NCAR’s New $22 Million Aviation Facility in Broomfield Will Help Study Climate Change

Grace Hood/CPR News
NCAR broke ground in February on a 42,391-square-foot facility that will house lab and office space.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research has broken ground on a 42,000-square-foot facility in Broomfield that will help climate change scientists focus on weather, climate and air quality research.

The building will replace a dated space built in the 1970s near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, and it will have more room to calibrate scientific instruments and to host field campaign planning and briefings.

“Scientists at NCAR and the university community can come here and participate in field campaigns that are taking place a half a world away,” NCAR director Everette Joseph said. “This research will really help us to improve our numerical models, which are important in helping us to understand important questions with respect to the fundamental processes in the atmosphere and in the entire Earth system.”

Renderings of the new building that is being constructed at the Research Aviation Facility in Broomfield, Colorado. (Images by TreanorHL.)

The funding comes courtesy of a $22 million grant from the National Science Foundation. President Trump recently proposed a 6.5 percent cut to the foundation. Congress will have the final say on the federal budget in the coming months.

“NSF is the driving force behind so much of the fundamental science that has made our nation into the world leader of research and technology,” said Susan Avery, board chair for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR.

The ultimate goal of the new facility is to help scientists create better forecasts for weather, climate and air quality. That can be important to state and local governments as well as federal agencies, officials said.

The new facility will sit right next to an existing airplane hanger that houses NCAR’s Gulf Stream V and Hercules C130, both of which have specialized equipment to take detailed measurements.