Biographical Sketches of Committee Members
Gerald R. North (Chair) is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography and holder of the Harold J. Haynes Endowed Chair in Geosciences at Texas A&M University. His professional interests include climate analysis, climate and hydrological modeling, satellite remote sensing and mission planning, and statistical methods in atmospheric science. Dr. North and his research group are interested in climate change and the determination of its origins. They work with simplified climate models that lend themselves to analytical study, estimation theory as applied to observing systems, and the testing of all climate models through statistical approaches. Dr. North is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and is editor in chief of Reviews of Geophysics. He is a former member of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and Committee on Earth Studies. Dr. North received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin.
Franco Biondi is an associate professor of physical geography at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he is also a member of the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences and the Ph.D. Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. His interests are in climate and forest dynamics, Holocene processes, and environmental change. His long-term scientific goal is to understand climate processes affecting forest growth at multiannual timescales in current, past, and future environments, and he pursues this goal using natural archives such as tree rings. In 2001 he received the Paper of the Year Award from the Climate Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. Dr. Biondi received his Ph.D. in watershed management from the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Peter Bloomfield is a professor of statistics and a member of the financial mathematics faculty at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. His interests are in the application of statistical methods to problems in earth science and finance. He served on the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration/World Meteorological Organization (NASA/WMO) ozone trends panel and was lead author of an appendix on statistics for the panel’s report. He has also served on panels of the NRC, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has studied methods for detecting trends in geophysical time series such as stratospheric ozone, surface temperatures, and atmospheric concentration of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Dr. Bloomfield also spent several years working in a financial institution, building a statistical model of the risks in special-purpose financial companies, and continues to consult on financial problems. He received his Ph.D. in statistics from the University of London.
John R. Christy is a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he began studying global climate issues in 1987. In 2000 he was appointed state climatologist of Alabama. In 1989, Dr. Roy Spencer (then a NASA/Marshall scientist) and Dr. Christy developed a global temperature dataset from microwave data observed from satellites beginning in 1979, for which they were awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. They also received a special award from AMS “for developing a global, precise record of earth’s temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate.” Dr. Christy has served as a contributor and lead author for the IPCC reports in which the satellite temperatures were included as a high-quality dataset for studying global climate change. He is a former member of several NRC committees, including the Panel on Reconciling Temperature Observations and the Committee on Utilization of Environmental Satellite Data. Dr. Christy received his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois.
Kurt M. Cuffey is a professor of geography at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Cuffey explores the interface between climatology and geomorphology and has a particular interest in the earth’s great ice sheets. His research efforts emphasize environmental change of polar regions, with a focus on glaciological problems. He uses geophysical techniques to reconstruct histories of temperature and snowfall rate over the ice sheets. He is also working on a better understanding of the physical and chemical processes that determine ice composition as a function of climate. Dr. Cuffey pioneered the use of borehole thermometry to obtain a temperature calibration of the oxygen isotope record in ice cores from Summit Greenland. He is a fellow of the AGU, and in 2003 he was awarded AGU’s Macelwane Medal. Dr. Cuffey received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Robert E. Dickinson is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His areas of interest include the dynamics of atmospheric planetary waves, stratospheric dynamics, models of global structure and dynamics of terrestrial and planetary thermosphere, non-local thermodynamic equilibrium infrared radiative transfer in planetary mesopheres, global climate modeling and processes, the role of land processes in climate systems, the modeling role of vegetation in regional evapotranspiration, and the role of tropical forests in climate systems. Dr. Dickinson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a fellow of AAAS and AGU. He has served on
many NRC committees, including the Committee on the Science of Climate Change and Climate Research Committee. He is the recipient of the AMS Rossby Award and the AGU Revelle Medal. Dr. Dickinson received his Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ellen R.M. Druffel is the Advance chair and professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include coupling between climate and ocean ventilation and their effects on global carbon dioxide cycling and tracking the influence of climate change on present and past upper-ocean circulation using isotope studies of annually banded corals. Dr. Druffel is a fellow of AAAS and AGU; she is president of the Ocean Sciences section of AGU. She has served on several NRC committees, including the Ocean Studies Board and the Committee on Oceanic Carbon. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego.
Douglas Nychka is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Before joining NCAR, he spent 14 years as a faculty member in the Statistics Department at North Carolina State University. In his current role, his primary challenge is interdisciplinary research and migrating statistical techniques to important scientific problems and using these problems to motivate novel statistical research. His personal research interests include nonparametric regression, statistical computing, spatial statistics, and spatial designs. Dr. Nychka currently serves on the NRC Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
Bette Otto-Bliesner is a scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado. She is head of the Paleoclimate Group and deputy head of the Climate Change Research Section. Her research interest is to use climate system models to investigate past climate and climate variability across a wide range of timescales. She is particularly interested in the range and modes of climate variability forced naturally (internally generated, volcanic episodes, solar changes, greenhouse gases) over the last 1,000 years and extending through the Holocene to the Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years before present). Dr. Otto-Bliesner is chair of the AGU Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Focus Group and a member of the scientific steering committees of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) program of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and the Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PMIP). She is also currently serving as a lead author on the IPCC Fourth Assessment report. She received her Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Neil Roberts is the head of the School of Geography at the University of Plymouth. His main research interests are in Holocene environmental change, especially the lake sediment record of climate and human impact in low-latitude regions such as East Africa and the Mediterranean. Dr. Roberts is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the British Geomorphological Research Group, the British Ecological Society, and the American Quaternary Association. He is the author of The Holocene: An Environmental History. Dr. Roberts received his Ph.D. from University College London.
Karl K. Turekian is the Sterling Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. His research areas include atmospheric geochemistry of cosmogenic, radon daughter, and man-made radionuclides; surficial and groundwater geochemistry of radionuclides; marine geochemistry; and the study of Earth history using radiogenic isotopes. Dr. Turekian is a member of the NAS and a fellow of AAAS and AGU. He is the recipient of the Maurice Ewing Medal of the AGU, the Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society, and the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London. Dr. Turekian has served on many NRC committees, including the Committee on the Atmospheric Dispersion of Hazardous Material Releases, Committee on Metrics for Global Change Research, Water Science and Technology Board, and Ocean Studies Board. Dr. Turekian received his Ph.D. in geochemistry from Columbia University.
John M. Wallace is a professor of atmospheric sciences and director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington, Seattle. His research, and that of his students, has been directed at improving our understanding of global climate and its year-to-year and decade-to-decade variations, making use of observational data. They have contributed to documenting the existence of El Niño-like variability on a decade-to-decade timescale (e.g., the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and are currently investigating two analogous patterns of weather and climate variability—the Northern and Southern Hemisphere “annular modes,” which have played a prominent role in the climatic trends of the past 30 years. Dr. Wallace is a member of the NAS and a fellow of AAAS, AGU, and AMS. He has served on many NRC committees, including the Committee on the Science of Climate Change, Panel on Reconciling Temperature Observations, and the Climate Research Committee, and he is a current member of the Committee on Strategic Guidance for NSF’s Support of the Atmospheric Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.