Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences (IMAGe)


NCAR Geophysical Turbulence Program GTP

Background and history

Research on turbulence has been a significant part of the NCAR scientific program since its beginning in the early 1960's. The original scientific leaders of NCAR recognized that in order to understand the dynamics of the atmosphere, the oceans, the climate, the sun, and solar-terretrial interactions, understanding relevant turbulent processes would be essential. A number of scientific appointmens in the first 10-15 years of NCAR's existence reflected this view and provided an in-house base from which to productively interact and collaborate with the world turbulence community. From these beginnings has emerged a sustained emphasis on geophysical turbulence at NCAR, in research, vititors, seminars, and workshops that continues to this day. Much of this emphasis manifests itself currently in the Geophysical Turbulence Program (GTP) , and its complementary activity, the Turbulence Numerics Team (TNT).


GTP is a formal by loosely organized NCAR--wide activity with a modest annual budget. There are currently more than forty members of GTP--scientific staff, former scientific staff and visitors--who have joined in these activities. Most of the membership resides in the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory (ESSL); however there are many members who also work in the Computational and Information Sciences Laboratory (CISL) and the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL).
The broad goal of GTP is to promote research, education and awareness of geophysical turbulence at NCAR and in the scientific community. The budget is used to bring visitors to NCAR to give seminars and interact, on workshops, and, under special circumstances, for direct support of staff. GTP members meet as a group at least once annually to choose visitors for whom to offer support, and to select and develop workshop topics. Members also provide input to the Advanced Study Program on selection of Postdoctoral Fellows who have turbulence interests.

Philosophical orientation

The orientation of GTP is very much toward basic science and is highly inclusive and outreaching. The full range of scientific methods--analytical theory, statistical analysis, stochastic modeling, algorithm development, numerical simulation, parameterization, closures for weak and strong turbulent flows, analyses of observational data, field programs, and laboratory experiments-- are represented in the interests of the members, as well as in the seminar topics, and particularly the workshops. University faculty and scientists from abroad are heavily represented in the workshops. Many areas of geophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics are included as well as laboratory and engineering fluid dynamics. GTP treats the disciplinary boundaries between turbulence and fluid dynamics as fuzzy and porous and reaches well beyond what might be characterized as classical turbulence studies and topics.

A whitepaper detailing many of the aspects of the organization and the philosophy of GTP and TNT is also available.


In many ways, the workshops and summer schools sponsored by GTP constitute the core of the program together with developing community tools. Special effort is made in choosing topics to reflect the universality and generality of the subject and bring together scientists from many disciplines in a forum that cuts across traditional disciplinary and application lines. Please see the navigation bar above for upcoming and recent workshops.

Last Modified: Thursday, 15-Oct-2009 17:13:03 MDT