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UCAR congratulates NWS Director Louis Uccellini on his forthcoming retirement

Uccellini will leave a lasting legacy on the meteorology community

Sep 8, 2021 - by Staff

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) congratulates Louis Uccellini, head of the National Weather Service (NWS), on his upcoming retirement. 

On Jan. 1, 2022, Uccellini will step down as NWS director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a post he’s held since 2013. Uccellini first came to NOAA in 1989, and he has served in a variety of leadership roles over the years, including 14 years as director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Prior to his time at NOAA, Uccellini spent more than a decade at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for Atmospheres. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Uccellini’s myriad contributions to meteorology have been recognized throughout his career with a number of prestigious awards, including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the American Meteorological Society’s Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award, and the National Weather Association’s Research Achievement Awards for Significant Contributions to Operational Meteorology, among others. He is an expert on northeastern snowstorms, and has received acclaim for the two-volume book he co-authored on the subject, published in 2004. He is also the United States Permanent Representative with the World Meteorological Organization, and he served as president of the American Meteorological Society from 2012-2013.

“I am honored to have known Louis since we both worked at NASA Goddard in the early 1980s,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “Louis has been a pivotal member of the weather community for 50 years, and he will leave a lasting legacy that includes more accurate and longer-range forecasts and better communication of weather risks to vulnerable populations. 

“In particular, I have fond memories of Louis working with our mutual friend and colleague, the late Franco Einaudi, to start the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation; a program that aims to accelerate the use of observations from Earth-observing satellites to improve predictions of the Earth system. The center, now two decades old, is one of the UCAR Community Programs. Louis’ legacy also continues with NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate Prediction. I was privileged to help support the state-of-the-art building’s location next to the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), my former center at the University of Maryland research park.”

Beyond his tireless work to advance data assimilation, Uccellini also advocated for providing the weather community with the supercomputing resources it needs to continue to improve prediction. At UCAR, Uccellini was instrumental in the signing of a 2019 Memorandum of Agreement between NOAA and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which is managed by UCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation. The agreement established a new partnership to design a common modeling infrastructure that will be transparent and easy to access and use by public and private researchers.

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