Warren Washington’s atmospheric computer models are important in the understanding of global climate change.
OSU alumnus Warren Washington was one of the developers of atmospheric computer models that now have become standard in the study of complex climate issues.
After graduating from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1958 and a master’s in meteorology two years later, Washington earned a Ph.D. from Penn State University. He joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., in 1963 and has spent his entire career with that organization.
His importance in the field has been recognized by President Clinton, who appointed him to the National Science Board, and by President Bush, who re-appointed him. He recently completed his second term as chair of that prestigious group, which makes recommendations to the president and Congress on national science policy.
One of OSU’s most distinguished African American alumni, Washington returns to campus as the university’s commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary doctorate on June 18.
He also received OSU’s E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, and has been honored for scientific achievement by the American Meteorological Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Societe Meteorologique de France and several universities.
During his long career, he has published more than 100 professional papers and co-authored a book, An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, which has become a standard reference in the field.
Last year, he and a colleague published an article in the prestigious journal Science that analyzed climate data from around the world over the past 40 years and outlined the connection between human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, and global warming.