Who We Are

Warren Washington, Ph.D.
Warren M. Washington is a senior scientist and head of the Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

In June, 2012 The HistoryMakers, ScienceMakers & the National Academy of Sciences held A Night With Warren Washington As Interviewed By Ralph Cicerone, at the newly-renovated National Academy of Sciences' Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Dr. Warren Washington, National Medal of Science Laureate, was interviewed by Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, about his life and work in a program honoring his outstanding contributions. HistoryMakers is the Nation's largest AfricanAmerican Video Oral History Collection, see http://www.thehistorymakers.com/program/night-warren-washington.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Washington earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his doctorate in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, he joined NCAR in 1963 as a research scientist. Washington's areas of expertise are atmospheric science and climate research, and he specializes in computer modeling of the earth's climate. He has published more than 100 papers in professional journals. His book An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, co-authored with Claire Parkinson (NASA), is a reference on climate modeling. The second edition was published in May, 2005.

Washington is consultant and advisor to a number of government officials and committees on climate-system modeling. From 1978 to 1984, he served on the President's National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. He participated in several panels of the National Research Council and chaired its Advisory Panel for Climate Puzzle, a film produced for the 1986 PBS television series Planet Earth. Washington was a member of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board from 1990 to 1993 and has been on the Secretary of Energy's Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC) since 1990. From 1996-present, he has been the chair of the subcommittee on Global Change for BERAC.

Washington held the office of President of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in 1994 and was Past President in 1995.

He served on the Modernization Transition Committee and the National Centers for Environment Prediction Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Weather Service. In 1998, he was appointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency Science Advisory Board.

In May of 1995, he was appointed by President Clinton to a six-year term on the National Science Board, which helps oversee the National Science Foundation and advises the Executive Branch and Congress on science related matters. In March 2000 he was nominated by President Clinton for a second six-year term and was confirmed by the Senate in September 2000.

In 2000, he was appointed chairman of the AMS awards committee. He is a Fellow of the AMS and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and from 1991 to 1995 he was a member of the AAAS Board of Directors. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Pennsylvania State University and Oregon State University, an Alumni Fellow of Pennsylvania State University and Oregon State University, a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, In 1995 he received the Le Verrier Medal of the Societe Meteorologique de France. In February 1997, he was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine and in May 1997, he was awarded the Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for Atmospheric Sciences in the development and application of advanced coupled atmospheric-ocean general circulation models to study the impacts of anthropogenic activities on future climate. He was selected to be a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 1998-1999. Also, in 1998 he delivered the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture and a Rice University Computer and Information Technology Institute Distinguished Lecture. In 1999, Washington received the National Weather Service Modernization Award.

In 1999, Washington was awarded the Dr. Charles Anderson Award from the American Meteorological Society "for pioneering efforts as a mentor and passionate support of individuals, educational programs, and outreach initiatives designed to foster a diverse population of atmospheric scientists."

In March 2000, Washington received the Celebrating 20th Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences Award at Howard University and in April 2000, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award "in recognition of significant and unique contributions in the field of science." In 2001, he gave the first Ralph W. Bromery lecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Bromery was a Tuskegee Airman and later became the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts.

In February 2002, Washington was an invited lecturer at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Explorer Series. He is currently part of the Franklin Institute's Black History Month Exhibit, African Americans in Science.

Also, in February 2002, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced that it had elected Washington to its membership "for pioneering the development of coupled climate models, their use on parallel supercomputing architectures, and their interpretation." Washington was inducted into the NAE in October 2002. Further information can be found at the NAE web site and at the UCAR Communications Office web site.

In 2002, he was appointed to the Science Advisory Panel of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the National Academies of Science Coordinating Committee on Global Change.

On April 26, 2003 Washington was elected to the American Philosophical Society.

In May 2002, The National Science Board in Washington, D.C., announced that it had elected Washington as its new Chair. He was re-elected to a second term in May of 2004. The National Science Board has dual responsibilities as national science policy adviser to the president and Congress and as governing board for the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency.

In August 2004 Washington received the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The Vollum Award was created in 1975 as a tribute to the late C. Howard Vollum, a 1936 Reed graduate and lifelong friend of the college. Winners are selected for the perseverance, fresh approach to problems and solutions, and creative imagination that characterized Vollumís career. Linux creator Linus Torvald is the current recipient of the Vollum Award.

Warren's current research involves the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) and the Community Climate System Model (CCSM). He currently serves as a co-chair of the Climate Change Working Group within CCSM. The Parallel Climate Model is a DOE supported effort and the Community Climate System Model is supported by both the NSF and the DOE.

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