NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is pleased to announce that its Regional Climate Services program has selected three Regional Climate Service Directors (RCSD) who will be located in Anchorage, Alaska; Boulder Colorado; and Stennis, Mississippi. These new RCSDs join three colleagues currently located in Taunton, Massachusetts; Kansas City, Missouri; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
RCSDs work directly with public and private sector partners and constituent groups in their respective regions by leveraging data and information from national and global sources to meet local needs. Partners of the Regional Climate Services program include the Regional Climate Centers (RCCs), the National Weather Service, Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, state climatologists, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), indigenous people and tribes, and an array of other agencies, institutions, and organizations. RCSDs cultivate regional partnerships to improve NCEI’s ability to help users understand and apply information to build community resilience against negative climate change impacts and find ways to use information to their advantage. RCSDs also identify and help meet region-specific needs and increase the regional value of NOAA’s climate information and services. They support more efficient, cost-effective delivery of information and services while also sharing pertinent scientific data and information to facilitate informed, climate-smart decision-making in each region.
The three incoming RCSDs are:
Dr. Jessica ‘Jessie’ Cherry has been competitively selected as a Physical Scientist to serve as the permanent NCEI Regional Climate Services Director for the Alaska Region. She will be collocated with the NWS Regional Office in Anchorage, Alaska and will start in her new position on October 12, 2021.
Jessie began her Federal career at NOAA in 2017, joining the National Weather Service as a Senior Hydrologist in the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center. There, she served as Climate Focal Point, snow and remote sensing expert, and lead of an Uncrewed Aerial Systems project. Prior to her NOAA position, Jessica worked at the University of Alaska, where she led a research group focused on hydroclimatology and airborne remote sensing.
Jessie holds a B.A. in economics and Earth/Environmental Science, an M.A. in Physical Oceanography, and a Ph.D. in Climate Science and Hydrology from Columbia University in New York. She is also a commercial airplane pilot, land and sea, and was a top-100 finalist for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2012 and 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband Bob, reading, writing, gardening, and flying her Cessna 182.
Dr. Joseph Casola has been competitively selected as a Physical Scientist to serve as the permanent NCEI Regional Climate Services Director for the Western Region. He will be collocated at NCEI offices in Boulder, Colorado and will start in his new position on January 3, 2022.
As the Western RCSD, Joe will be joining Federal service for the first time. He has previously served as Deputy Director of the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group, which is part of the NOAA Regional Climate Assessments and Science program in NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Joe has also held a variety of academic and scientific posts, including as an instructor at the University of Colorado, adjunct faculty member at George Mason University, Staff Scientist and Program Director for Science and Impacts at the Center for Climate and Energy Solution, Senior Associate at ICF International, and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Research Council.
Joe has worked on issues related to climate science and policy for nearly 20 years. His career has focused on translating information about climate variability, climate change, and climate impacts for policy makers, resource managers, and business leaders. Recent accomplishments include coordinating the 2017 Northwest Climate Conference and serving as an author for the Fourth National Climate Assessment and the report Unfair Share: Exploring the Disproportionate Risks from Climate Change Facing Washington State Communities.
The Western RCSD is responsible for serving the states of AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, and WA.
Sharon Mesick has been competitively selected as a Physical Scientist to serve as the permanent NCEI Regional Climate Services Director for the Southern Region. She will be collocated at NCEI Stennis Space Center offices in Mississippi and will start her new position on October 12, 2021.
Sharon started her Federal career at NOAA in 2003, joining the NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center as a Regional Scientist with the National Coastal Data Development Center at the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. From NCEI’s inception in 2015, she has served as the Chief of the NCEI Oceanographic and Geophysical Information Services Branch, dedicated to engaging with users to gather, understand, and meet their needs. She concurrently managed the NCEI Coastal Data Development program for five years, ensuring continued focus on meeting NOAA’s coastal information needs. She has been actively engaged with NOAA and Navy partners, academia and commercial entities in establishing the Uncrewed Systems ‘UxS’ Data Enterprise.
Throughout her career, Sharon has been recognized as a tireless advocate for standards-based, efficient systems to provide unfettered access to environmental data. She was a member of NOAA’s Silver Medal award-winning Hurricane Katrina response team, and was also recognized by the DOC Secretary and NOAA Undersecretary for her participation in NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident. Sharon also enjoys engaging with stakeholders and listening to their needs to improve our service delivery.
Sharon lives in Long Beach, Mississippi with her husband Hillary and rescued dog Jackson. She enjoys traveling, in particular to visit family members who live throughout the country. She is an accomplished seamstress and in recent years has evolved from making clothing to home décor items.
The Southern RCSD is responsible for serving the states of AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NM, OK, TN, and TX.