Unidata Users Committee Meeting Summary

13-14 October 2005
Boulder , Colorado


Members UPC Staff
Jim Steenburgh, Univ. of Utah, Chair Tom Baltzer
Elen Cutrim, Western Michigan Univ. Steve Chiswell
Chris Herbster, Embry Riddle Aeronaurtical Univ Ethan Davis
Anton Kruger, Univ. of Iowa Ben Domenico
Gary Lackmann, North Carolina State Univ. Emily Doremire
Leigh Orf, Central Michigan University Steve Emmerson
Donna Tucker, Univ. of Kansas Joanne Graham
  Jo Hansen
  Linda Miller
Tom Whittaker, SSEC - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Don Murray
  Jennifer Oxelson
  Sandra Petrie
  Mohan Ramamurthy
  Russ Rew
  Jeff Weber
  Anne Wilson
  Tom Yoksas


Please Note: Proposed Meeting Date: 10-11 April 2006

Thursday, 13 October 2005


Thanks to outgoing Users Committee members: Donna Tucker and Chuck Graves

New member: Leigh Orf and Anton Kruger (second term)

Review of Action Items:

Unidata technical staff are working with NSSL to coordinate the mosaic. Will provide an announcement when the data are ready for distribution.

The telephone calls by Users Committee members were not completed, due to some technical difficulties. Donna Tucker provided an overview of the sites she had contacted. The information will be integrated into the report.

PolComm update – Jim Steenburgh

  • Discussion of additional resources for IDV development


Russ Rew will be leading a task force to work with staff, Users Committee and others for the next Policy Committee to create a plan for resources on software development.

ACTION 1: The Usercomm will (i) participate in the task force that will create a plan for the evolution of Unidata supported analysis and visualization tools, (ii) discuss and evaluate their findings at the Spring meeting, (iii) provide to Polcomm a written response/endorsement of the report, and (iv) have a member present to represent user interests at the Spring Polcomm meeting.

Director's Presentation-Mohan Ramamurthy


  • Unidata technology exhibited robustness during Hurricane Katrina for Southern Regional Climate Center at Louisiana State University (See newsletter article, August 2005)
  • 306 machines in 154 domains are running LDM6 with RT stats
  • Average hourly volume for IDD is 3 GB with max of 4.5GB
  • IDV-new release-unique sites: 617; US-294; Non-US-155; Unknown-168
  • New capability includes IDV use of data from research aircraft
  • LEAD-two years past- Unidata team building THREDDS data repository
    • Locally steered WRF running on Unidata testbed
  • Support remains high, and Web-based support system is on its way
  • Training workshops still very popular
  • SOARS proteges- 5 Unidata staff involved
  • New Web site unveiled
  • 7 sites receive equipment awards


The THREDDS Data Server (TDS) combines THREDDS Catalog Services with integrated data serving capabilities, using the Netcdf-Java library's Common Data Model (CDM) for data access to NetCDF, HDF5, OPeNDAP, GRIB-1, GRIB-2, NEXRAD and other data formats. The TDS has an integrated OPeNDAP server for subsetted file access, an HTTP server for bulk file access, and an experimental WCS server for gridded data. The TDS is being tested at Unidata and the UPC-LEAD testbed servers, as well as several external servers outside of Unidata. The OPeNDAP and NetCDF developers will discuss the possibility of using the CDM for OPeNDAP 4.0. If so, this would allow OPeNDAP to be the remote access protocol for netCDF-4, and allow NetCDF-4 to be the persistence format for OPeNDAP..

LEAD-ITR initiative successfully completed the mid-term review. The Unidata team is designing the THREDDS repository, based on a modular framework. Goal of a LEAD-user is the capability of doing an assimilation on his own. Example is, you have seven data streams coming into your site using the Portal via the Web, and it will be done on the LEAD grid. Whatever analysis you created will be put in THREDDS catalog. The LEAD test bed portal interface, processing cluster, 40TB storage cluster-75K system storage will retain all seven data streams for as long as possible, perhaps 6-9 months.

Unidata Status Reports


  • Community-over 2000 hits for newsletter
  • Equipment Awards-consider additional themes based on community and program needs for the call for proposals
    • Question of common themes from previous proposals
    • Sites needed equipment upgrades to keep up
    • Funded proposals were the ones narrowly focused
    • Awards could be used for migration to IDV
    • April 10-11 will need help for equipment awards. Collaboration between staff and Usercomm for small group of reviewers.
  • Much discussion of McIDAS-X, i.e., replaced by McIDAS-V (timeframe is probably no sooner than three years, but could be longer)
    • ADDE will continue
  • IDV steering committee addition - Steve Aulenbach
  • Question about whether IDV could display isentropic surfaces
  • Delicate balance between IDV field project support and RT data use
  • Question of Ensembles support with IDV
  • 50% of GEMPAK time at UPC is spent maintaining compatibility with
    data stream evolution, including:
    • product identifiers
    • decoder development
    • metadata and table maintenance
  • International users- Brazil-GEMPAK, outreach to other countries, e.g., Chile, Rio de Janero
  • Acknowledgement of Web site. – Great job! Joanne Graham, Jennifer Oxelson and Sandra Petrie


Friday, 13 October 2005

Telephone Surveys:

  • Donna Tucker contacted the Boston Museum of Science to discuss Unidata. The weather exhibit there has had over 1-1/2 million visits in one year. The contact there had previously been at Bowden College. They are using tools and data, e.g., LDM, GEMPAK scripts, IDV, McIDAS, FSL, AWS, WDSS (Oklahoma) - would appreciate gaining access to lightning data
  • Additional phone calls will be conducted over the next six months by Users Committee members. keeping the following in mind:
  • Ferret out technical and academic contacts for next phone call
  • Do you know what IDV is, and are you using it? Ask them to provide feedback.
  • Ask site contacts what system(s) they are using.

ACTION 2: Users Committee members will have phone conversations with two Unidata sites prior to the next meeting. Jim & Linda will send out a reminder in March 2006. During the phone calls, members should inquire to find out who the best technical and academic contact individuals are, if the institution is aware of IDV, and what their plans are for using IDV in the future. What does the Unidata community want and need?

LEAD Discussion (Tom Baltzer)

Questions raised during discussion were based on Web services and the level of involvement for Unidata in that direction. Another point discussed was that Unidata is doing more "data center" type of activities.

Lightning Data-Chris Herbster

Chris Herbster provided an overview of the new lightning network, USPLN.– would like the data to be distributed via point-to-point connections, similar to NLDN, similar to NLDN. There are other subtle differences from NLDN. Embry Riddle has offered to be middle-group, e.g., SUNY-A is to NLDN.

  • Cloud to cloud strokes-60-80% of lightning that occurs
  • Would provide 1 minute packets-create 1 feed that is one minute
  • Would provide another feed for 5 minute data packets


Some data archiving is being performed. There was the question of decoders; it would look similar to NLDN data. USPLN is willing to provide data in NetCDF or ASCII

Summer Workshop Discussion:

The proposal to NSF for workshop funding has been drafted and is nearing final form. The final will be completed and submitted by Friday, 28 October. The title for the workshop is, " Expanding the Use of Models as Educational Tools in the Atmospheric & Related Sciences."

An audience of 85 participants will be targetted. Gary Lackmann will provide a community announcement sent very soon to allow people to pencil in the dates of the workshop. A more extensive announcement will follow at a later time, after details have been established.

The workshop has the potential to overlap with COMET's faculty short course which will focus on the use of multi-media integrating COMET educational materials into courses. They hope to attract up to 18-20 people. Models will be on topic covered in the short course. Greg Byrd participated in workshop planning for collaboration purposes and to dovetail their workshop with Unidata's. COMET will conduct their workshop following the Unidata workshop. Coordination will continue between the Users Committee and Greg Byrd to ensure redundancy is minimal.

Discussion evolved around potential speakers with expertise in modeling and related activities.. These included: WRF, Topographic shading, thunderstorm, Stella, Polar, Lorenz, 1D Cloud , 1D Radiation, Hydrology, Convective Dynamics, Plume dispersion, Downslope windstorm, 1D/2D Photochemical, Convection/NWP/Forecasting, Shallow water, Parcel Model, Topographic shading, Tropical Cyclone structure, Seasonal cycle applets, Data Assimilation, LEAD, Applets, etc.

The LEAD project will have a prominent role in the workshop. The workshop will provide the opportunity for participants to better understand LEAD and it will enable them to gain an appreciation and understanding of the capabilities that will be available via LEAD.

ACTION 3: Contact potential speakers for summer workshop, beginning with selected presenters discussed during the meeting.

Metrics/Evaluation Progress

Talked with two NSF/SBE program; Rachel Hollander and Robert Bell while in Arlington. They provided some leads to conduct Unidata's evaluation. Mohan Ramamurthy and Linda Miller have contacted some of the referrals and will determine a "short list." A Metric/Evaluation Committee conference call will be done toward the end of October to share the information and determine next steps. A Statement of Work (SOW) will be created with timelines, instruments used for evaluations, and it will be discussed with the committee. Some points made:

  • Don’t get hung up on numbers, but rather the impact.
  • Must map to NSF’s goals


Gary suggested a solicitation of testimonials-letter of recommendation from some community members who have benefitted by Unidata. Jim commented that work has progressed nicely and the "review should be a positive gain."

Linda Miller, Community Services, Unidata
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
303-497-8646 fax: 303-497-8690