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Vanda Grubišić named director of NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory

Vanda Grubišić, Ph.D. (see complete caption below)
Vanda Grubišić, Ph.D. (see complete caption below)

Vanda Grubišić, Ph.D., a research meteorologist and experienced scientific leader, has been named the director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Grubišić will join one of the world’s preeminent research institutions for monitoring long-term changes in the atmosphere, including those caused by climate change. She starts on March 27. 

Grubišić has led major international observational field campaigns to study the atmosphere. She is one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of mesoscale meteorology, which is the study of atmospheric phenomena with typical spatial scales between 6 and 600 miles, including thunderstorms, downslope windstorms, land-sea breezes and squall lines.

Grubišić previously served as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory offsite link, where she was responsible for its scientific strategy, administrative processes and procedures and budgetary planning for more than 10 years. The laboratory’s accomplishments under her leadership include the successful development of novel observational technologies, reconstruction of the NCAR aviation building and safely returning to field campaign operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also managed NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility offsite link, which supports airborne scientific investigations with two aircraft based at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport near Boulder in Jefferson County.

“Dr. Grubišić has led an atmospheric research laboratory recognized around the world for its observational research, field projects and data collection,” said Steve Thur, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, who announced the appointment. “Her leadership experience and passion for atmospheric research will help the Global Monitoring Laboratory continue to fulfill its mission as one of the leading climate and atmospheric research institutions.” 

Grubišić has spent her near 30-year career focused on mesoscale atmospheric dynamics of mountain airflows, which was sparked by curiosity as a child about the legendary bora wind in her native Croatia. In 2015, she was awarded the Spiridon Brusina Medal offsite linkfrom the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences in recognition for her accomplishments in the field of meteorology for the research of the mesoscale atmospheric dynamics and wind and precipitation processes over complex terrain. 

“Observations and measurements are fundamental to atmospheric and climate sciences,” said Grubišić. “It is a great honor to be at the helm of the laboratory that is world renowned for providing global reference observations and conducting research on processes essential for our understanding of the Earth climate system.”

Grubišić obtained her bachelor of science in physics/meteorology from the University of Zagreb, and doctorate in atmospheric science from Yale University. Before coming to NCAR, Grubišić was a full professor at the University of Vienna, Austria and, before that, a researcher and professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada. She has served on numerous scientific commissions and boards, including the National Academies Board of the Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and has held leadership positions in several professional organizations, including the American Meteorological Society. 

NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML) has unique and globally recognized expertise in making sustained atmospheric observations over decades, interpreting those observations and communicating their findings to other researchers and the public. The laboratory operates four baseline observatories located at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, Barrow, Alaska, the South Pole, and  American Samoa. GML collects tens of thousands of atmospheric measurements from sampling sites around the world, which are analyzed at GML. 

GML also maintains the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, a 50-year-old dataset of atmospheric measurements that is one of the foundations of international climate research. Other important GML research areas include carbon cycle feedbacks, changes in clouds, aerosols, surface radiation and recovery of stratospheric ozone. Without observations like these, the scientific community would struggle to diagnose how the climate system functions as climate change unfolds, now and into the far future.  

Grubišić succeeds former director James Butler, Ph.D., who conducted research on climate forcing and ozone depletion for over 30 years, and was a regular contributor to international documents on stratospheric ozone depletion, atmospheric chemistry and global warming. Ariel Stein, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory in College Park, Maryland, has served as acting GML director since Butler retired at the end of December 2021.


Vanda Grubišić, Ph.D. was named the new director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. For 11 years, she led the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Earth Observing Laboratory, also located in Boulder, and recognized around the world for its observational research, field projects and data collection. (Image credit: Courtesy of Vanda Grubišić)


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