PSD Researcher Awarded AMS 2009 Sverdrup Gold Medal


October 14, 2008

Chris Fairall

Chris Fairall of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) has been awarded the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) 2009 Sverdrup Gold Medal Award "for important continuing contributions to air-sea interaction research, particularly the observation and modeling of physical and gaseous transfers in conditions ranging from calm to storms, tropic to arctic." Major support for this long-term research program has come from NOAA's Climate Program Office. This award is granted to researchers who make outstanding contributions to the scientific knowledge of interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere. The award will be formally presented the award on January 14, 2009, at the 89th Annual Meeting of the AMS is Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. Fairall currently leads the ESRL Physical Sciences Division's (PSD) Weather and Climate Physics Branch. His career at NOAA began in 1989 where he has spent decades developing and deploying air-sea interaction observing systems for NOAA ships and aircraft and has participated in nearly 50 research field programs and cruises from the Tropics to the Arctic icecap. He is also currently working on a method for improving hurricane intensity forecasts. Dr. FairallŐs distinctions include election as a Fellow of the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in 1999, election as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2000, and in 2003 receiving the NOAA Administrator's Award in Research for advancing the science and engineering of air-sea interaction measurements and producing vastly improved parameterizations that have now been widely adopted in global climate and weather models.

Dr. Fairall is the author/coauthor of more than 100 refereed publications in more than 20 different journals; his papers currently receive about 200 citations each year. Two of his articles have received outstanding publication awards. In 2004 Dr. Fairall was selected to chair the new World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Working Group on Surface Fluxes. His past service includes chairman of the SHEBA science steering committee, the ARM Science Team Executive Committee, chairman of the ARM Tropical Western Pacific Science Advisory Committee, chairman of the AMS Committee on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, member of the AMS Committee on Meteorology and Oceanography of the Coastal Zone, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Coastal Meteorology, the NSF Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) advisory committee, the NSF/NOAA TOGA COARE Science Team, and Associate Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

This award is an example of longstanding research excellence at NOAA, and recognizes Dr. Fairall's contributions to NOAA's weather & water, climate, and air quality mission goals. His work is devoted to making direct measurements for verifying and improving the representation of air-sea interaction processes in climate models used for climate change projections, and his expertise in observing technology has led to improvements in the global ocean observing system.

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