NCAR | National Center for Atmospheric Research

National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder
The National Center for Atmospheric Research sits on a mesa overlooking Boulder. | Photo by John Leach

Staff writer

The National Center for Atmospheric Research, or NCAR, is a research organization that seeks to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and other related systems.

NCAR’s building sits on NCAR Mesa at 6,184 feet in elevation, or 754 feet above the city of Boulder. The building was designed by architect I.M. Pei, who drew the dark, reddish-brown color of the nearby flatiron formation into the concrete towers and modeled them after the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.

The Center’s work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been in the forefront of climate change research, and many of its staff were involved in work that led to a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

In earlier days, the center housed huge, groundbreaking supercomputers developed by scientist and engineer Seymour Cray, which were used for weather modeling.

Numerous programs, activities and events, including tours, are available for visitors in the landmark I.M. Pei building, built in the 1960s and inspired by the cliff dwellings in Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park.

A visitors’ center is open daily.

National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder, CO 80305
(303) 497-1000