Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why we need your help

Why am I asking for your help?

Let me start with the weather models and data you see on this blog.

My group maintains a very large infrastructure to support high-resolution modeling and weather prediction in our area:

(1) Hundreds of processors and over 400 terabytes of data storage.
(2) Collecting weather data from over 70 local weather networks
(3) Maintaining and improving complex weather prediction codes
(4) Studies of local weather features.

There are about a half-dozen of us working on this. The problem: the sources of funding are drying up.

The UW used to support staff members that contributed to our efforts, but State budget cuts are resulting in major staff cuts of UW-supported positions.

State agencies, a major supporter, are pulling back because their budgets are in crisis.

Federal agencies are reducing grants in order to reduce the deficit, and the stimulus money is ending.

Sort of a perfect storm.

Our facility is essential a community resource and my hope is that the community...those interested in weather prediction and local weather...can help support it. Our work is on the web for all to use and it helps educate students regarding the potential of high-tech weather prediction. Can local efforts like ours remain viable in the current economic environment?

Anyway, that is why I am asking for community help and you can do so on the link shown on my web page and also here.

Supporting UW students and the department.

The second contribution link is for another and equally important purpose--supporting UW atmospheric sciences students and the department.

Tuition is rising rapidly and our undergraduate students need help. Many of our students are taking outside jobs to support themselves, some of them spending so much time at it that is reducing their effectiveness at school. We really need funds to provide more scholarship aid for undergraduate students. We particularly need scholarship funds for out of state students who pay very high tuition. If we are going to be a nationally top institution, we need to attract the best students from throughout the country, and rapidly increasing UW tuition makes this difficult. Attracting top students is very much in the State's interest...we attract the best and many of them stay here. The best students help energize the department in other ways, including their participation in the research program

We also need funds to support graduate students. The department desperately needs a fund to support first-year graduate students...we have none now. Only grant support is now available, and this demands that a student, who may not be sure of his/her interests, commit to a research area too soon. A graduate support fund would allow us to admit very good students for whom we have no research funding.

And then there are more general needs. For example, other major departments have funds to bring in top scientists for colloquia and seminars. We have nothing.

Anyway, please consider the above needs. Many small donations will help, and, of course, if any of you have the means to provide a major gift, that would be extraordinary.

My department is considered one of the best in the world and our local prediction capabilities are unique..the question is how long can we keep this going as the funding situation deteriorates.

Thanks, cliff