The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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McLaughlin Named to National Academy of Sciences Panel

David McLaughlin has been named to a National Academy of Sciences panel assessing the National Weather Service's Modernization Program. Dr. McLaughlin is the associate dean at the College of Engineering, the director of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), and a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. During the 1980s and 1990s, NOAA launched a major program to modernize the National Weather Service (NWS), investing $5 billion to modernize NWS technologies and advance weather forecasting. Because no complete assessment of the entire end-to-end NWS modernization enterprise has been done, Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an assessment of the now-completed NWS modernization.

The assessment should not only address the past modernization, but also focus on lessons learned to support future improvements to NWS capabilities. It should address high-impact weather and new science and technologies that allow for even better forecasts; the integration of new technologies and better models into NWS operations; workforce composition and structure; and improving current partnerships with private industry, academia, and other governmental agencies. Finally, the project should provide advice on how NWS can best plan, deploy, and oversee these future improvements based on lessons learned from the NWS modernization.

The sponsor of the project and the source of funding is the Department of Commerce, and the duration is 26 months.

CASA is a partnership among academic, industry, and government researchers from 20 different organizations pursuing the fundamental knowledge, enabling technologies, and system-level prototypes behind a new dense radar network technology that has the potential to revolutionize how we detect, track, forecast, warn, and respond to hazardous weather events.

Dr. McLaughlin received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1984 and 1989, respectively. He spent the period from 1989 through 1999 on the engineering faculty at Northeastern University and joined the UMass Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty in January of 2000. He was the first recipient of the UMass College of Engineering Armstrong Professional Development Professorship, and he also served as director of the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory.

His research and teaching interests include radar design, systems engineering, and policy-mediated dense radar networks. He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was named a Distinguished Faculty member by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. He has held research fellowships at the US Naval Research Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force Rome Laboratory and recently completed a sabbatical as an Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. (March 2011)