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March 2006

Remembering Andrew Crook and Diana Josephson

The past few weeks have been a sad time, with the untimely deaths of two well-known staffers. Senior scientist Andrew Crook (MMM/RAL) died on February 11 at the age of 47. Diana Josephson, who was named director of SERE just last year, died on March 7 at the age of 69. Here is a look back at their lives and work.

Andrew Crook
Andrew Crook. (Photo by Carol Park


Andrew was an NCAR star on many levels: a top researcher, record-breaking runner, and enthusiastic participant in education and outreach events.

"Andrew left a void at NCAR and in all of our lives that will never be filled," says his long-time partner, Carol Park (RAL).

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Andrew came to MMM as a visiting scientist in 1987 with a focus on severe weather. His specialty was assimilating radar data into models to improve short-term forecasting. Andrew's collaboration with MMM's Juanzhen (Jenny) Sun led to the development of the Variational Doppler Radar Analysis System, an important breakthrough that incorporates data from radars and other instruments to produce an analysis of winds and other low-level atmospheric variables.

During his time here, Andrew became interested in the problem of predicting storms that develop over the mountains and drench the plains. Working with Donna Tucker of the University of Kansas, he found that combining the strength of downdrafts from the Rockies with the density of ice crystals at cloud level provides a good predictor of the intensity of storms over the plains.

Andrew also did pioneering work to show how topographical features, such as the Palmer Divide and Cheyenne Ridge, play a role in spinning up tornadoes along the Front Range and eastern plains of Colorado.

His landmark research won him two UCAR Outstanding Publication awards, in 1991 and 2001.

Colleagues remember Andrew as a model scientist who was methodical and creative, as well as exceedingly courteous. "Shortly after I started working with him, I was impressed by his solid knowledge of mesoscale dynamics and by his gentlemanly manner," Jenny says. "He was a good listener and also a person who paid attention to details. On several occasions, when I told him about some new findings, he would listen calmly and pick up a point I had missed."

Andrew also put his analytical skills to good use outside of work. When the city of Lafayette banned all pools from opening during a drought year, Carol worried about how she could keep her daughter occupied. But Andrew put pen to paper to challenge the city's water assumptions.

"He made some measurements of the pool (circumference, depth, width, etc.), figured out the volume of water, and factored in how much water was lost through splashing and evaporation," Carol recalls. "From those results, he figured out approximately how much water our homeowners association would have to truck in from a water farm each week, and the cost. The HOA took his calculations to the City of Lafayette and convinced them that water use would be minimal and we would absorb the cost. We got the permit, paid for the trucked-in water, and the kids in our neighborhood had a great summer playing and splashing in the pool. All thanks to Andrew."

Science aside, one of Andrew's greatest legacies is his string of running accomplishments. He repeatedly took first place in the Up-the-Hill running race, and his 1989 time of 7:28 still stands as the record for that event.

His running exploits extended far beyond UCAR. Six years ago, he ran 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in 15:00.90, making him the world's 12th fastest man over 40 for that distance. He also was a top-10 finisher several times in the annual 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) Bolder Boulder race.

"Andrew accomplished great things in more than one realm," said RAL's Dave Albo, one of Andrew's closest friends. "To many he will be remembered as the great local runner who was consistent, beautiful to watch, extremely talented, truly one of us, but also a somewhat larger-than-life running icon. Andrew sparked in me an interest in running that continues to be a source of great personal satisfaction."

Another close friend and running companion, MMM's Stan Trier, adds, "What I admired most about Andrew was his thoughtful humility and understated demeanor, which are somewhat exceptional qualities among the highly successful."

Andrew also loved teaching children about science. EO's Heidi Lewis remembers Andrew showing up faithfully every year to volunteer at the UCAR booth during the Boulder Creek Festival.
"He was wonderful at explaining scientific principles to visitors, both young and old."

Unidata's Jo Hansen, who first met Andrew in 1990 when she worked for MMM, was one of the many people who found Andrew to be a good teacher. "From our first conversations I was impressed with the clarity with which he was able to explain complex ideas and his willingness to do so," she recalls.

Andrew even built his own traveling teaching device. "I will always recall him telling me that he carried a home-built wooden turntable around the world on some of his travels to teach young children about how tornadoes really work by standing on it and demonstrating vorticity in a quite personal way," says NCAR director Tim Killeen. "The thought of Andrew routinely packing this device into his luggage to go halfway around the world will stay with me, for it demonstrated his commitment to not just his science and his running, but to educating the next generation of curious children in meaningful and fun ways.

"I will greatly miss him."

There will be a Celebration of Life gathering in tribute to Andrew beginning at 3:30 p.m. on March 29 in the Foothills 2 auditorium.

Diana Josephson
Diana Josephson. (Photo courtesy of the family.)


Even before coming to NCAR, Diana was widely known for her vision and organizational prowess. Her career spanned over 40 years in NOAA, the U.S. Navy, Environmental Defense, and other public and private institutions.

"We are devastated at the loss of this brilliant and incisive leader," Tim says. "Both during her short year at NCAR and before that as a member of our advisory council, Diana brought clarity, lucidity, and decisiveness that bypassed conventional thinking. We will greatly miss her friendship and warmth."

Diana enjoyed a reputation for being remarkably self-possessed and plain-spoken. She faced death calmly in the final stages of cancer, discussing the future of SERE and its three components (ASP, CCB, and ISSE) in the last days of her life. "Diana Josephson was the most intentional individual I have ever worked with or known in my life," says ISSE director Linda Mearns. "She has left a profound legacy of exemplary leadership for us all. Her concern for the well- being of the SERE Lab days before her death was nothing short of extraordinary."

Maura Hagan, ASP director, adds, "I think that I most appreciated the enthusiasm and passion with which Diana approached her work, along with her fearlessness in speaking the truth. I aspire to be like that."

Friends and colleagues also remember Diana for her dazzling smile, off-beat sense of humor, and concern for others. "Diana had the ability to see people clearly for who they were, without judgment or projection, and was willing to meet them halfway," says Dale Kellogg, SERE administrator.

When Diana arrived here last April to take the helm of SERE and become one of five NCAR associate directors, she already knew the organization well. She had been on NCAR's advisory council since 2003. One of her main goals was to bring climate impacts to policy makers and citizens in new and relevant ways.

A London native, Diana began her career as a lawyer but soon became interested in community organization. In 1968, she began working for the Washington, D.C., government, first coordinating youth programs citywide and later overseeing programs run by 22 agencies and enabling citizens to participate in the budgeting process.

Diana was serving as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area in the 1970s when NOAA approached her about a job as deputy assistant administrator for policy and planning. At the time, she didn't even know what NOAA stood for. But it sounded like an interesting opportunity, and she quickly researched the agency and landed the job—the first of three positions she would hold at the agency.

Diana served as chief operating officer of NOAA and deputy undersecretary for oceans and atmosphere from 1993 to 1997, during the modernization of the National Weather Service. She spearheaded development of a $2 billion annual budget and put together the agency's first strategic plan. Her contributions led to major improvements in climate forecasting and earned her a special NOAA recognition award for lifetime service.

In 1997 she moved to the U.S. Navy as principal deputy assistant secretary for installations and environments, an honor that gave her status equivalent to a three-star admiral. Among her duties was finding an environmentally friendly way to dispose of napalm left from the Vietnam War. Her contributions to the Navy garnered her its Distinguished Public Service Award, its highest civilian award.

Between 2000 and 2004, she served as senior vice president for Environmental Defense, which she reorganized to bring in new talent and to help create marketing campaigns that increased the group's endowment by almost 40%.

Diana shared her life for 30 years with her partner, Jim Alexander, who died in 2001 and whom she sorely missed. Avid sailors, she and Jim lived aboard sailboats for much of their lives together—in Annapolis, Maryland, and on the Potomac River during Diana's years in Washington and at a marina in New Jersey during her years in New York.

Despite her brief tenure at NCAR, colleagues say she left her mark. "She has truly been a guiding light to us and that light will continue to guide us in future years," says CCB director Mickey Glantz. "Rest in peace."

• by David Hosansky


Also in this issue...

The atmospheres of cities
Sidebar: Urban heat islands

Remembering Andrew Crook and Diana Josephson

Let it snow

AGU, AMS presidencies

Delphi Questions: Toilet paper; professional memberships

Just One Look


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