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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) was requested in November 2008 by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) to conduct a thorough and thoughtful review of the nine Centers that comprise NCEP, as well as the NCEP Office of the Director. NCEP is organized under the National Weather Service (NWS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In consultation with NCEP Director Louis Uccellini, UCAR President Rick Anthes appointed Professor Fred Carr (University of Oklahoma) and Director of COLA, Jim Kinter, as co-chairs of the study.
In order to provide a review of the centers that could be most useful to NCEP, the UCAR review was organized into five panels, each of which was asked to review two NCEP centers both individually and as a complementary pair with the exception of the Space Weather Prediction Center. In each case, the pair of centers was chosen specifically because the two centers are expected to work more closely together, having affinities of mission and/or stakeholder communities.
The five panels were asked to review the following centers:
Aviation Weather Center (AWC; Kansas City, MO)
Storm Prediction Center (SPC; Norman, OK)
Climate Prediction Center (CPC; Camp Springs, MD)
Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC; Camp Springs, MD)
Environmental Modeling Center (EMC; Camp Springs, MD)
NCEP Central Operations (NCO; Camp Springs, MD)
Ocean Prediction Center (OPC; Camp Springs, MD)
Tropical Prediction Center (TPC; Miami, FL)
Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC; Boulder, CO)
Each panel was asked to review the centers’ vision and mission to determine its relevance, appropriateness and alignment with NCEP’s strategic plan. The review also assessed the productivity and quality of the scientific activities, and the quality, relevance and impact of operational products and services. Special emphasis was placed on the ability to gauge and meet customer demand and emerging requirements, the effectiveness of activities intended to support technology transfer based on research conducted either within or outside NOAA, and the effectiveness of collaboration with the academic research community or the private sector. The review evaluated the balance between operations and research and development and assessed the plans for evolving the suite of products and services. Finally, as indicated above, the interactions of each center with its “sister” center (except SWPC) and the outside communities were evaluated.