Roger Wakimoto and Karyn Sawyer to lead EOL
EOL's new leaders: assistant director Karyn Sawyer and director Roger Wakimoto. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)
July was a critical month for the Earth Observing Laboratory. Roger Wakimoto took over as director while Karyn Sawyer, formerly head of the Joint Office for Science Support, came on board as assistant director.
Although they are newcomers to EOL, Roger and Karyn are both familiar faces at UCAR and NCAR. Roger began visiting NCAR frequently in the early 1980s, when he participated in the Joint Airport Weather Studies field project to study wind shear. "Throughout my career I've spent so much time in Boulder that I feel like it's my second home," he says.
Roger succeeds interim EOL director Al Cooper. He comes to NCAR from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a professor of atmospheric sciences for more than a decade and chaired the department for several years. A geophysicist by training, Roger uses data collected from the surface and aloft to study the evolution of severe local storms, including microbursts, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. He's worked with NCAR staffers on a number of field projects over the years, including BAMEX, IHOP, VORTEX, and FASTEX.
Roger has served on the UCAR University Relations Committee and the Board of Trustees. Despite his familiarity with NCAR, he says he'll bring an outsider perspective to EOL. "I'm certainly not bashful about bringing up concerns or things we ought to think about," he says.
Created as part of the recent NCAR reorganization, EOL includes the former Atmospheric Technology Division. While continuing the division's longstanding role in field project support, NCAR wants to expand the lab's expertise, make its services easier to access and use, and step up instrument development.
Roger says he hopes to do a comprehensive survey of instrumentation within the atmospheric sciences community to help NSF decide how to populate NCAR's deployment pool of instruments. He also wants to look at satellite data access, which is not traditionally one of NCAR's strong suits but would complement studies that examine urban air quality, the upper troposphere-lower stratosphere region, and seasonal changes in the biosphere-atmosphere system. "We need to decide whether EOL should enter the satellite arena and, if so, what piece of the pie we want to work with and whom to partner with," Roger says. In addition, he will encourage EOL to develop instrumentation to sample water vapor from near Earth's surface to the stratosphere.
From JOSS to EOL
Karyn worked at NCAR for nearly a decade in the 1970s as an assistant to former director John Firor. In 1982, she convinced UCAR and NCAR management to form the International Project Office, which later became JOSS. In more than 20 years of coordinating field projects, she's visited at least 100 countries.
As assistant director of EOL, Karyn will focus on EOL's day-to-day operations, with particular attention to the planning, implementation, and data management aspects of field campaigns.
About a dozen JOSS staffers will join Karyn in EOL in October to run operations centers, organize and archive data, and plan field campaigns. The move will be invisible to users of JOSS's Web sites, who will be able to access data holdings as usual for the indefinite future. The rest of JOSS will remain in UOP, where staffers will continue their roles in meeting management and other administrative support under the leadership of Gene Martin.
Karyn says that the position appeals to her because of its integrative aspects. "What I know about is management and the integration of field campaign planning," she says. "It's nice to cap my career by using in a single job all the skills I've learned at UCAR."
• by Nicole Gordon and Bob Henson
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New leadership for EOL
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