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Contact: Diana Kenney, MBL, 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu


Jerry Melillo

Jerry M. Melillo, Distinguished Scientist, MBL Ecosystems Center, Woods Hole. Photo by Tom Kleindinst. Click for high-resolution image.

Interview with Jerry Melillo (March 2011), MBL Catalyst, on present and future impacts of climate change. (PDF format)

Jerry Melillo profile (MBL)

Jerry Melillo of the MBL Ecosystems Center Named Chairman of National Climate Assessment Committee

WOODS HOLE, MA—Jerry M. Melillo, Distinguished Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), has been named chairman of a joint public-private sector committee that will produce the next National Climate Assessment report for the United States.

The National Climate Assessment analyzes the latest science and information about the current and projected effects of climate variability and change across the United States. The committee is an advisory body to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

Dr. Melillo brings a wealth of experience to the chairmanship of this committee, which is formally called the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee. In 2009, Dr. Melillo co-authored the landmark report to Congress, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” issued by the USGCRP. He was also a lead author on both the 1990 and 1995 Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and he served in President Clinton’s Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1996 to 1997.

Dr. Melillo’s appointment to lead the National Climate Assessment committee was announced by Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A broad cross-section of individuals from academia, the private sector, local and state government, and the non-profit sector from 22 states are on the committee. A full list of members and participants is available here.

“I am confident these individuals will provide the necessary leadership to successfully meet the challenging task of preparing the next climate assessment for America,” said Lubchenco. “Their diverse expertise will result in a comprehensive assessment that enables policy-makers and citizens to make critical decisions about their lives, businesses and communities.”

The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires a National Climate Assessment at least every four years. The committee will produce a report that builds on previous findings and analyzes the regional and national effects of current and projected climate change upon a range of sectors, including agriculture, energy, water resources, human health and transportation. The committee will also advise the USGCRP on ways to improve and standardize the nation’s capacity to assess climate change impacts.

Dr. Melillo has been on the scientific staff at MBL since 1976, and is also a professor of biology at Brown University. His research focuses on the impacts of human activities on the biogeochemistry of terrestrial ecosystems, and modeling analysis of the feedbacks and impacts of climate change.

The USGCRP is an interagency program comprised of 13 federal agencies, is overseen by a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, which is administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Meetings of the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee are open to the public. Meeting dates and other information can be found online. Opportunities for public review and comment throughout the development of the assessment will be available, including a public comment period on the draft report.


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the MBL is an independent, nonprofit corporation.