Inspiring people: Warren Washington

Warren Morton Washington is an American atmospheric scientist, a former chair of the National Science Board, and currently senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.


Washington is an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric sciences and climate research specializing in computer modeling of the Earth’s climate. In recent years he has served his science in a broad range of capacities. He was appointed to the National Science Board in 1994, reappointed in 2000, and became chair from 2002–2006.[3] In 1998 he was appointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board; in 1999 he was elected by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Board of Trustees as a member of the corporation for a three-year term; in 2000 he was appointed a member of the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee by the U.S. Secretary of Energy; and in February 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for pioneering the development of coupled climate models, their use on parallel supercomputing architectures, and their interpretation.” His scientific and policy papers are archived as the Warren M. Washington Collection at the library of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

He has also garnered numerous awards. Among these, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Washington the Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for Atmospheric Science in 1997, for the development and application of advanced coupled atmospheric-ocean general circulation models to study the impacts of human activities on future climate. Also in 1997 he was inducted into the Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

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