In Brief

James Hurrell to lead NCAR Earth System Laboratory

New directors for UCAR EO, Communications

20 June 2011  •  A veteran NCAR researcher will begin directing the center’s largest lab on 1 September. James Hurrell succeeds Greg Holland as head of the NCAR Earth System Laboratory (NESL), which encompasses three of the center’s science divisions: atmospheric chemistry (ACD), climate and global dynamics (CGD), and mesoscale and microscale meteorology (MMM).

Jim Hurrell
James Hurrell.

A member of CGD for more than 20 years, Hurrell serves as the division’s chief scientist of community climate projects, which includes the Community Earth System Model (CESM). He also co-chairs the World Climate Research Programme Project on Climate Variability and Predictability. Hurrell’s own research focuses on regional climate change, global warming, atmospheric patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, and computer modeling of climate.

“NESL must continue and enhance efforts to develop strategic and stronger partnerships,” says Hurrell. He stresses the need to seek broad community input into the evolution and implementation of its strategic imperatives and other new research initiatives. “This input will be central to ensuring NESL maintains transformative research and works synergistically with the academic community.” says Hurrell. “We want to strike the best possible balance between growing into new scientific areas and sustaining excellence in our existing core activities.”

New leaders have also been appointed to two other key positions.

  • Raj Pandya, deputy head of UCAR Education and Outreach, becomes director on 1 July, replacing the retiring Susan Foster. Pandya’s UCAR experience includes a postdoctoral appointment with the Advanced Study Program (1996–98) and a joint position in UCP with Unidata and the Digital Library for Earth System Science. Since 2004 he has led the SOARS program (Significant Opportunities for Atmospheric Research and Science). “EO has two complementary goals—helping people learn about the science we do and how we do it, and inviting people into that science as partners, participants, and future scientists,” Pandya says.
  • Matt Hirschland took the helm of UCAR Communications on 6 June. Hirschland comes from the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he oversaw internal and external communications and media relations. Prior to McKinsey, he worked at the nonprofit firm Business for Social Responsibility as director of research and communications. He has been a communications professional for more than a decade, specializing in public relations, business strategy, sustainability, brand marketing, and stakeholder relations. “I am excited to engage with the scientists and community at UCAR/NCAR, building the kind of strategic communications that will serve both individual and institutional goals by shaping the debates that matter most to us,” says Hirschland.
Matt Hirschland (left) and Raj Pandya
Matt Hirschland (left) and Raj Pandya.