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Renewable energy requires significant support from environmental sciences. Improvements in siting, forecasting and understanding impacts are all roles that require collaborative efforts in order to have economically viable energy usage.

Dr. Weatherhead works closely with academic and private sector partners to determine the most important issues for for research science to address in order to support renewable energy. She co-chaired the AMS workshop on renewable energy to address private, government and academia roles in supporting renewables, as well as the AGU town hall meeting and the annual renewable energy sessions at AGU. Reports on these efforts are available in the Activities section of this web site.

Weatherhead Research Group

Dr. Weatherhead is proud to share a number of awards including the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She is often asked to consult on a variety of topics within atmospheric science that require high level statistical or technical expertise. Her background in solar radiation and its affects on all levels of the atmosphere have resulted in a number of publications and governmental reports. Her work on detecting changes in ozone culminated in the cover story on ozone recovery for Nature in 2006. Since then she has worked to establish defensible criteria for identifying when one weather forecasting model is better than another--even when the improvement is extremely small.

Current research interests include supporting renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, through a better understanding of long-term and short-term resources and predictability.


Renewable Energy gains momentum within the scientific community.


AAAS Annual meeting addresses renewable energy. Dr. Betsy Weatherhead chairs session with Dan Arvizu, head of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Susan Avery, President of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Sandy MacDonald, head of NOAA's Office of Atmospheric Research, David Grimes, President of the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization and Peter Hauge Madsen, head of the Danish Wind Technology Department, U. Denmark.



Interesting ways to divide up CONUS:

Click here for pdf created by a NOAA employee





American Meteorological Society's Summer Community Meeting

Co-Chairs: Betsy Weatherhead and George Frederick

August 8-11, 2011, Boulder, Colorado

Did you know?

  • Weather is responsible for roughly 20% of all trucking delays, costing in excess of $3 billion per year. (Dan Krechmer, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.).

  • Weather applications are the second most popular used “apps” on mobile devices—more popular than social networking, maps, music and news. (Barry Myers, AccuWeather).

  • Public Service of Colorado has realized a $3.1M annual savings due to recent improvements in weather forecasts for wind renewable energy. (Keith Parks, Xcel Energy).

  • Forty years ago the average three-day forecast of hurricane landfall was off by 400 miles; today our average forecast is almost down to eighty miles. The prospect is real that we will make as much progress in the next ten years as we have in the past forty. (Alexander E. MacDonald, NOAA).

  • Heat waves kill more people than floods, lightning, tornados and hurricanes combined (1995-2004); forecasting and communicating these risks saves lives. (Christopher Uejio, NCAR/CDC).

  • The US economic activity (GDP) varies by up to plus or minus 1.7% due to weather variability, resulting in impacts as large as $485 billion of the $14.4 trillion 2008 GDP. (Jeff Lazo, NCAR).

  • There are 70,000 new cases of potentially deadly skin cancer (melanoma) every year. A new mobile application developed by university scientists helps individuals know when they’ve been exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation. (Craig Long, NOAA/NWS).

These and other interesting aspects of weather were discussed in Boulder, Colorado where the public, private, and academic sectors involved with providing weather services came together through the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and its Commission on the Weather and Climate Enterprise. Over 200 participants convened to discuss areas of common and pressing interest with a particular focus this year on the critical data needs and the economic value of meteorological services to society.

Meeting Summary

One Page descriptors of the range and depth of the public-private-academic partnership to supply valuable products and services:

Mark Ahlstrom David Barjenbruch Ben Beard
Brian Bell Georges Benjamin Dan Berler
Doug Bremicker Fred Carr Dave Cunningham
Tim Dye Dave Easterling Jeff Freedman
David Green Ben Harding Ed Johnson
Dan Krechmer Jeff Lazo Craig Long
Bill Mahoney Bob Marshall Angel McCoy
Chip Miller Linda Miller Berrien Moore
Barry Myers Peter Neilley Len Pietrafesa
Marty Ralph Scott Rayder Shelley Row
Tim Schneider Keith Seitter Will Shaw
George Smith John Snow James Stalker
Chris Strager Pieter Tans Bruce Thomas
Yuan Fu Xie    

The full meeting agenda and participant list can be downloaded here. Please consider participating at the AMS Annual Meeting, the AMS Washington Forum and at next year's Summer Community Meeting in Oklahoma. More information at



Ozone Recovery Figure









In the News

January, 2013

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting: Betsy Weatherhead chairing a panel on women in the enterprise.

December, 2013

American Geophysical Union Meeting: Betsy Weatherhead co-chairing the sessions on renewable energy.

November , 2012

Dr. Weatherhead chairs a Chautauqua public event addressing drought, wildfires and seasonal predictions.

September, 2012

Dr. Weatherhead gives an invited talk at the Paris' Museum of Natural History on "Different Ways of Knowing."

August, 2012

Dr. Weatherhead co-chairs the American Meteorological Society's Summer Community Meeting with George Frederick of Vaisala.

June, 2012

GRUAN workshop in Germany addresses key upper air measurements for future trend detection. Betsy Weatherhead offers guidelines for critical aspects of measurements.

April, 2012

Betsy Weatherhead gives invited lunch talk at American Meteorological Society Washington Forum. Bill Clinton had been invited as the dinner speaker, but needed to cancel.

March, 2012

Betsy Weatherhead is a featured attendee at a meeting of the EcoMuslim dinner held at the House of Lords in London.

February, 2012

American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Vancouver. Betsy Weatherhead and Suzanne von Drunick lead a very dstinguished panel on renewable energy. Betsy also presents on the value of indigenous knowledge for climate research.

January, 2012

Betsy Weatherhead begins role as the chair of the Board on Enterprise Communication for the American Meteorological Society.

December, 2011

American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting: Betsy Weatherhead co-leads the sessions on renewable energy and presents research on ice categorizations.

November, 2011

Azerbaijan hosts youth environmental summit. Betsy Weatherhead participates as a guest scientist.

Bienniel Marine Mammal Conference in Tampa: Betsy Weatherhead presents seal identification and ice categorization software.

September, 2011

Launch of TAMES: software development for the analysis of Arctic sea ice.

August, 2011

American Meteorological Society's Meeting is in Boulder, Colorado August 8-11, 2011. Betsy Weatherhead and George Frederick are co-chairs.

July, 2011

American Geophysical Union has granted Betsy Weatherhead, Melinda Marquis, Yelena Pichugina and Andrew Clifton two featured sessions at the Annual Meeting in December, 2011.

June, 2011

Oceanography highlights some of Betsy Weatherhead's research with Inuit populations.

May, 2011

Betsy Weatherhead is an invited panelist for the Annual Meeting of the American Association for th Advancement of Science in Vancouver, Canada, 2012.

April, 2011

Betsy Weatherhead has an invited presentation at the European Geophysical Union meeting in Vienna, Austria.

March, 2011

Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, Korea, features the seal detection software developed by Betsy Weatherhead and Jim Maslanik.

February, 2011

Betsy Weatherhead is the new chair-elect of the Board on Enterprise Communication of the American Meteorological Society.

January, 2011

Solar Energy research needs are presented by Betsy Weatherhead at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Seattle, WA.

December, 2010

Betsy Weatherhead will be co-chairing a session on renewable energy at the annual AGU meeting in San Francisco.

November, 2010

Where are the seals? Betsy Weatherhead explains ice and seal studies to interested eighth graders visiting NOAA.

October, 2010

Understanding climate skeptics. Betsy Weatherhead leads a public discussion on why some people believe climate change and why some don't.

September, 2010

Betsy Weatherhead chaired the Sep. 1 meeting on seal identification and ice characterization in Seattle at NOAA's Marine Mammal Laboratory.

August, 2010

Betsy Weatherhead gave the invited lunch-time lecture at the Summer Meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

March, 2010

Weatherhead's poster on the link between weather and climate was chosen as PSD's "Poster of the Month."

February, 2010

Weatherhead is quoted in the March Scientific American on the value of unmanned aircraft for environmental research..

January, 2010

Weatherhead serves on panel at American Meteorological Society addressing Renewable Energy.

December, 2009

Weatherhead interviewed as a part of the press conference on U. Colorado's activities with unmanned aircraft in the Arctic at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting in San Francisco..