Jon Petch has been named director of the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (CGD) at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Petch, who currently serves as a deputy director responsible for weather science at the UK Met Office, will join NCAR on September 5, 2023.
Everette Joseph, NCAR director, said, “We are excited to welcome Jon to NCAR. His experience overseeing the development of Earth system models for climate and weather applications and his demonstrated ability to build partnerships with the university community will position the lab for continued success. He is also a proven leader who has worked with colleagues to develop and implement strategies across organizations, structuring coherent teams while dedicating himself to improved employee satisfaction.”
Petch, who did his postdoctoral research at CGD in the late 1990s, has worked on the development of weather and climate models for more than 25 years. As the deputy director of weather science at the Met Office, he has been responsible for developing forecasting capabilities for the UK and transitioning them into operational use. He provides leadership for about 200 scientists and software engineers.
His previous roles at the Met Office included manager of clouds and radiation; head of regional model evaluation and development; and head of science partnerships. In the latter role, he was responsible for managing relationships and delivering joint programs of science with national and international partners of the Met Office. He also currently leads the Met Office’s diversity, equality and inclusion activities.
Petch holds a PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Reading in the UK, where he focused on modeling clouds and radiation.
Commenting on his appointment, Petch said, “It’s a huge honor to return to NCAR as part of the leadership team. I am especially delighted to return to lead CGD – the home of hugely talented scientists and software engineers and also where I started my working career. I really look forward to getting to know the people in CGD as we work together to shape its future to deliver its goals and support the NCAR mission. As someone with a real passion for developing partnerships, I also look forward to engaging with the many collaborators and stakeholders that work closely with CGD, and NCAR more broadly.”
As CGD director, Petch will be responsible for advancing the lab’s mission to discover the key processes of the Earth’s climate system, represent this understanding in models and apply this work to scientific problems of societal relevance. He will also work closely with the NCAR directorate to align the direction for CGD with the NCAR strategic plan.