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NCEI Appoints Interim Regional Climate Services Directors

NCEI staff assigned to Southern, Western, and Alaska climate services regions

Photos of Sharon Mesick, Russ Vose, and Hernan Garcia, new interim Regional Climate Services Directors for NOAA
Courtesy of NOAA NCEI (From left, Sharon Mesick, Russ Vose, and Hernan Garcia)

NCEI has appointed interim Regional Climate Services Directors (RCSDs) for the Alaska, Western, and Southern regions to serve while permanent staff are sought for the three vacancies. The new appointees join three RCSDs serving the Eastern, Central, and Pacific regions. 

The new appointees will help meet a wide range of local needs for climate information and services. RCSDs work to increase the value of climate information to users across the United States and its territories. They support more efficient, 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.

RCSDs work directly with partners and constituent groups in public and private sectors. These include partners in the Regional Climate Centers (RCCs), state climatologists, the National Integrated Drought Information System, as well as working with indigenous people and tribes and an array of other agencies, institutions, and organizations. RCSDs help users understand and apply information to help them mitigate negative climate impacts and find ways to use information to their advantage.

NCEI’s Regional Climate Services Directors

The interim RCSDs began June 20 and will continue until the positions are permanently filled by NCEI, a public process now underway. The new appointees join current RCSDs Ellen Mecray in the Eastern Region, Doug Kluck in the Central Region, and John Marra, who serves the Pacific Region. 

The three new interim staff, assigned by special detail, are:

Southern Region

  • Sharon Mesick, Chief of the Information Services Branch in NCEI’s Oceanographic and Geophysical Science and Services Division

Sharon is an interdisciplinary scientist who has wealth of experience within NOAA and in the southern United States. Most recently, she has been lead writer for the NOAA Uncrewed Systems Strategic Implementation Plan, defining a cohesive framework that will apply data-driven, transformative technologies to meet the cross-sectoral needs of the U.S. blue economy. Sharon serves on the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team and has served on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Federal Advisory Board.

For more than 15 years, Sharon has engaged with regional stakeholders to grow their understanding and use of NOAA’s products and services, as well as to understand and capture stakeholder’s evolving needs and feedback. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she served as an advisor for the creation of NOAA Emergency Weather Information Management Sheets (NEWIS). Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, she was instrumental in the development of cross-agency Environmental Disaster Data Management protocols and the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas, a digital map compendium that forms the scientific baseline for Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem restoration activities. 

She is a frequent presenter at conferences and often speaks at a variety of events about NCEI data and services. 

The Southern Region encompasses New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.

Western Region

  • Russ Vose, Chief of the Climate Analysis and Synthesis Branch in NCEI’s Climatic Science and Service Division

Russ has been a supervisory physical scientist at NOAA since 2000. Over the past 25 years, Russ’s research has primarily focused on understanding climate change and integrating climate observations, particularly for use in climate assessments, operational monitoring, and product development. He was a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the Climate Science Special Report, the Third and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments, and Climate Change Synthesis Product 1.1. He was also a contributing author on the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

He has been principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on about 25 proposals with NOAA, DOE, and NASA being prominent sponsors, and he has over 80 papers in peer-reviewed venues such as Science, Nature, The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and Geophysical Research Letters. He has received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Team Award twice and the Bronze Medal Team Award four times.

Previously, he served as an academic professional at Arizona State University from 1995–2000, including a brief stint as the Arizona State Climatologist. He also held the position of research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1990–1995. 

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

Alaska Region

  • Hernan Garcia, Arctic Program Area Lead for NCEI’s Oceanographic and Geophysical Science and Services Division

Along with being NCEI’s Arctic Program Area Lead, Hernan also leads the scientific stewardship of chemical oceanographic data in NOAA’s World Ocean Database and World Ocean Atlas. He is the Director of the World Data Service for Oceanography hosted at NCEI, and the U.S. Data Management representative to the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. He has contributed to regional, national, and international environmental science and data stewardship programs and projects. He has served in NOAA leading roles and has provided mentoring to many NOAA Educational Partnership and Hollings students. He also is a founder and coordinator of OneNOAA Science Seminar Series, a public series of science webinars featuring the work of NOAA scientists and staff.

In publication, Hernan has contributed to Frontiers in Marine Science and UNESCO’s Global Ocean Science Report, as well as being a chief contributor to the World Ocean Atlas.

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.