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Publication Date
27 September 2023

Dorothy Koch Named Associate Director of DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research Program

Dorothy Koch.

Dorothy Koch has been named Associate Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program.

Most recently, Koch was with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), serving as the Weather Program Office (WPO) Director. In this position, she led the WPO, including eight integrated programs, to fund research most essential for NOAA to meet its weather forecast mission utilizing next-generation facilities and infrastructure.

Koch previously served as a Program Manager for BER from 2010 to 2019. During this time, she managed, grew, and transformed the Earth System Modeling (predecessor of Earth System Model Development) portfolio. She established the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), designed to effectively employ DOE’s advanced high-performance computing systems, incorporate BER’s atmospheric and terrestrial research, and navigate the nation’s integrated environmental-energy challenges.

Koch brings to DOE extensive experience in:

  • management of scientific program development
  • budget formulation and execution
  • national, international, and cross-sector partnerships
  • promoting and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and more.

Among Koch’s accomplishments, she most recently developed a new WPO strategic plan, positioning the office to lead and fund the weather enterprise toward increasingly effective delivery of forecast systems, observational assets, and decision support. She enhanced the partnerships between weather research and NOAA operations, building numerous projects across these respective organizations, such as the Unified Forecast System Research to Operations Project, which now generates NOAA’s operational forecast systems.

To meet recent pressing weather challenges, she has gained research support to better predict atmospheric rivers, seasonal weather changes, and fire weather. She established a new approach to integrate social with physical science through a project to build and analyze a robust societal database documenting behaviors under flood conditions that will inform the development of better flood forecasts.

She spearheaded the Earth Prediction Innovation Center to support and engage the broad weather community to contribute to NOAA’s forecast systems. She also established a NOAA modeling team to coordinate and integrate the weather, climate, and marine modeling that spans the organization.

Koch has received a NOAA Administrator’s Award for implementing and updating NOAA’s Air Quality Forecasting Capability and a DOE Secretarial Honor Award for the Accelerated Climate Model for Energy Project (for the project now known as E3SM).

She is an international scholar with more than 80 publications in atmosphere, weather, climate, biochemistry, and earth system sciences. With established research experience in atmospheric chemistry and its effects on the Earth’s radiation budget and climate, she served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report.

Koch received her PhD in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Funding Program Area(s)