NOAA 2006-066
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Will Also Lead NOAA Research Labs and Cooperative Institutes

Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald was named the first director of NOAA’s recently consolidated Boulder laboratories and will also be the first deputy assistant administrator for NOAA’s research laboratories and joint/cooperative institutes operated through the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

“Sandy has the vision, and scientific and leadership skills that will not only enhance the Boulder laboratory’s world class stature, but also take the rest of NOAA’s research enterprise to new levels,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “I am very pleased that Sandy will be at the helm of this critical component of NOAA, especially as we transfer research into operational products that affect the daily life of every American.”

MacDonald began his NOAA career in 1975 as a Techniques Improvement Meteorologist with the Western Regional National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was director of the Forecast Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., one of five NOAA laboratories that were consolidated in October 2005 into the Earth System Research Laboratory. MacDonald was the acting director of ESRL.

In addition to writing a body of scientific literature, Macdonald also created Science on a Sphere, a unique way of viewing scientific data in the round. He is a leader in the concept of using unmanned aircraft systems for weather and climate prediction and developed a new mesoscale weather prediction model. He received a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for his work in the development of the National Weather Service Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).

“With Sandy in these new positions, I expect NOAA’s research to head into new and exciting areas that continue to support NOAA’s service and resources management missions and provide sound technological and scientific principles to improve products and services for the American people,” said Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

Five of the NOAA laboratories in Boulder were consolidated into the Earth System Research Laboratory on Oct. 1, 2005. A ceremony observing the new name and new leadership is planned for Aug. 23 in Boulder. Both the consolidation and the creation of a deputy assistant administrator for laboratories and joint/cooperative institutes were recommended by a 2004 Research Review Panel assigned with studying how NOAA’s research enterprise could be improved.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research includes seven research laboratories in Norman, Okla.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Princeton, N.J.; Seattle, Wash.; Silver Spring, Md.; Miami, Fla.; and Boulder, Colo.; 13 joint/cooperative institutes with university partners; the National Sea Grant College Program, the Climate Program Office, the Office of Ocean Exploration, and the National Undersea Research Program.

In 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and more than 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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