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Duke University
Title: Gardner Professor and Chair
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Land Atmosphere Interactions


Dr. Avissar received a B.S. (1980), a M.S. (1982) awarded Summa Cum Laude and a Ph.D. (1987) in Soil and Water Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Avissar then served as a Research and Teaching Assistant (1978-1984) and Instructor (1984-1986) for the Hebrew University, a Research Associate (1986-1989) for Colorado State University, and an Assistant Professor (1989-1994), Associate Professor (1994-1997), Professor (1997-2000), and Distinguished Professor (2000-2001) for Rutgers University. In 2001, he joined Duke University as the W.H. Gardner Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and completed his term as Chair in 2006. He was the Chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences (1998-2001) and the Director of the Center for Environmental Prediction (1998-2001), which he founded in 1998, at Rutgers University. He was on sabbatical at the NASA - Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Spring 1998. For the past 25 years, Dr. Avissar has focused on the development and evaluation of various environmental fluid dynamics models to study ocean-land-atmosphere interactions at the various spatial and temporal scales. His work includes analytical, numerical and observational studies. He has pioneered the development of land-surface parameterizations that account for the impact of spatial heterogeneity of land-surface characteristics in atmospheric numerical models (Avissar and Pielke 1989, Avissar 1998). He also pioneered the parameterization of mesoscale atmospheric fluxes on clouds, precipitation, and other hydrometeorological processes in large-scale atmospheric numerical models (Avissar and Chen 1993). He has also developed a fully coupled lake-atmosphere three-dimensional numerical model (Avissar and Pan 2000, Pan and Avissar 2002) and is involved in the development of the Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Model - OLAM (Walko and Avissar 2007). These models are used for various research and operational projects. His work also includes observations and the development of observing tool, such as the Helicopter Observation Platform (HOP). Dr. Avissar's research has been funded consistently by NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOE, EPRI, EPA, ARO, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF). Dr. Avissar is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He was also the recipient of the prestigious American Geophysical Union Robert E. Horton Award in 1998 for his outstanding contributions in interdisciplinary hydrologic research, particularly in mesoscale land-atmosphere interaction. He received the Highest Honors (rated first) for his graduate studies at the Hebrew University School of Agriculture in 1982, a honorable mention from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for his work on greenhouse microclimate in 1983, an award for outstanding distinctions in graduate studies from the Hebrew University in 1985, the Rutgers University - Cook College Research Excellence Award in 1993, a Water Resources Research Editors' Citation for Excellence in Refereeing in 1995, and an award for outstanding service to the National Research Council in 2002. Dr. Avissar has been invited to write peer-reviewed papers and chapters in books, lecture at various seminars, and participate at workshops and conferences as a keynote speaker. A list of his peer-reviewed publications is provided below. He has also been invited to organize and chair sessions at professional meetings, and serve on various professional panels and committee. He currently is the Chair of the Global Environmental Change focus area of the American Geophysical union. He is a member of the NASA Science Advisory Council (Earth Science Subcommittee), of the science steering committee of the Large-Scale Biosphere Atmosphere (LBA) Experiment in Amazonia and of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Process Study (iLEAPS). He chaired and organized the Sixth International Conference on Precipitation, which was held in Hawaii in 1998, and the Workshop on Ecosystem-Atmosphere Interactions, which was held in Brazil in 1996. He was the president of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Meteorological Society from 1992 until 1996, a member of the National Research Council (NRC) committee on hydrological sciences from 1998 until 2001, a member of the NRC committee on radiative forcing effects on climate (2004-2005), and a member of the IGBP Biological Aspect of the Hydrologic Cycle (BAHC) science steering committee from 1997 until 2002. Dr. Avissar served as the Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Climate and Physics of the Atmosphere from July 1996 until December 2000. He was an Associate Editor for that journal from 1993 until 1996, and from 2001 until 2003. Other services to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) include his membership on the Atmospheric Science Executive Committee (1996-2000), the Board of Editors (1996-2000), the Precipitation Committee (since 1994), the Large-Scale Field Experiment Committee (since 1994), the Horton Medal Committee (since 2000), and the Fellow Nomination Committee (since 2002). He is also the Chair of the Advisory Board of the joint American Meteorological Society / American Geophysical Union journal Earth Interactions.