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Dr. Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) since August 2016, has a distinguished career in the geosciences; extensive experience in management of academic, laboratory, and government programs; and a broad knowledge of the community. Prior to his appointment at UCAR, he served as director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and as a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland. After receiving a Ph.D. in oceanography from Florida State University, Dr. Busalacchi began his professional career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has studied tropical ocean circulation, its role in the coupled climate system, and phenomena such as El Niño. His interests include the development and application of numerical models combined with in situ and space-based ocean observations to study the tropical ocean response to surface fluxes of momentum and heat. His research on climate variability and predictability has supported a range of international and national research programs dealing with global change and climate, particularly as affected by the oceans.
In 1991, he was appointed chief of NASA’s Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes. In 2000, he was selected as the founding director of ESSIC at the University of Maryland. Dr. Busalacchi has been involved in the activities of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP). From 2008-2014 he chaired the Joint Scientific Committee that oversaw the WCRP. He previously was co-chair of the scientific steering group for its sub-program on Climate Variability and Predictability. Dr. Busalacchi has served extensively on activities of the National Academies, including as chair of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, chair of the Climate Research Committee, chair of the Committee on Earth Science and Application: Ensuring the Climate Measurements from NPOESS and GOES-R, and co-chair of the Committee on National Security Implications of Climate Change on U.S. Naval Forces. He also has served as a member of the Committee on the Effect of Climate Change on Indoor Air Quality and Public Health, Committee on Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses, and Committee on the Assessment of NASA’s Earth Science Program.
Among his awards and honors, in 1991, Busalacchi was the recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming Award, as one of five outstanding young scientists in the entire Federal Government. In 1995 he was selected as Alumnus of the Year at Florida State University, in 1997 he was the H. Burr Steinbach Visiting Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in 1999 he was awarded the NASA/Goddard Excellence in Outreach Award and the Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and was the 2006 AMS Walter Orr Roberts Interdisciplinary Science Lecturer. In 2016, Dr. Busalacchi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.