algorithms. The services may also include repackaging of data and information for further distribution. NCAR has extensive experience developing effective data services.


The best weather guidance is only as useful as it can effectively be communicated to a decision maker. The visualization needs to take into account what matters to a stakeholder and its flight operations, and a particular responsibility (e.g., dispatcher, pilot, air traffic controller). There is a variety of ways that the information can be presented. Ideally, a layered approach may be utilized that provides a top-level, specifically tailored, high-glance and actionable decision guidance, but then also enables a user to access the underlying information in more detail as needed or desired time permitting. NCAR develops effective visualization capabilities that are cognizant of relevant aspects of information communication and human recognition.

Numerical Weather Prediction

NCAR is one of the leading organizations developing cutting-edge numerical weather prediction capabilities that are used both in scientific research and by operational weather services around the world. Numerical weather prediction builds upon detailed mathematical formulations of the scientific processes taking place throughout the atmosphere. These formulations capture the dynamic, thermodynamic, microphysical, and other relevant atmospheric processes that govern the Earth’s weather. Numerical weather prediction is initialized by observations that are smartly assimilated into the processing. Observations are also essential for validation of prediction capabilities.


NCAR has a long history in developing smart and efficient algorithms that combine data and extract relevant information to diagnose specific weather hazards. Algorithms are fundamental to data services, numerical weather prediction, and much more.

Turnkey Systems

NCAR has the necessary expertise to develop end-to-end weather guidance systems, from weather observations to forecasting, and all the way to providing actionable decision support guidance. Turnkey systems may include everything from installation of new weather sensors, development of necessary data services, analysis and prediction algorithms, and visualization capabilities specifically tailored to a user’s requirements in order to support its mission. NCAR works closely with stakeholders to understand the weather sensitivities of their aviation operations in order to jointly develop the system requirements, etc. Turnkey systems will be thoroughly vetted to achieve the user requirements, including extensive training in the use of the decision support guidance.

Consulting, Training & Outreach

NCAR regularly conducts education and outreach activities, including hosting of visitors and community workshops for the aviation industry. NCAR provides tailored training for users of its weather guidance capabilities. Moreover, the expertise of NCAR scientists is often requested to assist with aircraft accident investigations, serving on standards development groups, assessment of current weather sensitivities, observing infrastructure gaps and emerging non-traditional requirements, and future climate change impacts, and much more.


Matthias Steiner

Director, Aviation Applications Program


Arnaud Dumont

Deputy Director Engineering, Aviation Applications Program


James Pinto

Deputy Director Science, Aviation Applications Program