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Introducing NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Directors

NCEI offers climate services at regional scales across the U.S.

Tidal Flooding in Charleston, SC
NOAA Office for Coastal Management

NCEI is excited to introduce its full slate of six permanent Regional Climate Services Directors (RCSDs) who are committed to serving the Alaska, Central, Eastern, Pacific, Southern, and Western regions, encompassing the entire United States and its territories. The RCSDs are an integral part of NCEI’s local, regional, national, international, sectoral, and topical engagement.

RCSDs are key to increasing the value of climate information to users across the United States and its territories and helping meet a wide range of local needs for environmental information and services. They support efficient and cost-effective delivery of information and services while also sharing pertinent scientific data and information to facilitate informed decisions about climate issues that concern each region.

The RCSDs work directly with partners and constituent groups in public and private sectors to understand their climate information needs, to translate existing information, and to interpret those needs for building and improving climate tools and resources. These partners include NOAA’s climate services entities such as the Regional Climate Centers (RCCs), Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, state climatologists, and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), in addition to an array of other agencies, institutions, and organizations. The RCSDs also work with front-line communities like indigenous people and tribes and underserved communities. RCSDs help customers understand and apply information to mitigate negative climate impacts and find ways to use NCEI and NOAA’s environmental data products and services to their advantage.

NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Directors

The six RCSDs ensure the U.S. and its territories receive valuable, region-specific climate-related support and service.

 

Get to know more about each of the RCSDs, by region:

Alaska Region: Jessica Cherry

Jessica Cherry is NCEI's Regional Climate Services Director for the Alaska Region. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and then spent ten years in New York City earning a BA in Economics and Earth/Environmental Science, an MA in Physical Oceanography, and a PhD in Climate Science and Hydrology at Columbia University. In 2006, she moved to Fairbanks, AK, where she went on to lead a research group in hydroclimatology and airborne remote sensing at the University of Alaska.

 

In 2017, she started her Federal career with NOAA as a senior hydrologist at the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center. There, she served as the Climate Focal point, snow and remote sensing expert, and lead of an Uncrewed Aerial Systems project. Jessie is also a commercial airplane pilot, both land and sea, and was a top-100 finalist for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2012 and 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband Bob, reading, writing, gardening, and flying her Cessna 182.

Central Region: Doug Kluck

Doug Kluck is NCEI’s Climate Services Director for the Central Region. Doug works across 14 states from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains. He has worked with NOAA since 1992, first with the National Weather Service as a weather and river forecaster, then as a regional hydrologist and climatologist.

 

Doug's responsibilities include coordination and collaboration among regional climate entities. This involves interpretation and translation of technical climate information for all levels of government as well as private and institutional interests. Doug is a Tribal liaison for NOAA, and he serves as the Coordinating Lead Author for the Northern Plains Chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment. Doug works closely with a number of partners before, during, and after extreme climate events to ensure accurate information response and assessment with core partners in the region.

The Central Region encompasses North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Eastern Region: Ellen Mecray

Ellen Mecray is NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Director for the Eastern Region. She focuses on the delivery and interpretation of climate information using networks across several critical economic sectors including health, fisheries, transportation, agriculture, and energy. Ellen is a federal leader for climate services in the region, working to coordinate and collaborate with partners to deliver climate services across federal, state, private, and institutional groups.

 

In addition to providing climate expertise for her 16-state region, she also serves as the Coordinating Lead Author for the Northeast regional chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, and is a leader for several federal interagency partnerships. Recently, Ellen has applied her interdisciplinary systems-level science to a model for service delivery to state and local decision-makers. 

The Eastern Region encompasses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Southern Region: Sharon Mesick

Sharon Mesick is NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Director for the Southern Region. Her focus is on strengthening partnerships through development and delivery of a wide range of environmental and social science products and services, particularly those in the blue economy sector. Sharon is recognized as a tireless advocate for unfettered public access to environmental data. She was a member of NOAA’s Silver Medal award-winning Hurricane Katrina response team and was recognized for her active participation in NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident.

 

Her previous work has included the duties as the chief of the NCEI Oceanographic and Geophysical Information Services Branch, the NCEI Coastal Data Development program manager, and as a NOAA Regional Ecosystem program manager. Prior to joining NOAA, Sharon worked in private industry where she specialized in environmental data analysis for the Naval Oceanographic Office.

The Southern Region encompasses New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Pacific Region: John Marra

John J. Marra is NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Director for the Pacific Region. He also sits as an adjunct senior fellow at the East–West Center. For nearly 30 years he has been working to connect science providers with science users, bridging the gap between data and information products to address issues related to natural hazards risk reduction and climate adaptation planning.

 

Throughout his career, he has directed particular attention toward the development and dissemination of data and products related to coastal flooding and erosion. 

The Pacific Region encompasses Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.

Western Region: Joseph Casola

Joe Casola has been selected as NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Director for the Western region and will begin his position January 3, 2022. Joe has focused his career on translating information about climate variability, climate change, and climate impacts for policy makers, resource managers, and business leaders. He currently serves as an instructor for the Masters of the Environment Program at University of Colorado Boulder. His past positions include: deputy director at University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group; staff scientist and program director for Science and Impacts at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions; senior associate at ICF International; and post-doctoral fellow at the National Research Council.

 

Recent accomplishments include coordinating the Northwest Climate Conference, assisting the Department of Energy with the formation of the Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience, and authoring the report Unfair Share: Exploring the Disproportionate Risks from Climate Change Facing Washington State Communities. Dr. Casola earned his PhD and MS degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, and a BS in Chemistry from Duke University.

The Western Region encompasses Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

NCEI Regional Climate Services

The RCSDs are part of Regional Climate Services coordinated by NCEI. Services to the public are provided in cooperation with the RCSDs and six RCCs, led separately at the local level. Both RCSDs and RCCs spearhead regional information sharing and joint projects.