Climate Scientists Strengthen SCS Program

Posted: November 21, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

Eight climate scientists have joined the faculty of the School of Computational Sciences (SCS) this fall, further strengthening the school’s solid graduate program in climate dynamics studies.

“George Mason has begun to hire a group of world-renowned climate scientists, and once all the faculty are on board, the climate dynamics doctoral program will be comparable to the best programs in the country,” says Jagadish Shukla, chair of the Climate Dynamics Program.

Joining the faculty as full professors are Edwin Schneider and David Straus. New associate professors are Ben Kirtman and Barry Klinger. All of the scientists previously held positions with the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA), an independent research center in Calverton, Md., and will continue to do so.

The four scientists join COLA colleagues Shukla and Paul Schopf, who already hold professorships at George Mason and co-direct the Climate Dynamics Program. Shukla is director of COLA, and Schopf is adjunct senior research scientist at COLA.

In addition, four other COLA scientists have been hired by SCS on a contract basis and are expected to join the faculty as tenured professors within the next five years: Tim DelSole, Bohua Huang, James Kinter III, and V. Krishnamurthy. Several other George Mason faculty members round out the teaching and research faculty for the climate program at the university.

With the addition of the new faculty, SCS is seeking approval for a new Ph.D. in Climate Dynamics, and plans to offer the degree next fall. The proposal goes before the Board of Visitors today.

“At a time when NSF [National Science Foundation] and other federal agencies are trying to create a new kind of environmental scientist, literate in both computational and scientific questions, the establishment of the climate dynamics Ph.D. puts George Mason solidly at the forefront of this emerging field,” says Schopf.

The goal of SCS is to develop new approaches to education and scientific research that take advantage of the rapidly evolving high performance computational and communications technologies. COLA is a nonprofit center conducting research to improve the understanding and prediction of the variations of Earth’s climate. Using state-of-the-art, comprehensive dynamical models of the global atmosphere, world oceans, and biosphere, scientists at COLA study the nature of variability of the coupled ocean-land-atmosphere system, and investigate the predictability of climate variations.

The new doctoral program in climate dynamics will merge these strengths into a program focusing on the development, testing, use, and validation of large-scale computer models, data analysis, data assimilation, and theoretical studies of the climate system. The joint program will offer SCS students engagement in the research activities and international programs at COLA.

For more information on COLA, visit grads.iges.org; for more information on the Ph.D. in Climate Dynamics, see csi.gmu.edu/climate.

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