National Center for Atmospheric Research

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR ) is a US-based research institute in the field of atmospheric science.

Objectives and research

One of the objectives of NCAR belongs exploring the Earth's atmosphere and the underlying physical processes, but also atmospherically related societal impacts and influences on ecosystems. These will also work closely with various national and international universities. The headquarters of NCAR, the Mesa Laboratory, located in Boulder, Colorado. The institute also operates a number of other locations in Boulder and other places in the U.S..

For empirical research purposes, the NCAR maintains its own aircraft for atmospheric research, ground-based observatories and is involved in the development and operation of various satellites. In addition, several of the most powerful supercomputers are in the field of atmospheric sciences in the possession of NCAR. These are, inter alia, used for the development and calculation of climate models and other simulations of geophysical processes. In particular, in this area of ​​computer-assisted analysis and processing of geophysical data and modeling appropriate processes that NCAR is one of the leading research institutions.


The funding of the research center is done primarily through the National Science Foundation. But more components of the budget come from agents of the U.S. government and its agencies, other states and the private sector. Overall, directly or indirectly, are responsible for about 95 % of the NCAR budget of U.S. federal funds. The total budget amounted to about 227 million U.S. dollars in 2010.


NCAR was founded in 1960 in a collaboration between the National Science Foundation and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research ( UCAR ), a consortium of about 75 universities in the field of atmospheric science. While the National Science Foundation thereby took over the financing, management of UCAR is performed. In 2010, at NCAR in 1554 people are employed, about half of them scientists, engineers and developers. However, despite the almost exclusive funding from federal funds, the employees are not federal employees.