Roger Wakimoto named NSF assistant director for the geosciences

November 7, 2012

BOULDER—Roger Wakimoto, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), has been named by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve as assistant director for the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO).

Wakimoto will lead a directorate with an annual budget of approximately $1 billion in support of core research in the atmospheric, polar, Earth, and ocean sciences. He will assume his new position in Washington, DC, in February 2013.

Roger Wakimoto
Roger Wakimoto (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)

“Roger brings to NSF significant depth and breadth of knowledge in the sciences GEO supports,” said NSF Director Subra Suresh. “His record of strong leadership will serve NSF and the scientific community well, given his outstanding work at NCAR and his dedication to basic research.”   

NCAR is sponsored by NSF.

A geophysicist with expertise in tornadoes, thunderstorms, and other types of severe weather, Wakimoto has served as NCAR director since 2010. Previously he headed up NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory, which oversees instrument development and national and international field projects. Before that, he was a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, and also chaired the department.

As the principal source of federal funding for university-based fundamental research in the geosciences, GEO addresses the nation's need to understand, predict, and respond to environmental events and changes to use Earth's resources wisely. Basic research in the geosciences advances scientific knowledge of Earth's environment, including resources such as water, energy, minerals, and biological diversity. GEO-supported research also advances the ability to predict natural phenomena of economic and human significance, such as climate change, weather, earthquakes, fish-stock fluctuations, and disruptive events in the solar-terrestrial environment.

GEO manages facilities and an academic research fleet, including the newly launched R/V Sikuliaq and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center, which was dedicated last month.

Wakimoto has written or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in meteorology and has taken part in a dozen major field projects in the United States and overseas. He has served on numerous committees, panels, and boards for NSF, The National Academies, the American Meteorological Society, and other organizations. His numerous awards and honors include a scientific and technical achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency for observations of air pollution and the Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society in recognition of his contributions to understanding mesoscale weather events.

Thomas Bogdan, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR, says, “While Roger’s leadership at NCAR will be missed, the good news is that he will play an enhanced leadership role in Washington on vital issues in the Earth sciences. We wish Roger all the best in his new role.”

UCAR will be launching an international search for a new director.


*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 NCAR|UCAR Multimedia & Image Gallery.

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.