NOAA 2007-036
Contact: Carmeyia Gillis
NOAA News Releases 2007
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced Wayne Higgins as the new director of the Climate Prediction Center, based in Camp Springs, Md.

“Wayne’s keen knowledge of global climate patterns and their impacts in the U.S. and around the world, coupled with his scientific credentials allow him to make an immediate impact at the Climate Prediction Center” said Mary Glackin, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “He takes the helm of the Climate Prediction Center at a critical time to advance our understanding of linkages between weather, climate variability, and climate change at all timescales.”

The Climate Prediction Center is one of the National Weather Service's nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which provide the United States with first alerts of weather, climate, ocean and space weather events. The Climate Prediction Center assesses and forecasts the impacts of short term climate variability, including enhanced risks of weather-related extreme events for the United States. Forecast products under Higgins’ supervision include the Atlantic Hurricane Seasonal Outlook, the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, and U.S. seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks and many others.

Higgins began his career at NOAA in 1994 as a meteorologist in the Climate Prediction Center. He spent many years developing the center’s suite of monitoring and forecast products used for predicting U.S. temperature and precipitation, El Niño and other seasonal climate variations. In 1999 he was selected as the center’s principal scientist where his major role was to improve capabilities to monitor and predict short term climate variability and weather/climate linkages. In addition, over the past three years, Higgins has led NOAA’s efforts to move climate research and development into operations in order to accelerate improvements in climate forecast products and services.

Among his many recent achievements, Higgins conceived and led the successful North American Monsoon Experiment, which included a major international field campaign to improve warm season precipitation forecasts. Also, he has co-authored more than 60 scientific-peer-reviewed journal articles, 30 as lead author, on numerous topics in climate variability, climate prediction, and weather-climate links.

“Wayne has an outstanding reputation as a scientist and program leader,” said Louis W. Uccellini, director, National Centers for Environmental Prediction. “I believe all of NOAA, and the national climate community will benefit from his leadership.”

"The Climate Prediction Center has a terrific team of scientific, technical and administrative experts and together, with our partners, we will develop and deliver user demanded climate prediction products and services,” Higgins said.

Higgins received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois and his master’s and doctorate’s degrees in meteorology in 1983 and 1987 from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to coming to NOAA in 1994, Higgins spent seven years as a research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and one year in the Joint Center for Earth System Science at the University of Maryland.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and 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 the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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