The Annual Dr. James R. Mahoney Memorial Lecture

2023 Mahoney Lecture

The Coming Age Of ATSC 3.0 : How it Could Help Build an Alliance to Advance Public Emergency Information and Severe Weather Warnings

Lecturer: Veronica Johnson, Chief Meteorologist, WJLA TV ABC

The way in which you get severe weather information and the speed at which it hits your device could soon change. ATSC 3.0, also known as NEXTGEN broadcast technology is now being deployed by TV broadcasters nationwide. It will use NWS warnings along with additional information to allow people to respond quickly to emergencies and severe weather. That additional information could include evacuation routes, shelter locations, and how to take cover.

ATSC 3.0 will give local TV stations the ability to deliver geo-targeted alerts to those in danger zones to enabled devices like TVs, cell phones and connected cars to provide the latest updates and developments. Because there is no need to hook into the internet or cell phone system, alerts can be sent to an infinite number of devices without congestion and all for free over-the-air. This new technology will strengthen partnerships between organizations that send out critical life saving information and broadcasters.

Lecture will include:

  • How we currently get our severe weather warnings, the importance of collaboration with NOAA, National Weather Service
  • How ATSC works
  • Applications & Scenarios that showcase benefit to saving life and property during severe weather
  • How far along is the technology today and policy to help advance
  • ATSC 3.0 is the latest broadcast standard approved by the Federal Communications Commission. By upgrading, broadcasters will have the ability to enhance live video and gain the ability to deliver any type of internet data (text, audio, video or GPS) to a live video broadcast signal.

Dr. James R. Mahoney Memorial Lectures Delivered to Date:

2022 - The lecture was given by Lee and Geraldine Martin and Dr. Susan Solomon. It was titled "Solvable: How Environmental Success Gives Hope for The Planet."

2021 - The lecture was given by Dr. Margaret Leinen, who discussed some of the interrelationships between the ocean, weather and climate and how ocean observing systems are contributing to our knowledge of all three.

2020 - The lecture was given by Holden Thorp, Editor-in-Chief of the Science family of journals on Monday, 26 October. It was titled “Curating a Robust Scientific Record in a Challenging World." 

2019 - The lecturer was Dr. William Easterling, Director of the Geosciences Division of NSF, who covered aspects of transformational adaptation to climate change. It was held on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 at the NOAA Auditorium of the Herbert Hoover Building, 1401 Constitution Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. 

2018 – The Lecture "Science in a Post-Truth World" was delivered by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Distinguished University Professor and Marine Studies Advisor to the President, Oregon State University, and former NOAA Administrator (2009–2013) This marks the third lecture that honors the memory of Dr. Mahoney. It was held on Monday, 23 April 2018 at the American Association For The Advancement Of Science (AAAS) Auditorium, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Watch Dr. Jane Lubchenco's Lecture | Watch All Speakers

2017 – The Lecture “Better Information for Better Decisions: Scientific Assessments to Support Risk Management and Solutions” was delivered on May 1, 2017 in Washington, DC by Richard H. Moss, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Joint Global Climate Research Institute and Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland. See program here.

2016 – The Inaugural Lecture “Climate Change, the Ocean, and Us” was delivered on September 19, 2016 in Washington, DC by Susan K. Avery, Ph.D., President Emerita, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. See program here.

James Richard Mahoney, Ph.D


The Annual James R. Mahoney Memorial Lecture was established in 2016 in memory of Dr.  James (Jim) Richard Mahoney who passed away in September 2015. The Annual Lecture, which takes place in Washington D.C., has been initiated by a group of his former colleagues and will be conducted in cooperation with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), two organizations pivotal to Jim’s professional career. The Annual Lecture will honor Jim’s memory in perpetuity by featuring an annual lecture by a distinguished speaker on a relevant environmental science and/or policy issue of the day.

Dr. Mahoney was a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere/Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In that position, he directed the 13-agency U.S. Climate Change Science Program. Throughout his career, Dr. Mahoney advised on earth and environmental science issues at the forefront of global climate change and the environment generally in the United States and around the world. He served as Chairman of the Roundtable on Climate Change Education for the National Academy of Sciences.

Earlier, Dr. Mahoney was director of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, working in the Executive Office of the President. He co-founded the firm of Environmental Research & Technology, Inc. in 1968, one of the country’s earliest firms devoted to environmental management and technology. From 1966 to 1974 he served on the faculty of Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

Dr. Mahoney was a Fellow and former President of the 13,000-member American Meteorological Society and he served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences dealing with weather and climate, environmental protection and science education.

Dr. Mahoney received his BS degree in Physics from LeMoyne College and his Ph.D in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).