Michael H. Freilich

Michael H. Freilich

The AMS is uniquely poised to strengthen our profession and help lead the nation by expanding the consideration of scientific input for critical policy decisions.

Upcoming societal choices and federal policies will influence Earth’s environment, modify relationships between governments and researchers, broaden public-private collaborations, and transform the public’s perception of scientific and technical professionals. As a respected organization actively involving private sector meteorologists as well as academic, government, and private sector researchers – and with explicit objectives of communicating and expanding public understanding of the scientific endeavor – the AMS must continue to advance science and public perceptions in novel and compelling ways.

Critical near-term opportunities include:

  • Continuing and expanding efforts to have AMS reflect our nation’s rich cultural, economic, age, gender, and ethnic diversity. An active AMS membership as diverse as our nation will be most effective in communicating with the public and influencing future generations;
  • Supporting innovative approaches for broadening substantive public engagement in Earth science and environmental issues by tapping the creativity and leadership of our many social media-savvy members and non-traditional partners;
  • Developing sustained programs to help AMS members communicate scientific results and engage in persuasive, consensus-building policy-related discussions with the broad public, benefitting in part from the skills of our broadcast media members;
  • Developing substantive collaborations with other national and international organizations – going beyond cross-member benefits and joint communiques – to achieve scientific, societal, and policy goals beyond the resources of any single organization.

Throughout my career I have led teams that developed and executed focused strategic initiatives, resulting in significant scientific advances, expanded community cohesiveness, and more efficient ways of doing business. Working closely with the Council and broadening membership involvement, I look forward to helping to propel the AMS and our communities to ever-greater accomplishments and vitality.

 

Michael H. Freilich

Michael H. Freilich recently retired as director of NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD), a position that he had held since late 2006. As ESD director, he strategically planned, led, and managed all aspects of NASA’s approximately $2B/year Earth science activities, including the flight, research and analysis, applied sciences, and Earth-focused technology development elements. During his time at NASA Headquarters, Freilich helped expand the ESD budget by nearly 30%, revitalized NASA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, and expanded ESD’s research and applications funding to account for more than 40% of the total ESD budget. He led NASA’s and the communities’ responses to the inaugural 2007 Earth Decadal Survey, including creating the sustained Venture Class competitive, cost-capped, PI-led flight mission programs; establishing substantive intra-NASA partnerships resulting in the use of the International Space Station to host many Earth-observing instruments on external platforms; putting in place the competitive InVEST program that has already resulted in the flights of more than eight CubeSat and SmallSat technology demonstration missions; expanding collaborations with international partners; initiating a pilot program for NASA to purchase and evaluate data products from private-sector small-satellite constellations; and coestablishing with USGS and gaining administration and congressional support for the nation’s first enduring, multisatellite, multidecadal Sustainable Land Imaging program to ensure long-term provision of moderate-resolution, multispectral terrestrial imaging data. Prior to coming to NASA HQ, Freilich was a researcher and flight mission leader at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1983–91) and professor and associate dean at Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (1992–2006). He was project scientist and mission principal investigator for NASA’s NSCAT, QuikSCAT, and SeaWinds/ADEOS-2 wind-measuring satellite missions that launched between 1996 and 2002, and was deputy director of the NESDIS Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies at COAS/OSU. He has chaired and served on many National Research Council, NASA, and interagency oversight and review committees. Freilich is an AMS Fellow and recipient of the Society’s Verner Suomi Award (2004). He earned B.S. degrees in physics and chemistry from Haverford College (1975) and a Ph.D. in oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1982). Among other awards, Freilich received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, NASA’s Distinguished Achievement Award and Public Service Medal, and the JPL Director’s Research Achievement Award. He delivered the National Research Council/Smithsonian Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture in 2008.