Bob Henson

UCAR Communications



After 25 distinguished years, Bob Henson has departed NCAR/UCAR for a new external position. As of January 5, 2015, please contact him at

For assistance with

Media Relations: David Hosansky

Internal Communications: Rebecca Swisher

Social media, Staff Notes Daily, AtmosNews, and other web content: Zhenya Gallon

UCAR Update and general inquiries: Shilo Hall

Staff Page Archive

Photos for download

high resolution portrait   |   high resolution portrait2


  • Serve as chief writer and co-editor of AtmosNews, a website that covers research and related activities from NCAR, UCP, and our community partners. In the Perspective section, I write first-person columns analyzing weather events, climate trends, and related research.

  • Help populate the AtmosNews Twitter and Facebook feeds.

  • Edit UCAR Update. This monthly newsletter keeps UCAR members and affiliates apprised of events and opportunities.

  • Write news releases and assist with media inquiries, particularly those involving severe weather (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods) and climate change.

  • Assist with photography and Drupal-based Web design.

My background

I've been at UCAR & NCAR since 1989, covering the wide range of research and related activities conducted by NCAR, UOP, and UCAR's members and affiliates. I've also given a number of public and scholastic talks on weather and climate for audiences in the United States, England, and Australia. Working with UCAR exhibits staff, I helped conceptualize and created text and illustrations for the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail, the nation's first such interpretive exhibit.

I was born and raised in the Great Plains metropolis of Oklahoma City. Surrounded by wild weather, I grew up fascinated by it. My bachelor's degree at Rice University featured an interdisciplinary major in meteorology and psychology. I went to graduate school in both meteorology and journalism at the University of Oklahoma. For my M.A. thesis in journalism, I studied the broadcasting of severe weather warnings on local television.

Other writing

I am a contributing editor of Weatherwise and have written for Nature, Scientific American, Audubon, AIR & SPACE/Smithsonian, Sierra, the Guardian, and a number of other publications. I was a frequent correspondent for the Weather Notebook radio series and have occasionally guest-blogged for Capital Weather Gang (Washington Post). I've also written several books:

   The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change (American Meteorological Society, spring 2014)
       [Note: This is a newly titled, updated version of "The Rough Guide to Climate Change," below]

   Weather on the Air: A History of Broadcast Meteorology (American Meteorological Society, 2010)
       Honorable mention, 2010 ASLI Choice (History), Atmospheric Science Librarians International

   The Rough Guide to Climate Change (Penguin, 2006; third edition, 2011)
       Shortlisted for 2007 UK Royal Society Prize for Science Books

   The Rough Guide to Weather (Penguin, 2002; second edition, 2008)


A couple of other interests

  • Bicycling: I've done several tours of 200-800 miles and spend a lot of my transportation time on two wheels. I'm also very interested in urban planning, especially public transit and walking/biking options.

  • Storm photography: While on research experiments and personal travel, I've seen more than 30 tornadoes and a vast array of severe thunderstorms. Below is a photograph of a rotating LP (low-precipitation) supercell near Wray, Colorado, on June 2, 1999, with a small rain core impersonating a tornado.

©1999 Robert Henson







*Media & nonprofit use of images: Except where otherwise indicated, media and nonprofit use permitted with credit as indicated above and compliance with UCAR's terms of use. Find more images in the UCAR Digital Image Library.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.