James Hansen

James Hansen

If elected as Council member, my focus will be on utilizing the tools and structure of the Council to better align the science, enthusiasm, and talent of the AMS community to strengthen scientific understanding and our Nation’s ability to predict weather and climate with systems that are second to none.

My background provides a range of perspectives and experience to help achieve this goal. As a student and postdoc in the UK, I interacted directly with world-leading weather and climate centers at ECMWF and the UK Meteorological Office, and understand that their success lies in much more than having large computers. As a professor of atmospheric science I lived the challenges of obtaining funding for science motivated by improving forecasts. As a government scientist I experienced first-hand the difficulty and satisfaction of working with University and private sector groups to transition new capability to an Operational Center. And as a leader in a government research laboratory, I routinely address the challenges of leadership, of large-scale partnerships with other government agencies and with the private sector, and of misalignment that frustrate efforts to drive our Enterprise to world leadership.

We often hear of innovation in science and technology and its importance for obtaining and maintaining excellence. Scientific innovation is crucial for driving the US Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise towards world-leadership, but it is only part of the solution. Equally important is innovation in education, funding, recruitment and hiring, operations, product dissemination, and training.

The AMS is structured to advocate for and facilitate this broad front of innovation; the Committees, Commissions, and Boards under the AMS Council touch on each of those areas. My focus as Councilor will be to work to provide consistent vision and leadership and to align all aspects of the Enterprise to improve relationships and partnerships between the public, private, and academic sectors to enable us attack the major challenges.

Jim Hansen is a member of the Senior Executive Service, and is the Superintendent of the Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory. The Division strives to better understand the environment so that it can be better simulated and better predicted, allowing the DoD to make better decisions.

Dr. Hansen’s personal research interests focus on data assimilation, the estimation of environmental forecast uncertainty, and the use of that uncertainty in decision making. He serves on numerous scientific advisory boards, was an editor for Monthly Weather Review, and has dozens of peer reviewed publications. Recent programs he has led have focused on combining intelligence information, environmental forecasts, and human behavioral information to provide guidance products for anti- piracy (for which he was awarded a patent and the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award), drug interdiction in the East Pacific and Caribbean Sea, and force deployment for submarine missions. Of particular interest is the use of mission-relevant metrics to identify the aspects of environmental prediction whose improvement will have the greatest impact.

As Superintendent his focus has been on facilitating science excellence, operational transitions, and professional growth. He has significantly increased participation in the Division’s postdoc and internship programs and initiated grass-roots diversity and inclusion task forces to help broaden Division recruitment and better engage existing employees. He has put professional development programs in place, and has implemented changes to the Division’s performance assessment process to better reward merit and strengthen accountability. He has also worked with scientists, sponsors, Navy operators to identify and support partnerships with academia, the private sector, and government labs to bring needed science and capability into the Navy.

Jim has been at NRL since 2006. Prior to NRL he was an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his undergraduate and masters degrees in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he paid his way through school by playing football. Jim received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained his PhD at Oxford University in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary Physics.