Tolman to lead NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center
Scientist is best known for developing ocean-wave forecast model

Date Posted: November 3, 2014
Heather Wade, Coastal Planning Specialist

Hendrik L. Tolman, Ph.D., is the new director of NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), based in College Park, Md. The EMC - one of nine centers that make up NOAA‘s National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) - develops and maintains operational numerical forecast prediction models for weather, marine and climate prediction in the United States. As director, Tolman will oversee the strategy, development and enhancement of the National Weather Service’s operational numerical modeling suite that delivers foundational guidance for the national weather enterprise.

“Hendrik’s experience in operational numerical modeling and building partnerships with the research community make him uniquely qualified to lead the Environmental Modeling Center," said William M. Lapenta, Ph.D., director of NOAA‘s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. “Under his leadership, the Modeling Center will strengthen the ability to transition research into operations to improve the skill of our numerical guidance systems that are foundational to the delivery of more accurate and timely weather and climate forecasts.”

Tolman, 53, started at NOAA as a physical scientist at EMC in 1993. Since 2007, Tolman has been branch chief of the marine modeling and analysis branch at EMC where he focused on operational marine modeling. In this position, he was appointed by the White House to be the U.S. government modeling lead for communication of radioactive pollution in the ocean following the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan.

Tolman is the original developer of WAVEWATCH III, NOAA’s operational ocean-wave forecast model. This model is one of the most widely used community wave models in the world. Tolman spearheaded community modeling efforts at NOAA with WAVEWATCH III, effectively working with the international research community on improving operational wave modeling.

He received his Master of Science degree in civil engineering (1985) and Ph.D. in civil engineering (1990) from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He has published more than 150 journal articles, reports and conference proceedings on numerical marine modeling, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Waterway, Port Coastal and Ocean Engineering. He currently serves on the editorial board of Ocean Modelling.

Tolman moved from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1990. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a resident of Annapolis, Maryland. He started in his new position on Nov. 2.

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