Jon Petch named director of NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory 

Petch joins NCAR from the UK Met Office, where he oversees weather science

May 24, 2023 - by David Hosansky

Jon Petch has been named director of the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (CGD) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Petch, who currently serves as a deputy director in the UK Met Office responsible for weather science, will join NCAR on September 5.

Jon Petch
Jon Petch

“We are excited to welcome Jon to NCAR,” said NCAR Director Everette Joseph. “His experience overseeing the development of Earth system models for climate and weather applications and his demonstrated ability to build partnerships with the university community will position the lab for continued success. He is also a proven leader who has worked with colleagues to develop and implement strategies across organizations, structuring coherent teams while dedicating himself to improved employee satisfaction.”

Petch, who did his postdoctoral research in CGD in the late 1990s, has worked on the development of weather and climate models for more than 25 years. As the deputy director of weather science in the Met Office, he has been responsible for developing forecasting capabilities for the U.K. and transitioning them into operational use. He provides leadership for about 200 scientists and software engineers.

His previous roles in the Met Office included manager of Clouds and Radiation; head of Regional Model Evaluation and Development; and head of Science Partnerships. In the latter role, he was responsible for managing relationships and delivering joint programs of science with national and international partners of the Met Office. He also currently leads the Met Office’s diversity, equity, and inclusion activities.

Petch is a visiting professor at the University of Leeds. He has chaired the science advisory group for the U.S. Department of Energy program to develop a next-generation Earth system model, and is a member of both the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction advisory council for model development and the board of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. He previously served as vice president of the Royal Meteorological Society and chair of GASS (or Global Atmospheric System Studies), a World Climate Research Program that coordinates atmospheric model development internationally. 

Petch holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Reading, where he focused on modeling clouds and radiation. 

“It’s a huge honor to return to NCAR as part of the leadership team. I am especially delighted to return to lead CGD - the home of hugely talented scientists and software engineers and also where I started my working career,” said Petch. “I really look forward to getting to know the people in CGD as we work together to shape its future to deliver its goals and support the NCAR mission. As someone with a real passion for developing partnerships, I also look forward  to engaging with the many collaborators and stakeholders that work closely with CGD, and NCAR more broadly.”

As CGD director, Petch will be responsible for advancing the lab’s mission to discover the key processes of the Earth's climate system, represent this understanding in models, and apply this work to scientific problems of societal relevance. He will also work closely with the NCAR Directorate to align the direction for CGD with the NCAR Strategic Plan.

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