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OTP Salutes Warren M. Washington Climate Scientist

From park rangers to environmental justice advocates, Black men and women are making a huge impact in the environmental movement. And Nobel Prize winner Warren Washington is one of them.

Well before climate change became  a hot button issue in the news, Warren Morton Washington, was creating the computer models that would allow scientists to understand its impact and interpret weather patterns. 

As only the second African-American to earn a doctorate in ​atmospheric sciences, Washington is considered an international expert on climate research.  A former chair of the National Science Board,  Washington is currently senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2007, Washington’s computer models were used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to develop an international understanding of the issue. Washington, along with fellow scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Resources, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for this research.

In 2019, Washington was awarded the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement — an award sometimes described as the “Nobel Prize for the environment.” 


Washington authored an autobiography, “Odyssey in Climate Modeling, Global Warming and Advising Five Presidents.” The book, edited by his wife, was published in 2006 and a third edition was published in 2012.

Born in Portland, Oregon in 1936. He graduated from Oregon State University (OSU) with a B. S. in physics and an M.S. in meteorology, and obtained a doctoral degree in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in 1964.

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