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National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Climate and Global Dynamics Division
Climate Research


Warren M. Washington is a senior scientist and head of the Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Born in Portland, Oregon, Washington earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his doctorate in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, he joined NCAR in 1963 as a research scientist. Washington's areas of expertise are atmospheric science and climate research, and he specializes in computer modeling of the earth's climate. He has published more than 100 papers in professional journals. His book An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, co-authored with Claire Parkinson (NASA), is a reference on climate modeling. The second edition was published in May, 2005. In May of 1995, he was appointed by President Clinton to a six-year term on the National Science Board, which helps oversee the National Science Foundation and advises the Executive Branch and Congress on science related matters. In March 2000 he was nominated by President Clinton for a second six-year term and was confirmed by the Senate in September 2000. In May 2002, The National Science Board (NSB) in Washington, D.C., announced that it had elected Washington as its new Chair. He was re-elected to a second term in May of 2004. The National Science Board has dual responsibilities as national science policy adviser to the president and Congress and as governing board for the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency. Washington's term ended on 10 May 2006. The accomplishments of the NSB during Washington's tenure can be found here. He is a Fellow of the AMS and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and from 1991 to 1995 he was a member of the AAAS Board of Directors. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Pennsylvania State University and Oregon State University, an Alumni Fellow of Pennsylvania State University and Oregon State University, a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute, and a member of the American Geophysical Union. In August 2004 Washington received the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The Vollum Award was created in 1975 as a tribute to the late C. Howard Vollum, a 1936 Reed graduate and lifelong friend of the college. Winners are selected for the perseverance, fresh approach to problems and solutions, and creative imagination that characterized Vollum's career. Linux creator Linus Torvald is the current recipient of the Vollum Award. In June 2006, Washington was the commencement speaker and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science at Oregon State University. In October 2006 Washington was the Robert D. Cess Distinguished Topics in Atmospheric an Oceanic Sciences Seminar Speaker at the State University of New York at Stonybrook. Washington was elected honorary member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in 2006 and received the Charles Franklin Brooks Award from the AMS for outstanding services to the Society in January 2007. Washington received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Raymond L. Orbach of the U.S. Department of Energy in August 2007. "In recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to National and International science, on behalf of the U. S. Department of Energy, I wish to express our appreciation. You [Warren Washington] have advised five Presidents, given wise and insightful counsel to colleagues, advice to the Department of Energy and other Federal agencies, and mentored directly and as a role model to enumerable young people. Your numerous scientific contributions to climate modeling have provided new knowledge on how the Earth's climate may respond to human and natural system changes. I commend and thank you for your service to science and to humankind." In December 2007, Washington was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and Environment. Warren's current research involves use of the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) and the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) to study the impacts of climate change in the 21st century. He currently serves as a co-chair of the Climate Change Working Group within CCSM. The Parallel Climate Model is a DOE supported effort and the Community Climate System Model is supported by both the NSF and the DOE.