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Secretary Locke Announces Six New NOAA Regional Climate Services Directors to Meet Growing Demand for Climate Products and Information


Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Secretary Locke Announces Six New NOAA Regional Climate Services Directors to Meet Growing Demand for Climate Products and Information

Climate variability and change are impacting our society and the environment. Commerce, public health, natural resources and major economic sectors, such as water utilities, energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry and fisheries are highly sensitive to climate influences. To more effectively meet the rising public and private demand for climate information products and services, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the selection of six new NOAA regional climate services directors.

The new directors will work to build and strengthen regional partnerships to better assess and deliver regionally-focused climate science and information products and services to help people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses and communities. The new directors are:

  • Ellen Mecray, Eastern Region, Bohemia, N.Y.
  • Doug Kluck, Central Region, Kansas City, Kan.
  • David Brown, Southern Region, Fort Worth, Texas
  • DeWayne Cecil, Western Region, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • John Marra, Pacific Region, Honolulu
  • James Partain, Alaska Region, Anchorage, Alaska

“More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards,” Locke said. “NOAA’s Regional Climate Directors will provide critical planning information and services that our businesses and our communities need to tackle head-on the challenges of climate change.”

 “NOAA’s new regional directors are liaisons to state and regional users and providers of climate science and information; they will also bring information from the regions back into NOAA,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “They will work with our many partners to identify new and emerging regional climate issues and help NOAA develop products or services to address issues like local climate forecasts, drought plans or flood risk mapping.”

The new directors will be employed by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Each will be based at NOAA’s six National Weather Service regional headquarters offices. This co-location ensures close coordination between NOAA’s weather and climate services. The directors will work and collaborate with regional partners from other federal agencies, state, local and tribal governments, universities, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

The regional climate services directors will integrate the work of various NOAA partners engaged in developing and delivering climate science and services at the regional level, including the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment programs, Regional Climate Centers, state climatologists and many partners across the private and public sector. Integrating the work of these assets increases value to users and supports more efficient, cost-effective delivery of services.

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Profiles of the Six New NOAA Regional Climate Services Directors

Bios and photos are also listed online:


For the last four years, Mecray led strategic planning for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  and facilitated  inter-and intra-agency dialog and collaboration on climate science in New England. She is the lead for the North Atlantic Regional Collaboration Team’s Climate sub-team which consists of 20 people representing all of NOAA’s line offices and key regional partners. Prior to joining NOAA, Mecray was an oceanographer with the US Geological Survey’s Coastal and Marine Geology program in Woods Hole, Mass. Her research interests include geochemistry and coastal contaminants as well as paleo-climatic reconstructions. She is published in a number of research journals including the Journal of Coastal Research, Environmental Geology and Water, Air and Soil Pollution. Mecray holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Colgate University and a master’s degree in geological oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. She is a member of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, Geochemical Society, and Sigma Xi Honor Society.


Kluck worked for  the National Weather Service for the last 18 years and served as a research meteorologist, forecast meteorologist, forecast hydrologist and regional hydrologist. For the past eight years he was the Climate Service Program Manager for the Central Region. In this capacity he focused on building key networks and relationships with core partners and groups with climate interests in the Central Region. He works closely with the Regional Climate Centers, state climatologists, tribal colleges and universities, land grant universities and extension services, federal and state governments and non-governmental organizations on a number of issues including informing adaptation, climate data stewardship, building climate change capacity and assessment of climate services needs by sector and community. Kluck serves on the implementation committee for the National Integrated Drought Information System as the lead on education and outreach. In addition, he serves as the climate representative for the Central Region NOAA Regional Collaboration Team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in geography from the University of Nebraska.


Prior to joining NOAA, Brown served as assistant professor of geography at Louisiana State University, and as assistant professor of geography and New Hampshire state climatologist at the University of New Hampshire. He holds doctorate and master’s degrees in geography from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Penn State University. For over a decade, he has been active in the climate services community as a researcher, state climatologist and member of three NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) projects. Most recently he was an investigator with the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, the first RISA to co-locate and formalize research, operations and outreach linkages to both a NOAA regional climate center and a state climatologist office. His research interests include synoptic and applied climatology, human-environment interactions, and global climate change, and his work has been published in a number of scientific journals including the International Journal of Climatology, Climate Research, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters and the Professional Geographer. He is also an accomplished educator, having taught introductory, advanced and graduate courses in climatology, meteorology and physical geography at three universities.


Prior to joining NOAA, Cecil served with the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA and has more than 70 technical publications and books. His most recent position with the USGS was as the chief for science applications and decision support in the Global Change Program Office where he was a member of the Adaptive Management and Decision Support Working Group of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Climate Task Force. He was the senior science advisor for the Systems Engineering Office (SEO) at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. For the SEO, Cecil conducted a survey of global decision support systems that use Earth-science research results to address the Climate Societal Benefit Area within the Group for Earth Observations. He was the science lead for a NASA-sponsored project titled, “Responding to Climate Variability and Change: A Rapid Prototype for Assessing Impacts of Uncertainty in Climate Observations and Model Projections on Decision Support.” Cecil is also a member of the Terrestrial Domain Team on the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Climate Observing System and is a member of the writing team constructing the GCOS Implementation Plan for the next generation of global climate system observations. He has a bachelor’s degree in science and environmental change from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Drexel University, and a doctorate in earth sciences from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


For nearly 20 years Marra worked to bridge science, policy and information technology to address issues related to natural hazards risk reduction and climate adaptation planning. His particular area of expertise is the development and dissemination of data and products associated with coastal inundation and erosion. Marra has worked for the NOAA Integrated Data and Environmental Applications Center in Honolulu since August 2006, where he spearheaded a project on extreme storms in the Pacific. He also serves as an adjunct fellow at the East-West Center to support the integration of multi-disciplinary research and observations to address issues associated with coastal natural hazards and community resiliency. He worked in a similar capacity for four years at the NOAA Pacific Services Center after working independently for almost 10 years in Newport, Ore. as a consulting geologist for a broad range of private and public sector clients. Prior to that, he was the North Coast Field Representative for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. He received his doctorate in geology from the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

ALASKA REGION: James Partain

For the past 24 years, Partain worked to improve the provision of environmental information to NOAA customers and stakeholders. As the chief of the National Weather Service’s Alaska Region Environmental and Scientific Services Division, Partain oversaw university research on a variety of climate topics, ranging from sea ice retreat to storm effects and coastal erosion. As a science fellow to the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research, he fostered collaboration between NOAA, academia and other researchers in Alaska and the Arctic. In addition, Partain was an active member of the steering committee for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. As the former regional scientist for the NWS Pacific Region, James also managed the Pacific Region’s climate services program. His paper on the application of a National Centers for Environmental Prediction model to mesoscale forecasting was published in the Weather and Forecasting Journal of the American Meteorological Society, of which he is a member. Partain’s career in the NWS includes meteorologist/forecaster positions in Reno, Nev., Great Falls, Mont., Cleveland, and as the science and operations officer for the NOAA/NCEP Ocean Prediction Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington.