The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has created a new panel that includes a North Carolina expert to advise federal officials on assessments and responses to climate change.
Jessica Whitehead, North Carolina Sea Grant coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist, was one of 15 individuals named to NOAA’s new Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. She will serve a two-year term, ending in spring 2018. She was nominated to the committee by the national Sea Grant Climate Network, a group she chairs.
The committee will advise NOAA on sustained climate assessment activities and products, including engagement of stakeholders, according to the announcement made on Wednesday. NOAA is to ensure the committee’s advice is provided to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for use by the United States Global Change Research Program. The program combines the research arms of 13 federal departments and agencies that carry out research and other work in support the nation’s understanding and response to global change.
Sea Grant officials said Whitehead brings to the panel experience in helping communities, particularly rural coastal communities, understand and adapt to weather and climate hazards. She received her doctoral degree in geography from the Pennsylvania State University.
The program is part of an effort to help the country prepare for the effects of climate and global environmental change and a requirement of the Global Change Research Act of 1990.
NOAA said the advisory committee’s members represent diverse viewpoints, interests of geographic regions of the country and sectors of U.S. society. Members include experts in physical and social sciences, communication, education and other relevant topics. Members are appointed by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in consultation with Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren.
The committee members are:
- Susan Avery, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
- Maxine Burkett, University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law.
- Ann Marie Chischilly, executive director, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Northern Arizona University.
- Jan Dell, vice president, strategic development, AECOM.
- Riley Dunlap, sociology professor, Oklahoma State University.
- Paul Fleming, climate resiliency group manager, Seattle Public Utilities.
- Lucas Joppa, lead environmental scientist, Microsoft Research.
- Kim Knowlton, senior scientist, science center deputy director, Natural Resources Defense Council, and assistant clinical professor, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.
- Maria Carmen Lemos, professor of natural resources and environment, University of Michigan.
- Jerry Melillo, director emeritus, The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory.
- Richard Moss, senior scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland.
- Kristen Poppleton, director of education, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy.
- Michael Prather, professor of Earth system science, University of California, Irvine.
- Jessica Whitehead, coastal communities hazards adaptation specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant.
- Daniel Zarrilli, senior director, climate policy and programs, and chief resilience officer, New York City mayor’s office.
- Moss will serve as committee chair and Jan Dell will serve as vice chair.