Leonard J (Len) Pietrafesa, FAMS, PhD

Leonard J (Len) Pietrafesa, FAMS, PhD's photo
Leonard J Pietrafesa
North Carolina State University
Box 8208
Raleigh, NC 27695

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Len Pietrafesa is an AMS Member, a Fellow of the AMS, and Commissioner (2010-2012), Future Commissioner (2008-2010), and Past Commissioner (2012-2014) of the AMS Commission on the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise. He is is Associate Dean (retired) of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Professor of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (retired) in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. NCSU is a part of the University of North Carolina system. After earning a PhD degree in Fluid Physics and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics in 1973 from the University of Washington, Dr Pietrafesa joined the faculty at North Carolina State University and was made Full Professor in 1980. He has served as the Head of the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Director of the University Honors Council, Dean for Research, Director of the Center for Severe Storms in the Southeast, and Director of the NOAA Cooperative on Climate and Weather Impacts on Society and the Environment. His research and publications are diverse and include system wide modeling of wind and density driven circulation in coastal and estuary systems, modeling coastal storm induced surge, flood and inundation for advanced predictions, modeling and validating the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean in storm genesis and modification, modeling and validating wave- current interactive coupling, determining the climatology of the frequency of occurrence and tracks of tropical cyclones both in the Atlantic and Pacific, participating in the creation of the seasonal outlook for the number of land-falling hurricanes along US coastlines, determining coastal sea level variability over climate to event scales, creating an on the fly data assessment tool, creating an extra-tropical cyclogenesis detection tool, worked to create a two way interactively coupled model of the ocean and atmosphere, assessing the temporal variability of precipitation and river discharge, determining the relationships between atmospheric and oceanic state variables and numbers of storms to the year class strength of estuarine dependent finfish, and coupling natural hazards to societal impacts. He discovered the mechanisms for the topographic deflection of the Gulf Stream at the site of the "Charleston Bump" and creation of the "Charleston Trough" and coined the air-sea interaction term "buoyancy stress". Recent foci have been on the linkages between weather and climate and human disease, end to end modeling of physical through human systems and building a real time reporting coastal air-sea observing network offshore of the Carolinas in which data is assimilated into interactively coupled atmospheric-ocean models. He is widely published and his service includes being Chair of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, a Federal Advisory Committee, Chair of the US–Peoples Republic of China Steering Committee on Virtual Collaboratories, Chair of the NASULGC Board on Oceans and Atmosphere, Chair of the Council on Ocean Affairs, the precursor to CORE, a member of the AGU Public Policy Committee, a two-term member of the Board of Trustees of UCAR, a member of the WRP Scientific Steering Committee, a member of the NOAA Climate Working Group and a member of the NASULGC National Task Force on Water. He has appeared before the US Congress, both the Senate and the House, on multiple occasions as an expert witness on climate, weather. and ocean issues.

2011 AMS Summer Community Meeting
Click here to view Leonard J Pietrafesa's first slide presentation (.pdf)
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Click here to view Leonard J Pietrafesa's second slide presentation (.pdf)

2010 AMS Summer Community Meeting
Click here to view Leonard J Pietrafesa's first slide presentation (.pdf)
Click here to view Leonard J Pietrafesa's second slide presentation (.pdf)

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The content of this profile was last updated 5 January 2012
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