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Washington, Warren M., 1998-10-28

Identifier: Item 102

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Warren M. Washington, 1998. American Institute of Physics (AIP) Interview. Transcription provided by AMS-TRIP. Interviewed by Paul Edwards. 6 sound cassettes (ca. 5 hrs.) : analog, mono + transcript (90 pgs.). AMS 147-152; two versions (one master, one copy) Access restrictions; AIP approval required to examine interview; written permission of Warren Washington required to quote, cite, or reproduce any portion of the material. Forms part of American Meteorological Society Oral History Project. Warren Washington discusses his early education and family background, undergraduate work in math at Oregon State in the 1950s, and reflects on race relations and programs to help minority students. He describes computer technology of the time, and his graduate work on mountain waves. He talks about early work on objective analysis/numerical forecast models with Hans Panofsky at Penn State. He details his work on modeling at NCAR beginning in 1963 and comments on the 1973 Kasahara-Washington model and its antecedents. Washington compares the scientific and management approaches used at NCAR, GFDL and UCLA. He discusses early awareness of carbon dioxide-induced climate change, and reviews development of the datasets and computer technology used for climate modeling. He describes the 1969 meeting of AAAS and his appointment as Chairman of the Youth Council, being appointed as a Senior Scientist at age 35, and reflects on the difficulty of recruiting minority candidates at NCAR, and his focus on mentoring minority young people. He notes his work with Jerry Meehl on Burt Sentner's model, and the development of the CSM, Climate System Model. He describes the process of attempting to acquire a supercomputer, and his appointment as Affiliate Scientist at University of Michigan. He describes his work on thermal effects in the 1970s, and the philosophy of choices made to create models. He talks about changes in scientific publications over time, and details his participation on the President's National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres (NACOA). He goes on to describe the IPCC process, and his efforts to educate people in other disciplines about climate modeling. He offers examples of the impact of improved datasets and the value of inter-comparisons in improving modeling. He then reflects on the political approaches to funding climate research in the 1990s, and on his contributions during his tenure as director of the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of NCAR, his appointment to the National Science Board and other advisory committees.


  • 1998-10-28

Conditions Governing Access

Some access restrictions apply to the interviews within this collection, and all are not open for access. Please contact the Archives for more information.

Access to interviews in this collection is provided through OpenSky, the NCAR Library's digital repository.


From the Collection: 107.00 Items

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Archives Repository