News Releases

New director of NCAR announced

July 30, 2013

BOULDER—James W. Hurrell, an associate director and senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has been named the center’s new director. He will assume his new post on September 2.

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

“Jim is a world-renowned scientist and highly experienced administrator,” says Thomas Bogdan, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages NCAR for the National Science Foundation (NSF). “He has extensive knowledge of the atmospheric sciences as well as the university community that we serve. I could not be more pleased to have him at the helm of NCAR.”

Hurrell succeeds Roger Wakimoto, who left NCAR earlier this year to lead the Directorate for Geosciences at NSF.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be named the next director of NCAR, and I am both excited and humbled to lead one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program,” says Hurrell. “NCAR and its university partners are in an excellent position to address the most pressing problems in atmospheric science.”

“Dr. Hurrell brings excellent scientific and managerial credentials to the position of NCAR Director,” says Stephan Nelson, section head for NCAR at NSF, NCAR’s sponsor. “We at NSF look forward to a productive working relationship.”

Hurrell, a climate scientist with expertise in computer modeling and large-scale atmospheric patterns, first came to NCAR as a visiting scientist in 1990. He is the former director of NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Division, and he has served as chief scientist of the Community Earth System Model, which is one of the world’s most advanced computer models of Earth’s climate. In 2011, Hurrell was named an NCAR associate director as well as director of the Earth System Laboratory, which focuses on weather, climate, and atmospheric chemistry research. Hurrell has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has given nearly 150 professional invited and keynote talks.

An internationally recognized climate expert, Hurrell has played a leading role in national and international science organizations. He has been extensively involved in the World Climate Research Programme and the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, as well as assessment activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). He has served on several National Research Council (NRC) panels. Hurrell has also provided numerous briefings and testimonies to both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on climate change science.

Hurrell is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the Royal Meteorological Society. He is the recipient of the AMS’s prestigious Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award and has been recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson-ISI. He has served on the AMS Council as well as numerous other national and international scientific committees. In 2011, he was honored for his contributions to climate science by giving the Fridtjof Nansen Memorial Lecture to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, where he was also awarded the Nansen Medal.

Hurrell holds a master’s and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Purdue University.


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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.