GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

GFDL Research Scientist Earns First NOAA Science Communication Award

In recognition of the importance of NOAA scientists? willingness and
ability to engage the public, NOAA Research has established a new award
for outstanding efforts in science communication.  On December 11,
2008, Keith Dixon received the first Dr. Daniel L. Albritton Outstanding
Science Communicator Award.  This honor recognizes substantial
accomplishments in communicating science and research to policy makers
or other non-scientific audiences over extended periods of time.  NOAA
Research established the award to increase the effectiveness of
communications between employees and non-scientists including the
general public, policymakers, and stakeholders. 

To his peers, Keith is an expert climate modeler, but in front of a
lay audience, he reveals a talent and passion for explaining the
complexities of climate science in a style that is clear, compelling,
and even entertaining.  Keith has introduced audiences to ice-albedo
feedback; he has explained the arcane physics of radiative forcing
agents. He has shown audiences how to measure flux adjustments. He has
explored the effects of climate change on the Arctic ice cap and drought
in the Sahel through the use of storytelling, cartoons and artistic
renderings.  In speeches to public audiences, classroom presentations,
media interviews, interactions with policy makers, well-written
non-scientific summaries, web content, and through the use of climate
animations, he has educated and influenced stakeholders and
policy-makers by translating complex information about climate and
making it accessible to non-scientists.

Keith?s efforts to educate the public about the importance of GFDL?s
research took him to six different cities in 2007, and required a
significant amount of personal time in planning, preparation, and
travel.  On 30 occasions, he engaged professional societies, educators,
journalists and reporters, science museum professionals, NOAA staff, and
the general public, to advance their understanding of climate science. 

The award is named in honor of Dr. Daniel Albritton, a retired NOAA
researcher who proved to be one of the most effective communicators of
NOAA research and related science.  Dr. Albritton?s outreach and
education efforts with high-level policy makers contributed
significantly to passage of the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act.