Who is Dr. Warren Washington? The Second African American to Earn a Ph.D. in Meteorology


Dr. Warren Washington may not be in the first bracket, but that hasn’t stopped him from making huge imprints in his field. He was the second African American to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in 1964. Since then, his influence has spread to meteorology, climate, and the training of young scientists.

He was born in 1936 and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he developed an early interest in science. His peers recall him borrowing books about prominent scientists from the public library. According to Toronto University, he was inspired by the observation that renowned scientists like as Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, and Albert Einstein came from modest homes and ascended to the heights they gained through determination and hard effort in his autobiography. According to the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, this influenced his decision to teach physics at the bachelor’s level and meteorology at the master’s level at Oregon State University.

He was in the minority at Oregon State University and faced racial discrimination, but his mother encouraged him and reminded him of how they had to suffer the racial tension that existed in their neighborhood when they moved in; they remained strong and prevailed. This encounter inspired him to run for Vice Chair of the Junior National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This position gave him the courage to contemplate helping to remove barriers to the systemic issues that African Americans face.

He is well-known for developing computer models for forecasting future weather patterns, which laid the groundwork for scientists to grasp the notion of climate change. Dr. Warren’s work has improved year after year since breaking new ground. Many people are unaware that he developed an interest in utilizing computers to create a model of the atmosphere while attending Oregon State University during a summer internship at Stanford Research Institute.

He was attracted by the space the computers provided for him to research this topic. As he finished his Ph.D. in meteorology in 1964, he increased the leverage the models provided him by developing his first computer simulations of the earth’s climate with a colleague, Akira Kasahara, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Dr. Warren and his colleagues investigated the potential of computers as they grew to dominate the workplace. He expanded his models to include information about the oceans, sea ice, and growing carbon dioxide levels. It aided researchers in predicting the impact of rising CO2 levels on climate change. He urged the international community to take the lead in saving the earth for future generations.

His expertise earned him membership in the United States National Academy of Engineering, as well as fellowships in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This has resulted in widespread acclaim for his contributions to atmospheric science. He is one of the top ten scientists honored with the National Medal of Science by former US President Barack Obama.

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