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Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change (2016)

Chapter:Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
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APPENDIX C

Committee Mini Biographies

Dr. David Titley (Chair) is a Professor of Practice in Meteorology and the Founding Director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Pennsylvania State University and a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Center for New American Security. Dr. Titley’s 32-year Naval career included duties as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance. Dr. Titley initiated and led the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change, and he also served on the staff of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. After retiring from the Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral, Dr. Titley served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Operations, the Chief Operating Officer position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has spoken on various domestic and international stages, including Congressional Hearings, the International Panel on Climate Change, and a TEDx talk, among others. Dr. Titley serves on the CNA Military Advisory Board, and he has served on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees as a member and co-chair. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He earned a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Dr. Gabriele Hegerl is Professor of Climate System Science at the University of Edinburgh. Her interests are in determining the causes of observed climate changes, focusing on mean and extreme temperature and precipitation. She works on the interface between climate modeling and climate observations, with a focus on uncertainty, on variability and change in climatic extremes, and on the use of palaeo-proxy data to study climate variability and change during the last millennium. Dr. Hegerl is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has a Wolfson fellowship by the Royal Society. She is one of the co-leads of the World Climate Research Programme’s Grand Challenge on climate extremes. Dr. Hergerl has been a lead author and coordinating lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ms. Katharine L. Jacobs is the Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) and a Professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Jacobs served as an Assistant Director in the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President. Ms. Jacobs was the Director of the National Climate Assessment (NCA), leading a team of 300 authors and more than 1,000 contributors who wrote the Third NCA report. The report was published in May of 2014. She also

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×

was the lead advisor on water science and policy and climate adaptation within OSTP. Prior to her work in the White House, Ms. Jacobs was the Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute from 2006-2009, leading a consortium of the three state universities focused on water-related research, education, and technology transfer in support of water supply sustainability. She has more than 20 years of experience as a Water Manager for the Arizona’s Department of Water Resources, including 14 years as Director of the Tucson Active Management Area. Her research interests include water policy, connecting science and decision making, stakeholder engagement, use of climate information for water management applications, climate change adaptation, and drought planning. Ms. Jacobs earned her M.L.A. in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. She has served on eight National Research Council (NRC) panels and was Chair of the NRC panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change and a member of the panel on America’s Climate Choices.

Dr. Philip W. Mote is a Professor in the College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University (OSU); Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) for the Oregon University System; and Director of Oregon Climate Services, the official state climate office for Oregon. Dr. Mote’s current research interests include scenario development, regional climate change, regional climate modeling with a super-ensemble generated by volunteers’ personal computers, and adaptation to climate change. He is the co-leader of both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–funded Climate Impacts Research Consortium for the Northwest and the Northwest Climate Science Center for the U.S. Department of the Interior. Since 2005 he has been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also a coordinating lead author and advisory council member for the U.S. National Climate Assessment and has served on numerous committees for the National Research Council. He earned a B.A. in Physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, and he arrived at OSU to establish OCCRI in 2009.

Dr. Christopher J. Paciorek is an Associate Research Statistician, as well as a lecturer and the statistical computing consultant in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. His statistical expertise is in the areas of Bayesian statistics and spatial statistics, with primary application to environmental and public health research. Dr. Paciorek’s work in recent years has focused on methodology and applied work in a variety of areas, in particular: quantifying trends in extreme weather, quantifying millennial-scale changes in vegetation using paleoecological data, and developing computational software for hierarchical modeling (the NIMBLE project). He has also worked on measurement error issues in air pollution epidemiology, Bayesian

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×

methods for global health monitoring with a focus on combining disparate sources of information, and spatio-temporal modeling of air pollution. Before coming to Berkeley, he was an Assistant Professor in the Biostatistics Department at the Harvard School of Public Health. He finished his Ph.D. in Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2003 and also has an M.S. in Ecology from Duke University and a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College.

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA’s) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences and hosts The Weather Channel’s Sunday talk show Weather Geeks. In 2014, the Captain Planet Foundation honored Dr. Shepherd with its Protector of the Earth Award. (Recent recipients include Erin Brockovich and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.) He is also the 2015 Recipient of the Association of American Geographers Media Achievement award and the 2015 UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission. In 2004 he was honored at the White House with a prestigious PECASE (Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers) award. Dr. Shepherd is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and recipient of its Charles Anderson Award. Two national magazines, the AMS, and Florida State University, have also recognized Dr. Shepherd for his significant contributions. He is frequently sought as an expert on weather and climate by major media outlets like CBS’s Face the Nation, USA Today, Time, CNN, NOVA, and The Today Show. His TEDx Atlanta Talk on “Slaying Climate Zombies” is highly regarded and cited. Dr. Shepherd is also frequently asked to advise key leaders at NASA, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the White House, Congress, and various agencies. He is on the board of Mothers and Others for Clean Air, a partnership with the American Lung Association. He has more than 75 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and numerous editorials. Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Physical Meteorology from Florida State University. He co-authored a children’s book on weather called Dr. Fred’s Weather Watch.

Dr. Theodore G. Shepherd obtained a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Toronto in 1979, and a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, he took up a fac-

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×

ulty position in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto in 1988. In 2012 he moved to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading to become the inaugural Grantham Professor of Climate Science. His research interests range from theoretical geophysical fluid dynamics to climate modeling and data analysis, with a focus on atmospheric circulation. He has held leadership roles in scientific assessments of both climate (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and stratospheric ozone (World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environment Programme), as well as in the World Climate Research Programme, and he is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Royal Society of Canada. From 2001-2005 he was Chief Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. In 2014 he was honored as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.

Dr. Adam Sobel is a Professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is an atmospheric scientist who specializes in the dynamics of climate and weather, particularly in the tropics, on timescales of days to decades. A major focus of his current research is extreme events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts, and the risks these pose to human society in the present and future climate. He is leading a new Columbia University Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate. Dr. Sobel holds a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Music from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the past few years, he has received the Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, an AXA Award in Extreme Weather and Climate from the AXA Research Fund, and an Ascent Award from the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Sobel is author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and his book Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future, published in October 2014 by HarperCollins, received the 2014 Atmospheric Science Librarians International Choice Award in the popular category.

Dr. John Walsh received his B.A. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. He spent a postdoctoral year at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was a faculty member at the University of Illinois for 30 years and, more recently, at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. While at Illinois, he led a polar research group and coauthored an undergraduate textbook, Severe and Hazardous Weather: An Introduction to High-Impact Meteorology. He also spent 1 year as the Chair in Arctic Marine Science at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. At the University of Alaska

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×

Fairbanks, Dr. Walsh is currently the Chief Scientist of the International Arctic Research Center. His recent research has addressed Arctic climate change; seasonal to decadal variability of sea ice; predictability of climate change in high latitudes; and changes in arctic weather in the context of climate change. In 2009 he received the Usibelli Distinguished Researcher Award from the University of Alaska. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Francis W. Zwiers, before becoming Director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, served as a Research Scientist (1984-2006), Chief of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (1997-2006), and Director of the Climate Research Division (2006-2010), all at Environment Canada. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Victoria and in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science of Simon Fraser University. His expertise is in the application of statistical methods to the analysis of observed and simulated climate variability and change. Dr. Zwiers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Meteorological Society, a recipient of the Patterson Medal (Meteorological Service of Canada), and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Western University. He has served as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report and as an elected member of the IPCC Bureau for the Fifth Assessment Report.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
Page163
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
Page164
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
Page165
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Committee Mini Biographies." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21852.
×
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As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well understood. Warming increases the likelihood of extremely hot days and nights, favors increased atmospheric moisture that may result in more frequent heavy rainfall and snowfall, and leads to evaporation that can exacerbate droughts.

Even with evidence of these broad trends, scientists cautioned in the past that individual weather events couldn't be attributed to climate change. Now, with advances in understanding the climate science behind extreme events and the science of extreme event attribution, such blanket statements may not be accurate. The relatively young science of extreme event attribution seeks to tease out the influence of human-cause climate change from other factors, such as natural sources of variability like El Niño, as contributors to individual extreme events.

Event attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event. As event attribution capabilities improve, they could help inform choices about assessing and managing risk, and in guiding climate adaptation strategies. This report examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution, and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities.

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