Speaker Bios


Dr. Bob Adler is a Senior Research Scientist for Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Adler's research focuses on the analysis of precipitation observations from space on global and regional scales using Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) data along with data from other satellites. He served as the ESSIC TRMM Project Scientist from 2000-2007. He studies precipitation variations in relation to phenomena such as El Ni–o/Southern Oscillation, volcanoes and tropical cyclones, as well as longer, inter-decadal changes. He also currently heads the Global Precipitation Climatology Project of the World Climate Research Program and Global Energy and Water Exchanges Project. He is one of the developers of the TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis, providing a three-hour resolution quasi-global rainfall analysis that his group is applying to analyze precipitation extremes, floods and landslides on a global scale. Dr. Adler has published over 100 papers in scientific journals on these topics. He has received the NASA Goddard William Nordberg Award for Earth Science in 2007, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2002 and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal way back in 1989. He is also a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He received his B.S. and M.S. from The Pennsylvania State University in 1965 and 1967 and his Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 1974.


Dr. Phil Arkin is Director of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS-MD) at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) of the University of Maryland, where he also serves as Deputy Director and Senior Research Scientist. At CICS-MD, he conducts research into the observation and analysis of precipitation and other aspects of the hydrological cycle of the global climate system in addition to his administrative duties. Until January 2002, he served as Program Manager for Climate Dynamics and Experimental Prediction in the Office of Global Programs at NOAA, where he managed the Applied Research Centers that provide the research and development that enable NOAA to provide better climate forecasts. From 1998-2000, he served as the Deputy Director of the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction at Columbia University.

Dr. Arkin spent twenty-five years working at NOAA as a research scientist and administrator in various parts of the climate community, including the Climate Prediction Center, the Office of Global Programs and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. He invented the GOES Precipitation Index, a method for estimating rainfall from geostationary satellite observations, and created the Global Precipitation Climatology Project and led it from 1985-1994. He has published more than sixty refereed papers in scientific journals, twenty-five atlases and chapters in books, and has had more than 125 non-refereed publications. He has also served as a member of many national and international scientific panels, and has presented invited papers at more than 100 workshops and scientific meetings. His B.S. in mathematics and M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology are from the University of Maryland.


Mr. Deke Arndt has served as the Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information since 2009. The Branch is responsible for routine and special reporting of the status of the Earth’s climate system, from large global phenomena like global temperature (“global warming”), to regional occurrences like drought and weather extremes. The Branch is often asked to place today’s weather and climate events into a historical perspective. Mr. Arndt was one of the lead editors for last four editions of The State of the Climate, an annual supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This series features input and analysis from nearly authors and editors in more than 50 countries. Before coming to NCEI, he spent fifteen years at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, as the Associate and Acting State Climatologist and the program Manager for the OK-FIRST public safety outreach program. Mr. Arndt holds a B.S. and M.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a student in the University of Oklahoma's Adult & Higher Education Ph.D. program.


Tom Barnett is the River Forecast Center (RFC) Manager within the Tennessee Valley Authority’s River Operations organization. He has over 13 years of engineering experience spending the last 5 in TVA’s RFC. Tom has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master of Science in Environmental Engineering – Water Resources from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and is also a licensed Professional Engineer.


Alan Basist joined WeatherPredict Consulting in 2008. Alan’s primary responsibilities are to use data obtained from satellite observations to monitor worldwide temperatures, wetness, and snow cover. He also develops and analyzes yield models for all the major crops under production around the world, and determines the return period of crop failure in specific critical regions. Of late, he had been working with the World Bank and the University of CA on a technique to monitor water resources, flood and drought mitigation, as well as how to use the Basist Wetness (BWI) to detect the amount of water flowing through river basins around the world.

Prior to joining WeatherPredict, Alan Basist was founder and CEO of Commodity Hedgers, Inc., which initially developed the technique to use the Special Sensor Microwave Imager to derive global products for land surface temperature and wetness. These products have been used by United States Department of Agriculture, World Bank, North American Drought Monitor, Yale University, Cargill, Canadian Government, and many others. He served as a research Meteorologist at the Climatic Prediction Center and the National Centers for Environmental Information, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He was a founding member of the rapid response team that prepared reports on the state of the climate for White House, NOAA headquarters, and press releases. Alan Basist also served as a remote sensing specialist in the Diagnostic Branch of the NOAA Climate Analysis Center. He was awarded a ‘certificate of recognition’ for sustained superior performance as a meteorologist in the Diagnostics Branch of the Climate Analysis Center, US Climate Prediction Center and bronze award for superior federal service for the US Department of Commerce.


Mr. Blevins received degrees in meteorology from the Penn State University (Bachelors of Science, 1976) and from the North Carolina State University (Master of Science, 1985). He served in the Air Force for twenty years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. While in the military, Mr. Blevins served in several positions including Director of Weather for all military in Japan, the Chief of Software Development at the Air Force Climate Center. He also held various staff and forecasting positions during his career. During his military career, Mr Blevins was also assigned to the Intelligence Community where he established and led a weather team to provide climatological, analytical, and forecast support worldwide.

Since retirement, Mr. Blevins has consulted to the Intelligence Community to monitor, assess, and, advise on weather conditions worldwide. He is CEO of Meteorological Connections, LLC. Principle weather support is for crops and water issues as well as an assessment and forecast for hazardous weather conditions. Much of the work relies on integrating daily and seasonal weather with climate data and then using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to analyze and model weather conditions worldwide. Mr. Blevins collaborates with the military and the US Army Corp of Engineers to operate GIS based snow models and flood potential models (and soon river flow models) for interest regions worldwide.


Dr. Otis Brown is the Director of NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – North Carolina and his specialties are satellite oceanography, development of quantitative methods for the processing and use of satellite remotely-sensed observations to study Earth System processes with a focus on ocean color and infrared observations, and the development and application of new approaches to study climate variability and stakeholder engagement. Over time, his research interests have shifted to areas of observable climate change impact including the development of basin scale climatologies for SST and color fields, use of longer-term space-based observations to quantify the impacts of climatic variability, and the engagement of stakeholders. He collaborated with Professor Mary Doyle at the University of Miami to found the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy as a sustainable approach to the training of the next generation of Earth System managers and researchers.

Dr. Brown served as Dean of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science for 14 years, while being at the University for more than 40 years. He received the University of Miami Presidents Medal in honor of his outstanding leadership and distinguished accomplishments in his field of expertise as well as for his contributions to society. Dr. Brown is a tenured Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami (on leave) and a Research Professor at NC State University. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics, with a specialty in underwater optics, from the University of Miami; an M.S. degree in Theoretical Physics from the University of Miami; and a B.S. in Physics from North Carolina State University.


Dr. DeWayne Cecil is the Climate Data Record (CDR) Program Manager for Global Science and Technology Inc. (GST), in support of NOAA’s CDR Program office in Asheville, NC. During his 31-year career in the federal government he has served with NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Prior to joining GST at NCEI, he served as the Climate Services Director for the Western Region in NOAA’s regional office in Salt lake City, UT. Dr. Cecil has held positions on the Adaptive Management and Decision Support Working Group of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Climate Task Force, as well as membership on the Terrestrial Domain Team on the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) where he coauthored the GCOS Implementation Plan for the next generation of global climate system observations. In December 2012, Dr. Cecil participated in an invitation-only meeting with Mayor Bloomberg’s staff in New York City for a post Hurricane Sandy debrief of the response to the science information provided before the storm and lessons learned after the storm.

Dr. Cecil holds a B.S. in Science and Environmental Change from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University, and a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He has authored over 80 technical publications and books.


<>Mr. D. Matthew Coleman joined Nephila Advisors LLC in July 2011 as a Portfolio Analyst.  His primary responsibilities include weather risk analysis, structuring support, and ongoing business development for Nephila’s weather and natural catastrophe funds.  Previously, Mr. Coleman spent four years as a Senior Weather Risk Analyst at Citadel LLC where he supported investments in energy, reinsurance, and weather derivatives.  Mr. Coleman holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, an M.S. in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia.


Ms. Jenny Dissen is the Director of Engagement and Outreach at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites North Carolina (CICS-NC). She leads a program of informal and more formal engagement activities across public, private and academic sectors to advance climate science, improve understanding of needs from these stakeholders of adaptation strategies, and discuss options for building resilience to climate change. As CICS-NC is also part of NC State University Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development, she provides catalytic support to advance the uptake of climate data and information on the climate adaptation timescale, as well as assess the science potential to meet the needs and requirements from various stakeholders.

Prior to joining CICS-NC, Ms. Dissen served as the Regional Coordinator in Southeast Asia for the William J. Clinton Foundation in their Clinton Climate Initiative. She also served as an experienced manager at Accenture for nearly ten years in the Resources Industry Group, and was a member of the High Performance Asset Management Team for their North American Utilities Practice. Ms. Dissen earned her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in Environmental Systems Analysis and B.S. in Environmental Engineering, both from North Carolina State University.


Nolan grew up in rural Illinois and has always been fascinated with all forms of precipitation.  After receiving degrees from the University of Michigan and University of Illinois, he started work for the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1977.  He was appointed State Climatologist in 2006 and continues in that position.  He is responsible for monitoring the climate of Colorado and providing climate data and expertise to support planning and decision making .  After a local flash flood in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1997, he founded the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS) to engage citizens from across the country in helping to track and map precipitation patterns across the country.


Mr. Ralph Ferraro is Branch Chief for the Satellite Climate Studies Branch of NOAA’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), co-located with the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) in College Park, Maryland. He began his career at NOAA in 1991 and prior to that, worked as a support contractor to NOAA and NASA. Mr. Ferraro has specialized in the development of algorithms for the retrieval of hydrological cycle products (such as rain rate and total precipitable water) from passive microwave satellite measurements. He has been instrumental in transitioning such products from research to operations, as well as working with operational meteorological centers on developing applications for these products. He has authored numerous papers, as well as given a number of presentations at scientific forums such as the National Weather Association (NWA) and American Meteorological Society (AMS) annual meetings.

Mr. Ferraro received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 1995, 2004 and 2008, and a Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 1999. He is a member of the NASA Precipitation Measurements Mission and AMSR-E Science Teams, and the WMO International Precipitation Working Group, which he co-chaired from 2006-08. He has also served on the AMS committee on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography for over eight years, which included serving as committee chair, organizing conferences and short courses. Mr. Ferraro chairs the NWA's committee on Remote Sensing and served on the NWA council from 2006-08. He is a strong advocate in promoting meteorology to young students, and as such, is active in working with middle and high school students on various weather-related projects. Additionally, he has worked closely with numerous sports organizations in his community on developing and implementing lightning safety policies. Mr. Ferraro received a B.S. in meteorology from Rutgers University in 1980 and an M.S. in meteorology from University of Maryland in 1982.


Mr. Jim Fox is the Director for UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). In that position, he serves as the team leader and principal investigator for several major collaborations that deal with utilizing large environmental databases, spatial visualizations, and other high end technologies to create products for decision making in complex situations. Mr. Fox is also Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC Asheville, an active partnership with many collaborators, including the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments and the National Centers for Environmental Information. RENCI uses 3D visualizations, web tools, and decision support tools to address climate change related issues that include flood mitigation, water resources, and future land use planning.

Mr. Fox holds undergraduate degrees in Geology/Geophysics and Communications and a Masters Degree in Information Technology for Informal Education. He spent twenty-five years working in the oil exploration business, a job which took him all over the world. Mr. Fox has produced animations and visualizations for National Parks and Earth Science Museums nationwide, including the major museums in Denver and Houston. He returned home to Asheville in 2002 to pursue his passion of utilizing community collaborations and computer technologies to aid in complex decision-making. Over the years, he has designed and taught many workshops with a foundation in hands-on learning through application of tools to real life problems.


Mr. Fridgen is the Geospatial Modeling Lead at Monsanto Company. Prior to joining Monsanto, Mr. Fridgen served seven years as a Project Manager for the Institute for Technology Development. He received his B.S. in Plant Industries Management – Agronomy from the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and his M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Missouri, Columbia.


Dr. Matt Garvert is the Product Manager for Weather Data Systems at The Climate Corporation, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in using climate and weather data to provide in crop insurance. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington.


Dr. Phil Hanser is a Principal at the Brattle Group, where he serves clients in issues ranging from utility industry structure and market power and associated regulatory questions, to specific operational and strategic issues, such as transmission pricing, generation planning, and tariff strategies. He also has expertise in fuels procurement, environmental issues, forecasting, marketing and demand-side management, and other complex management and financial matters. Over his thirty years in the industry, Dr. Hanser has appeared as an expert witness before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the California Energy Commission, the New Mexico Public Service Commission, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the Vermont Public Service Board, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the Connecticut Siting Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and before arbitration panels and in federal and state courts. He has also presented before the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. He served six years on the American Statistical Association’s Advisory Committee to the Energy Information Administration.

Prior to joining the Brattle Group, Dr. Hanser held teaching positions at the University of the Pacific, University of California at Davis, and Columbia University, and served as a guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. He has also served as the manager of the Demand-Side Management Program at the Electric Power Research Institute. He has been published widely in leading industry and economic journals. Dr. Hanser earned his A.B. in Economics and Mathematics from Florida State University, a Masters of Philosophy in Economics and Mathematical Statistics from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University.


Dr. Nan Hong is the Global Environment & Modeling Lead at Monsanto Company and is responsible for research and development in environmental, crop, weather, and disease modeling. He received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from North Carolina State University and M.S. in Ecological Agriculture from Wageningen University, the Netherlands.


Ms. Tamara Houston is the Sectoral Engagement Coordinator and Regional Climate Services Program Manager at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). In these positions, Ms. Houston engages with public, private, and academic users from a variety of regions and climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, energy, health, insurance, and transportation in order to identify user needs and enhance their climate literacy. She has also worked on a variety of applied research projects including the development of snow and freezing rain climatologies.

Prior to joining NCEI, Ms. Houston served as the Service Climatologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in Champaign, IL. In this position, she answered and processed requests for climate data and information from public and private user communities. Ms. Houston received her M.S. in Geography with an emphasis in Applied Climatology and B.S. in Meteorology, both from Northern Illinois University.


Mr. Tom Karl currently serves as director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, N.C., and Chair of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Mr. Karl is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and has recently completed his term as President. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific reports and articles and has authored several books as Editor and Contributor. He has received many awards and recognition for his work in services and scientific contributions in climate-related work including: two Distinguished Presidential Rank Awards, five Gold Medals from the Department of Commerce and two Bronze Medals; the American Meteorological Society's Suomi Award; National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences; the NOAA Administrator's Award, and several others. He has served as Editor of the Journal of Climate (1997-2000) and has been the Convening and Lead Author and Review Editor of all the major IPCC assessments since 1990. He was Co-Chair of two US National Climate Assessments. He has received a B.S. in Meteorology from Northern Illinois University, a M.S in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin, and a doctorate of humane letters (honoris causa) from North Carolina State University.


Dr. Ed Kearns is currently the acting Chief of the Remote Sensing and Applications Division at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Prior to joining NCEI in Asheville in 2008, Ed worked in Miami, FL on Everglades restoration for the National Park Service and on satellite oceanography and environmental data systems as a research assistant professor at the University of Miami. Ed holds a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in Physics and Marine Science from the University of Miami. Ed lives in Fairview, NC with his wife Wendy and their three children, Daniel, Katie, and Meghan, and enjoys playing soccer, biking, hiking, and driving his kids to their soccer games.


Dr Nelson is a Physical Scientist in the Remote Sensing Applications Division of the National Centers for Environmental Information.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa's Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR-Hydroscience).  Dr. Nelson is  member of the American Meteororlogical Society and the American Geophysical Union (AGU), as well as the AGU's Precipitation Committee. In addition Dr. Nelson serves on the ASCE Committee for Weather Radar and Hydrology.  Dr. Nelson has served on several precipitation related workshops such as the NOAA users workshop for the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission, Advanced Concept Workshop on Remote Sensing of Precipitation at Multiple Scales, and the NOAA Water Cycle Science Workshop. In the Remote Sensing Applications Division Dr Nelson's focus is on precipitation estimation from remotely sensed systems such as NEXRAD.


Dr. Olivier Prat is a Research Associate at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites – North Carolina (CICS-NC). He joined CICS-NC as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in August 2010. His current research interests include the development and implementation of numerical models for the evolution of rainfall microstructure with explicit representation of microphysical processes, to be used in physical algorithms for radar and satellite rainfall estimation. Dr. Prat obtained a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Montpellier II (France), a Master’s Degree in Fluid Mechanics from the University of Aix-Marseille II (France), and an Engineering Degree from the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Physique de Marseille (currently Ecole Centrale de Marseille).


Dr. Jeff Privette is Chief of the Climate Services and Monitoring Division at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Since joining NCEI in 2006, he has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Program Manager for the Climate Data Records program and Acting-Chief of the Remote Sensing and Applications Division. Dr. Privette formerly served ten years as a physical scientist at the Biospheric Sciences Branch of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1994.


Amy Roeder is the Risk Management Specialist at the United States Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency. Amy Roeder has worked for the USDA for 31 years. She started her career with the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) after the consolidation of the FmHA and ASCS in 1996. She worked in a county FmHA office for 10 years and the Kansas State FSA Office for 11 years. While with FmHA and FSA she worked in numerous areas including the Farm Loan Programs, Loan Underwriting, Labor Relations, Personnel, Budget, Staffing, and served as a program manager and analyst for Farm Loan Programs and Farm Program issues. Amy has worked for the Risk Management Agency in the Kansas City office for the past eleven years as a Risk Management Specialist in the Underwriting Standards Branch. Her primary responsibility is the Vegetation Index and Rainfall Index Plans of Insurance programs. The primary crops covered are Pasture, Rangeland, Forage, Annual Forage and Apiculture.

Amy and her husband own and operate a cattle ranch in Kansas. They are the sixth generation on their ranch, which is one of the oldest established ranches in Kansas.


Dr. George Smith serves as the Senior Program Manager for Scientific and Technical Support Services at Riverside Technology, Inc. At Riverside, Dr. Smith helps organizations collect, analyze, manage, and disseminate the overload of environmental information about our planet, which is being generated at a pace far exceeding our ability to thoroughly process and digest it. His work focuses on decision support, sustainable environmental solutions, and climate change. Prior to joining Riverside, Dr. Smith spent thirty-three years with NOAA, leading the Hydrology and Water Resources Program, and supporting National Weather Service river forecast system development and NOAA strategic planning and programming for weather and water initiatives. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and holds an M.E., Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida.


Dr. Soroosh Sorooshian is the founding Director of the Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing and Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science Departments at University of California, Irvine. Prior to 2003 he was a faculty at the University of Arizona for 20 years, where he founded the Center for the Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrologic and Riparian Areas. His area of expertise is Hydrometeorology, water resources systems, climate studies and application of remote sensing to earth science problems with special focus on the hydrologic cycle and water resources issues of arid and semi-arid zones. He also consults on problems related to surface hydrology and urban flooding.

Dr. Sorooshian has served as Chair on the Science Steering Group for the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment of the World Climate Research Programme, U.S. Member of the Hydrology Commission for the World Meteorological Organization, Emeritus member of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Board of Trustees and NOAA Science Advisory Board, and Past-President of American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Hydrology Section. He has been a member of five editorial boards and former editor of AGU's Water Resources Research as well as numerous advisory committees for NASA, NOAA, DOE, USDA, NSF, EPA, and UNESCO. He is also a current member of the National Research Council’s Space Study Board and a past member of the Water Science and Technology Board. He has testified to both Senate and House sub-committees on earth observations from space and water resources issues. Dr. Sorooshian holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and both a M.S. in Operations Research and Systems Engineering and Ph.D. in Water Resources and Hydrologic Systems Analysis Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Dr. Russ Vose is the chief of the Product Development Branch at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Over the past two decades his research has primarily focused on understanding climate change and integrating climate observations, particularly for use in international climate assessments and operational climate monitoring. Dr. Vose has been a supervisory physical scientist at NCEI since 2000. Previously he served as an academic professional at Arizona State University from 1995-2000, where he taught undergraduate and graduate classes in Geographic Information Analysis, Quantitative Methods, and Computer Programming. Dr. Vose also held a research associate position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1990-1995.

Dr. Vose was a contributing author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report, a lead author on Climate Change Synthesis Product (CCSP) 1.1, and a contributing author on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. He has over 40 publications, including prominent journals such as Nature and the Journal of Climate. In addition, he has received the Department of Commerce Gold and Bronze Medal team awards for his contributions to CCSP 1.1 and the development of the Climate Reference Network, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from Arizona State University, his Master’s degree from the University of Delaware, and his Bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University.


Eric is the Manager of Weather Data Solutions at MDA Information Systems LLC in Gaithersburg, MD.  He received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2009 with a focus on Weather Risk Management.  Eric’s research as a graduate student was titled ‘Are Load Forecasts Predictable?’ and used statistical analysis to determine the predictability (or lack thereof) of electricity load forecasts in New York City.  He started at MDA as an Operational Forecaster immediately after graduating, dealing with short and long range forecasting across the globe for the energy industry.  Since becoming the new Manager of Weather Data Solutions at the start of 2013, he has become the primary contact for many of MDA’s clients in the energy, agriculture, and weather derivative sectors of the industry.  In that capacity, he is responsible for all weather data while also handling unique weather requests from clients.  All the while, he still does seasonal and long-range forecasting for MDA and presents those forecasts to clients and at conferences throughout the year.


Mr. Rick Wooten is a Senior Geologist for Geohazards and Engineering Geology for the N.C. Geological Survey in Asheville, NC. Mr. Wooten leads “Team Slide,” a group of geologists who map the areas in North Carolina’s mountains where landslides have occurred in the past and determine where they may happen in the future. The maps are publicly available and can be used by local governments and the public to inform planning, development and emergency preparedness decisions. Mr. Wooten has worked for the N.C. Geological Survey for twenty-three years. Before joining the Survey in 1990, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Gifford Pinchot N.F., Washington in the Geotechnical Section. There he conducted geotechnical investigations for slope stability, road design, bridge foundations, and quarry development and did geologic mapping and slope stability assessment for land-use planning. Mr. Wooten earned his B.S. and M.S. in Geology at the University of Georgia.


Dr. Pingping Xie is a meteorologist at the Development Branch of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC). His main duty at CPC is to perform research and development to enhance real-time monitoring and assessment activities. Recently he has been coordinating a CPC working group to generate a suite of unified global and regional precipitation products for various applications both inside and outside NOAA/CPC. In addition, Dr. Xie is also involved in diagnostic studies of the cloud, precipitation and global water cycle and their representations in the NOAA operational global models.

Before joining CPC in 2001, Dr. Xie performed postdoctoral research with the University Cooperation of Atmospheric Research, working on the examination of satellite-based precipitation estimates and the development of new objective techniques to combine in-situ observations with satellite estimates. He was a CPC on-site contractor from 1994 to 2000, developing and constructing gauge-satellite merged data sets including the CPC Merged Analysis of Precipitation. Dr. Xie has authored or co-authored over twenty papers in peer-reviewed scientific and technical journals. He received his B.S. from Nanjing Institute of Meteorology in China, and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Kyoto University in Japan.