White House Nominates Chief Scientist for NOAA

Tom Kleindinst/WHOI

In a move that would bring more climate know-how into the inner circle of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief Jane Lubchenco, the White House today nominated Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to be the agency's chief scientist. "He's an excellent choice," says Robert Gagosian of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C.

Doney is a well-respected marine geochemist known for his work on the global carbon cycle, climate change, and ocean acidification. "He's a very good scientist. He's very logical and deliberate," Gagosian says. (While Gagosian was president of WHOIfrom 1994 to 2006, he recruited Doney to work there). "He will be a good spokesperson for the science at NOAA."

The chief scientist slot has been vacant for years. Last October, Lubchenco raised the profile of the position by making it a presidential nomination. Paul Sandifer has been acting chief scientist, and he'll probably keep that hat for a while: The Senate, which hasn't even confirmed the next National Science Foundation director, starts its August recess in a few days.