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up from beneath the sea floor by the Glomar Challenger. For ocean research the Navy has refurbished the deep submersible Alvin and the

Foundation has contributed to some modernization of the Alvin's mother

ship, Lulu. There is a whole family of new precise measuring devices

for trace materials in the sea and in the atmosphere. Instruments provide

the cutting edge of the AAEO research program and much of our budget
goes to obtain, house, maintain, and operate them. I would like to share

with you some examples of recent results of our programs.

First, in astronomy. The Very Large Array, located a few miles west of Socorro, New Mexico, is nearing completion. I am sure that without the

support of this Committee, we would never have been able to build it. The

VLA is in many respects the largest radio telescope in the world.

All 28

of the VLA antennas have been accepted by the observatory. More than

two-thirds of these are in operational use and all of them will be operating by early next calendar year. With those that are operating, we are

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receiving excellent data, making radio images whose accuracy compares very well with the best optical images that can be obtained. This major facility

will be completed on schedule and within its design budget, even though the schedule and budget were set in 1973. The VLA was the only major new NSF

start in astronomy during the period 1973-1981. The VLA telescope is already

a very popular instrument; it is oversubscribed by users.

The researchers

are looking deeper and deeper into space, mapping more distant galaxies and

qua sars. The next several years should see several new discoveries advance

radio astronomy.

NSF-supported researchers are using the 1000-foot diameter radio

telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico to verify the existence of gravitational waves, a phenomenon that is predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

Others are searching for indirect evidence of black holes, using the
Kitt Peak 158-inch telescope, working in concert with the Mt. Palomar

200-inch instrument.

Most of you are aware, I believe, that we are in a period of maximum

solar activity, in the peak of the normal eleven year solar cycle. The Sun's activity is expected to reach its maximum early this calendar year. The special research efforts associated with the Solar Maximum Year will continue until February 1981. Among the important matters that concern my Directorate are weather and climate, and one of the major factors in

de termining climate is solar activity. The study of the Sun and solar

effects are interdisciplinary matters involving several of our research


As the budget indicates, a major fraction of astronomy research dollars goes for the operation of the National Astronomy Centers. These centers cannot be thought of independently from university research in astronomy. Large, unique telescopes at these centers were built and instrumented

for the use of all the nation's astronomers.

In fact, 85% of the centers' users

are university astronomers.

As a result it is clear that the centers are

essential to a viable university astronomy program, especially in the

smaller schools that cannot afford to build and maintain large astronomical

instruments. It is also important to note that the university astronomy community uses the centers' instruments and facilities on a competitive

basis without charge.

In the meteorology area some exciting and informative work is being

carried out with a variety of radar systems. Triple Doppler radar networks

(to measure in-cloud winds and water characteristics) and LDAR (Lightning

Detection and Ranging) to measure the location of electrical discharges are

providing for the first time three-dimensional characterizations of

thunderstorms in sufficient time and space detail to resolve the inter

dependence of thunderstorm dynamics, microphysics, and electrification.

Preliminary data analysis suggests researchers are on the threshold of

important new information about thunderstorm mechanisms. The NSF, in

cooperation with other agencies and with Congressional support, plays a major role in supporting the development of new instrumentation, cooperative, multi-group field programs, and data analysis in this important

area of basic research.

The large VHF radar systems have the potential to measure wind vectors,

wave motions, and turbulence at altitudes from 1 to 100 km on an essentially continuous basis. These systems provide extremely fine time resolution of winds through the troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere. Possible interconnections between terrestrial weather and solar activity, and applied topics such as the dispersion of pollutants to the upper atmosphere will be

addressed with a much better chance for success if the promise of this

technique bears fruit. The technique could form the basis of an operational network to gather wind data at a much higher frequency than practical with existing instruments. The NSF is providing funds for constructing the

prototype system near Chatanika, Alaska; NOAA is providing the manpower.

A qualitatively new capability has been made available to measure

auroral plasma velocities and electric fields, with time continuity and

simultaneity over a broad latitude span. This has been accomplished by

the addition of a 150-foot diameter fully steerable antenna to the

Millstone Hill radar, Westford, Massachusetts.

Data collected to date

with this newly upgraded facility are already extending the understanding

of both solar control and atmospheric effects of these circulation patterns.

A group of Colorado State University scientists under the direction of Dr. Thomas vonder Haar have developed an extremely fast and efficient way to process very large amounts of cloud and radiation data observed by

geosynchronous satellites orbiting the earth. At the present time, data on solar energy received by the earth and that portion of it that is

reradiated back to space is transmitted by two geostationary satellites,

but these data must be stored for future analysis because present computers

cannot process the data fast enough to permit "real time" analysis. The

new technique enables the data to be processed in batches, a method so efficient that the computer can handle the data as fast as they are received from the satellites. The technique thus allows for the first time, the

monitoring of inbound and outbound radiation and the computing of net radiation budget on a continuous 24-hour basis. The locations of prevailing winds and currents, the intensity and tracks of storms, and the occasional shifting of the circulation patterns, producing anoma lous weather and climate, all depend upon the geographical and temporal distribution of incoming and outgoing radiant energy. A precise knowledge of the radiant energy budget and its changes is an essential ingredient of numerical models of climate

and climatic change.

As events of this past summer have again shown, hurricanes are among

the most destructive weather phenomena experienced in this country.

Professor William Gray of Colorado State University has been examining the detailed structure of "cloud clusters"--intense tropical storm regions of organized, deep vertically developing systems using the NCAR Cray I


One of the enigmas in hurricane forecasting is the fact that cloud clusters occur frequently, but only relatively few develop into hurricanes.

Professor Gray has concluded that the strongest influence on hurricane

development is the rotational structure of the tropical environment in

which the cluster is moving. Large-scale rotation is a quantity that is

routinely forecast in numerical models with acceptable skill. Therefore,

Gray's finding has the potential of improving the capability of predicting

hurricane development.

Again in the area of atmospheric sciences research there is a melding

between individual researchers and major research facilities, the radars, the LDAR, and the computer. In budgeting for these efforts we try to

think of the people and the centers as a system for problem solving.

Activity in the area of ocean sciences is providing insights into some

very fundamental processes of ocean physics and geophysics. Last year the

refurbished deep submersible Alvin was deployed, along with the mother ship,

Lulu, to the East Pacific Rise, off the west coast of Mexico. On one of the

early dives, a field of natural pipes, or hydrothermal vents, jutting upward from the sea floor was observed. Hot dark plumes of liquid were flowing at

10 meters per second from beneath the bottom into the surrounding colder

water. As the hot jets mixed with the bottom water the dissolved materials

were precipitated onto the sea floor as sulphides of iron, copper, zinc, and


The temperatures measured at the vent openings were as high as

350°C. The precipitation mechanism appears possibly to be the funadmental

process of forming metal sulphide ores.

The rich mineral deposits serve as

the basic food for a wide variety of marine animals, some previously unknown to science, that dwell in great profusion near the vents, living by the release

of chemical energy rather than by using the products of photosynthesis.

The Ocean Sciences Division also is supporting the Sea-Air Exchange Project (SEAREX) in the vicinity of Eniwetok Atoll in the Central Pacific.

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