November 17, 2016 – James W. Hurrell, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), has been elected incoming president of the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He will be formally installed as president-elect at the AGU’s annual meeting in December.
“It is a great honor to be elected by peers throughout the geosciences community,” Hurrell said. “This is a critical time for the atmospheric sciences as we seek to advance our knowledge of climate change, extreme weather events, air quality, and other issues that pose significant challenges to our society.”
The Atmospheric Sciences Section studies the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere, particularly the two layers closest to Earth’s surface: the stratosphere and troposphere. These layers are crucial to life because they regulate planetary surface temperature, play an integral role in the world’s water cycle, and screen the planet from high-energy radiation. Much of the research focuses on global climate change, as well as monitoring fluctuations in the ozone layer and better understanding and predicting weather events and the effects of emissions from human activities.
“New ideas and approaches to AGU’s strategic challenges can be found in the collective wisdom of the organization’s diverse membership,” Hurrell said. “As president-elect, I am committed to eliciting those ideas and finding effective methods to further develop and implement the best of them.”
An NCAR senior scientist, Hurrell was named director of the center in 2013. He has contributed to numerous national and international science planning initiatives, including extensive involvement in the World Climate Research Programme, as well as the assessment activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He also has served on several National Academy of Sciences panels, and he has provided briefings and testimonies to Congress on climate change science.
Hurrell is a Fellow of the AGU, as well as of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. His personal research has centered on empirical and modeling studies and diagnostic analyses to better understand climate, climate variability, and climate change.
“Jim’s vision and energy, along with his skill at drawing on insights from across the atmospheric sciences community, will enable him to make substantial contributions to AGU,” said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). “The UCAR community is excited over Jim’s election and looks forward to his leadership in this important position.”