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Welcome from the A&GS Dean's Office

Front Row, from left to right:  Leslie Illston, Development & Alumni Relations; Jenny Spade, Staff Assistant; Christine Reed, NWC Librarian; Claire Chastain, Event Manager; Berrien Moore, Dean; Mary Anne Hempe, Assistant Dean; Debbie Farris, Administrative Manager; Tanya Guthrie, Finance & Operations; Lee Anne Sallee, Executive Assistant. Second Row, from left to right:  Jim Davis, A/V Engineer; Kyle Sandidge, NWC Facility Manager; Jason Glass, Technology Coordinator; Petra Klein, Associate Dean; Greg Leffler, Shipping & Receiving Tech; Heather Murphy, Finance & Operations; Boye Ladd, External Relations.

A&GS Friends Society

To support the amazing activities happening within the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, the College and its Board of Visitors is proud to establish the Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Friends Society. Funds raised from memberships will be used to support the educational learning experience for the college’s students, faculty, and staff.

Benefits of membership include an annual membership party, AGU and AMS reception tickets, as well as special access to College events. We encourage you to make a financial contribution to support these worthy efforts and to get involved with our friends!

Membership Levels:                        

$100 Annual Member (annual membership fee)
$500 Supporting Member (annual membership fee)
$1,000 per year Sustaining Member (5 year commitment)
$2,000 per year Founding Member (5 year commitment)

Click here to join

Thank you to the following Founding Members who helped start this great group:

Edwin Adlerman, Fred Carr, James Davis, Claude Duchon, Mike Eilts, Joe Friday, Jeff Kimpel, Mohan Ramamurthy, Vicki & Lynn Rose, John Snow, and Chuck Thompson

A&GS Spotlights

Showcasing Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Friends of the College

Dr. Josh Hatzis

Dr. Josh Hatzis is not from Oklahoma originally, but now calls Oklahoma home having built a life here in just a few short years.  Originally from Geneva, Illinois, a far western suburb of Chicago, Hatzis recently completed his PhD and now works with Oklahoma University’s (OU) prestigious Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS). 

Hatzis received his undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in meteorology.  While there, Hatzis worked in the Chesapeake Energy Weather Division relating teleconnection indices and sea surface temperatures to winter temperatures.  One undergraduate class he remembers well was Applied Climatology where a student assignment was to interact with local businesses to answer questions of interest related to climatology. His love of research drove Hatzis to graduate school in pursuit of a Master’s degree in geography from Northern Illinois University. 

He was an adjunct faculty member at the College of DuPage teaching a climate course for two semesters and then worked at WeatherNews, a logistics company primarily involved in routing ships.  Upon leaving WeatherNews, he started a degree program to earn his PhD in Geography from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES) at OU with the goal of doing research at a university or government agency after graduation.

I chose OU initially because I had intended to pursue a PhD in Meteorology and OU has one of the top severe storms programs in the country,” said Hatzis.  After discovering what the DGES had to offer, he changed his focus to study the impacts of severe weather on climatology.  “I chose to work with Dr. Jennifer Koch because of her expertise with spatial modelling and geographic information systems.”

His dissertation focused on analyzing the impacts of tornadoes across time and space.  He did this by estimating the number of people who live in the damage path of a tornado and comparing this number with historical and future numbers to understand how the impacts change over time and space.  “I developed a model to simulate tornado paths and the number of people exposed to the simulated tornadoes,” said Hatzis.  This model was unique from other previous models in that it didn’t use historical climatology to place tornadoes but instead looked at atmospheric environmental conditions and placed tornadoes randomly within the areas with the most favorable conditions for tornado development.”  This model allowed him to randomly simulate hundreds of years’ worth of tornadoes to get a broader picture of potential tornado exposure. The model is also a first step towards being able to project tornado impacts on days with severe weather threats.

Now a recent graduate, Hatzis described his experience in the DGES with admiration. “All the faculty have always been very helpful and friendly towards me.  I have been encouraged to attend the national and regional American Association of Geographers conferences with the department sometimes paying for part or all of the trip and accommodations.  At these conferences I have gained experience presenting my research and meeting and talking with other scholars.  I’ve always felt comfortable going to my committee members for help with my research when I needed it.”

In his job as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in CIMMS, Hatzis is part of the societal impacts group and hopes to continue studying human behavior surrounding tornado warnings to better understand how and why people seek shelter and whether they do it safely or place themselves in harm’s way through their actions.

Hatzis is also interested in teaching students and professionals how to code to help solve their research problems. “I believe that in a world of big data being able to code can dramatically increase one’s productivity and it is something I think all scientists should learn,” he said.

OU Wins $4.5 Million Science Center

December 9, 2019

We are excited to announce that the University of Oklahoma (OU) will continue to host the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center for the next 5 years! This extension was made possible after we won a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to continue the Center’s stay in Norman, Oklahoma. The Center’s researchers help decision makers across Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico to apply cutting-edge science, data, and tools to prepare for climate extremes, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.

“We have seen devastating wildfires, extraordinary drought conditions, extensive flooding, and other climate-related disasters just in the past five years across our region,” says Renee McPherson, University Director of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and OU associate professor of geography and environmental sustainability. “We know that the costs and damages of these disasters are rising. Now is the time to build resilience in our communities, water resources, coastal environments, forests, and other landscapes. The Climate Adaptation Science Center gathers many of the top scientists in the south-central United States and targets their work on science that helps us combat these climate extremes.”

Since the Center’s establishment in 2012, the Center’s scientists have partnered with decisionmakers on a variety of research topics. For example, researchers mapped wildfire likelihood to assist fire mangers in preparing for wildfire events. Others investigated the impacts of a changing climate on snowpack, streamflow, native wildlife, or invasive plants to develop planning scenarios for managers. Additionally, the Center has studied ways to effectively monitor soil moisture and drought conditions to help decision makers be proactive in extreme hot and dry conditions. By identifying how climate extremes are likely to affect the south-central U.S. in the coming decades, the science team can help resource managers build resilience in their national or state parks, wildlife refuges, tribes, communities, or other jurisdictions.

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center has worked extensively with tribes and pueblos. Center scientists have conducted research with tribes on their lands and waters, provided scientific expertise for development of tribal adaptation strategies, and hosted over 50 scientific trainings for tribal staff, elders, educators, and students. The tribal trainings have served over 550 tribal attendees for more than 5,000 contact hours. In 2015, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior honored the Center with an Environmental Achievement Award for increasing tribal capacity for climate change adaptation.

Through funding from the USGS, OU, and the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Consortium, Center scientists also produced a series of 60 short videos that explain climate change, its impacts on ecosystems and various sectors of society, and techniques to help adapt to climate extremes. The video series is entitled Managing for a Changing Climate and is featured on the Center’s YouTube channel (

Another important emphasis of the Center has been educating and mentoring a diverse group of next-generation scientists and resource managers. The Center’s research programs provide opportunities for students and early-career scientists to work directly with decision makers across the region. Mentorship programs have included a summer undergraduate internship program for traditionally underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During this program, students from across the south-central U.S. spend three weeks visiting major research universities and learning about the wide range of climate impacts on the region. Additionally, we have hosted three one-week workshops focused on early-career professionals to mentor them in how to conduct scientific research in partnership with resource managers. Finally, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Center sponsored a need-based international studies scholarship to aid OU students interested in environmental programs in pursuing a summer study abroad program.

It is our vision that we lead our region in understanding climate impacts and climate adaptation related to natural and cultural resource management. In the next five years, we plan to continue our innovative research and mentoring efforts with some new programs and partnerships. To stay up to date with our recent activity, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center is one of eight regional centers funded by the USGS. Their collective mission is to “deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate.” Members of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center are the University of Oklahoma (lead institution), Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, Louisiana State University, University of New Mexico, and Oklahoma State University. For further information about the Center, visit

NWC Research Exploration

Dr. Berrien Moore III, dean of the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences and director of the National Weather Center, discusses how the NWC impacts research and student engagement at The University of Oklahoma.


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